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Texas A&M’s The Asia Turbomachinery & Pump Symposium (ATPS) opened in Singapore in March with a familiar face at the keynote podium. Dr. Dara Childs, retired director of Turbomachinery Laboratory, welcomed attendees and exhibitors and treated them to a story from his early days as an engineer. It concerned trouble with a high-pressure fuel turbopump that created instability problems for NASA and Rocketdyne.
“Resolving those problems and moving forward to develop a better base of understanding of the causes led to far-reaching changes in rotordynamics for both aerospace and commercial turbomachinery,” Dr. Childs said. “Those changes continue to improve our industries.”
This second biennial ATPS was curated by an advisory committee comprised of field-experienced and R&D engineers. It featured a technical program representing the Southeast Asia region and the rest of the world, on par with the legacy of the annual Turbomachinery & Pump Symposia (TPS). “I am very pleased with the quality of the program and the traffic,” said Dag Calafell, II, Chairman, ATPS Technical Advisory Committee.
“The oil & gas, and power industries in Asia have been hard hit with three years of entrenchment when CAPEX has been constrained,” said Calafell. “The great news is that everything is looking up. All the signs are there.” Market intelligence companies, such as Dun & Bradstreet and Rigzone, concur, predicting increases in head count, and OPEX and CAPEX spending.
The ATPS advisory committee is counting on this news to carry momentum to the next meeting. “The region is telling us more networking, more lessons learned and more case histories,” said Calafell. “We want the ATPS to be more focused on their needs.”
For that reason, ATPS will vary slightly from TPS. ATPS had 39 case studies versus 16 to 18 at TPS. “We will continue with technical briefs — case studies without verification of the results,” said Calafell. “We may also include a weekend day so students from local universities are more available. And we will augment our outreach program due to its success.”
Exhibitors, such as Rochem, Flowserve and Elliott Group were happy to attend the show. “At ATPS, we see the right people,” said Martin Howarth, Managing Director of Rochem Technical Services. “After ten years of pessimism, we are cautiously optimistic, a common theme everywhere in Asia.” Rochem has a thriving business in Indonesia, with further potential in Malaysia.
Supplying OEMs for years, Rochem is now breaking into the end-user market for process gas compressors. “We have new methods for cleaning compressors and improving their performance,” said Howarth.
Flowserve is exhibiting at ATPS to gain feedback on our products and the market outlook in the Asia Pacific Region, said Torsten Bernicke, Flowserve Product Manager, Compressor Seals & Systems. “China and India are doing better than in the last two years,” he said. “We also see an uptick in oil & gas and petrochemicals, driven by a local demand for goods.”
Flowserve introduced its Ampliflow G-Boost Seal Gas Booster at the show. It delivers a continuous supply of clean seal gas to compressor gas seals, eliminating a source of contamination and equipment downtime, said Bernicke. Driven by an electric motor, the booster improves operational reliability during periods of low differential pressure across the compressor when the available seal gas supply is insufficient.
“Our goal at ATPS is to get in touch with local industry in Southeast Asia that want to do their own turbomachinery design work,” said Nitin Jain, Managing Director, Concepts NREC. “We are looking for people who are doing 5X machining of turbomachinery impellers.”
Concepts is also working with local academic communities teaching fundamentals of turbomachinery design. “We are concentrating on Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia,” said Jain. “These countries want to be self-sufficient and develop their own technology, especially in aerospace and defense.”
Concepts NREC recently released its new Agile Engineering Design System for high-fidelity CFD, through a partnership with Numeca.
ATPS Sponsor, Elliott Group, owned by the Ebara Corporation, has its regional sales and global service office in Singapore, from where it sells products and services to China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Japan. Ebara is transferring its cryogenic pump and expander business to the Elliott Group to market along with Elliott’s refrigeration compressors. These products are used primarily with liquified gas transfers from ships and docks that require cryogenic technology.
“Elliott is building a new test stand for cryogenic pumps at his headquarters in Jeannette, PA,” said Christiann Bash, corporate communication manager. “It will be completed in two years.”
Compressor Controls Corporation (CCC) also has an office in Singapore. We are exhibiting at ATPS to solve customer problems and to improve their efficiency using CCC hardware and controls, said Mohammed Abousalem, Regional Commercial Leader Asia Pacific.
Exhibitor Graphite Metallizing Corporation has recently expanded its worldwide bearing business with the addition of Exalto. In 2016, the company purchased Exalto UK, a manufacturer and worldwide supplier of water-lubricated bearings, from Exalto BV, its Dutch owners.
“We can now offer a wide range of bearing solutions for almost any application,” said Eric Ford, Vice President Sales & Marketing. Graphite Metallizing specializes in bearings and products manufactured using Graphalloy, a novel graphite and metal alloy suitable for use in the toughest conditions.
ATPS will return to Singapore in March of 2020. The annual TPS show will take place in Houston in September.