Bearing innovation

Published on: 

Drew Robb


Bearings come in for extensive coverage this month. And it’s about time! Our cover story provides a comprehensive roundup of the latest in bearing technology. Certainly, magnetic bearings and air bearings are hotbeds of innovation. But there also turned out to be plenty of rich development work occurring with more traditional types of bearings.

But our coverage of bearings doesn’t end there. We also serve up a contributed story on magnetic bearings by Dresser-Rand Synchrony as well as a Turbo Tips special on bearings and surge control.

In our continuing efforts to cover as much ground as possible in the name of finding the most relevant turbomachinery related content, we visited the GE Intelligent Platforms Summit in Orlando. That resulted in a story about what the Industrial Internet implies for the controls sector. GE CEO Jeff Immelt delivered the keynote and named the Industrial Internet as the number one priority for his company. So don’t look upon this as just the latest wave of marketing hype.


GE is implementing this concept in its own facilities with a view to reducing the cost of producing a turbine by 20%. That piece also quotes a plant manager from Florida who has been adding advanced analytics to traditional controls to improve the operation of his combined cycle assets.

Another trip took us to Solar Power International in Las Vegas to take an overdue look at the solar sector. The big surprise was that solar is very much on the ascendency, and at utility scale. In fact, solar is outgunning gas-fired generation in the U.S. right now in terms of new-build investment. U.S. utilities are onboard with this surging solar wave, and those involved in all aspects of turbomachinery are advised not to discount it. On that note, Siemens has penned an interesting piece on whether combined cycle or simple cycle plants form the best match for the growing presence of renewables to bring about grid stability.

Further features deal with a diverse range of topics such as: a brand new 16 MW gas turbine by GE; variable-speed, integrally geared compressors; how GT upgrades might impact HRSGs; the latest on the PW Power Systems FT4000 gas turbine in our Q & A column; and a Myth Busters story on factory testing. That list doesn’t include our largest New Products section of the year and a varied selection of Industry News which incorporates a report from the Gas Machinery Conference.

By the time you read this issue, the annual PowerGen International show will be upon us in Orlando, Florida. We hope you will have time to come by our booth (#5545) to chat about industry matters, provide feedback on the magazine and suggest stories for future issues. But if we don’t see you there, we wish you a happy holiday season and a prosperous 2015.