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Not so long ago users tended to order turbines, compressors and auxiliary equipment from OEMs and a cast of thousands. Equipment often arrived piecemeal and had to be cobbled together on site — an inefficient, time-consuming and expensive proposition.

Understandably, a better mode of operation was desirable. OEMs and partners, such as Kawasaki, Pratt & Whitney, Centrax, Elliott Group, Solar Turbines and GE Oil & Gas, began to take on the role of packager. They provided end users with an integrated system — ready to ship and rapidly implemented.

“Packaging helps facilitate ease of system testing, with minimal interconnecting piping and customer connections,” saidAlex Schaefer, Applications Engineering Manager for ElliottGroup. “The end result is a lower space requirement; smaller and lower-weight packages; improved logistics, and reduced shipping costs.”

Some packagers even went a step further, providing subsystems tailored to a specific duty. IHI Corp. (Tokyo), for example, has a standard package for the GE LM2500 aeroderivative turbine. Its primary use is for marine propulsion. Similarly, UK-based Centrax provides packages for Rolls-Royce and Siemens gas turbines (Figure 1).

While packaging deals with a unit of turbomachinery and its auxiliary equipment, modularization generally applies to a larger collection of turbines, compressors and other heavy equipment. Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) trains, for example, are frequently shipped as massive modules to minimize the amount of commissioning that has to be deployed on site.

“A module is an optimized configuration of compression, power and auxiliary equipment 100%tailored to customer needs,” said Davide Iannucci, Operation Leader for Modules at GE O & G. “These fully transportable packages with a dedicated control room are integrated and ready to start.”

One such modular facility is GE’s Avenza Construction Yard, situated next to the company’s Massa facility on the west coast of Tuscany, Italy.WhileMassa is both manufacturing center and where GE conducts full-load testing on LNG trains, the role of Avenza is to modularize production to minimize the amount of activity needed onsite by integrating all systems prior to shipping. Offshore and onshore packages are available.

Avenza is vast. An initial 40,000 m2 is being expanded rapidly to 140,000 m2, as well as a 25,000 m2 warehouse. To date, GE is utilizing about 40,000 m2 of the space with another 60,000 m2 being used for smaller module projects. Over the next year or two, the company will exploit all 140,000 m2 for commissioning and assembly of modules.

Situated 500mfromthe port,Avenza is more accessible to the sea than Massa. Modules as large as 60 m in length can be erected at the facility. For example, five modules for the Gorgon LNG plant in Australia were recently assembled there. This comprised five GE MS90001e gas turbine modules rated at 130 MW each. Eachmodule was 48mby 22mby 28mand weighed 2,300 tons.

Packaging companies

Many turbomachinery OEMs perform their own packaging. Some companies, such as marine and pipeline packagers, will customize an OEM machine to a particular duty. And one OEM — Elliott Group — packages its own equipment as well as that of other manufacturers.

“Outsourced packaging is definitely growing,” said Elliott Group’s Schaefer. “OEMs see the value of their singular focus of development and refinement of their product. They understand that tapping into the knowledge of packagers facilitates this focus.We are manufacturing approximately three times the packages today compared with a few years ago.”

Schaefer said that the complex and dis-parate vendor base for subsystems is often a significant cause for field delays. The ability to execute American Petroleum Institute (API) compliant tests is becoming a requirement.

Purchasers are requiring turbomachinery OEMs to perform rotating equipment tests utilizing the job auxiliary packages, such as the booster and gas conditioning skids. These API tests require substantial cooling capabilities, data acquisition, and medium voltage motors driven by variable frequency drives. Qualified and dedicated testing technicians are crucial to this process.


Elliott Packing Solutions routinely fabricates high-specification piping systems, such as manifold assemblies for gas turbine fuel forwarding, integrated lube and seal oil systems, dry gas seal and buffer gas seal packages, and steam turbine generator sets. It also provides accessory skids for water wash, fire suppression, and de-NOx and water injection.

“We are able to reduce both installation and maintenance costs by consolidating the equipment footprint, minimizing on-site alignment, and integrating all connections,” said Schaefer. “We target critical rotating equipment packaging and subsystems such as lube oil, cooling and dry gas systems.”

Centrax, meanwhile, provides packages based upon the Rolls-Royce 501, RB211 and Trent 60 gas turbines. It recently expanded its range to package the Siemens SGT-300 and SGT-400 gas turbines at its plant in NewtonAbbot, UK.

Centrax will initially market the packages for the industrial power generation and cogeneration markets in the UK, France, Italy, The Netherlands and Belgium. The two Siemens turbines are sized between 8 and 15MWand will add to the Centrax gas turbine powered generator sets which range from 2.5MWto 64MW.

But Centrax’s bread and butter is the Rolls-Royce 501 gas turbine. Since 1979, the company has packaged over 300 generator sets for the European market using the 501. These packages have recorded 20 million running hours.

Known as the CX501-KB7 package, it adds a zero stage to the compressor inlet of the Rolls-Royce turbine to increase mass flow and pressure ratio, thus increasing performance and efficiency, and boosting power output to over 5 MW. The package also offers fast restart capability, multi-fuel options, full-load testing on gas or liquid fuel, and on-skid control panels.

Harsh and remote sites

Likemany otherOEMs, SolarTurbines does its own packaging. “Our philosophy is to package and test all our turbines before we send them to the field,” said Uwe Schmiemann, marketing manager for power generation at Solar. “Our product is being sent to harsh and remote locations all over the world so it has to be reliable.” In recent years, the companymoved intomobile packaging in trailers that can be quickly moved from place to place.

GE Energy, too, provides a trailer package for the LM2500 called the TM2500+. There are more than 20 GW of these trailers in operation. While they started as rentals (to date over 30 rentals in 16 countries), at least 60 have been sold outright; 10 machines, for example, were sent to Japan as rental units following Fukushima.

Pratt & Whitney Power Systems (PWPS) also offers transportable packages. The FT8 SwiftPac, available in 30 MW and 60MW versions, can be on site and generating power within 30 days, while the FT8 MobilePac can provide power in less than one day.

The factory-assembled package includes a shippable engine enclosure that incorporates the gas generator, power turbine, exhaust collector box, inlet plenum and lube system. In addition, PWPS offers the FT4000 SwiftPac gas turbine generator package with 120 MW simple cycle. It utilizes the core technology of Pratt&Whitney PW4000 turbofan engines. The package couples two FT4000 engines to one electric generator (Figure 2).

Compressor packaging

Whereas turbine packages are often standardized in terms of sizes and power output, compressor packages tend to be tailor- made for specific purposes. Kawasaki Centrifugal Compressors (KCC) is currently working on a compressor train package to be installed on a Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel. It has been designed to deal with various dynamic loads as well as the pitch and rolls due to vessel motion.

The KCC FPSO package is comprised of an RB9-8B + RB4B two body, tandem compressor train with a variable speed drive motor driven and gearbox. Kawasaki has received an order for such a package destined for offshore duty in Vietnam.

“A lot of end users and oil majors are exploring marginal oil & gas fields in deep waters where FPSOs would be advantageous,” said Ryuya Hasegawa at KCC. “That’s why we are seeing an increase of this type of customized compressor package applications rather than the conventional gas production on a fixed-jacket style platform in shallow water.”

Meanwhile, KCC has long produced a gas compression module (GCM). This mini plant is compactly packaged with centrifugal compressors and auxiliaries, a gas turbine or electric motor as the driver, gas & lube oil coolers (air/seawater cooled), pressure vessels, process piping, skid piping and various utility piping, and instrumentation. They can be single, double or triple deck. The company has installed 54 GCMs globally and conducts module string testing at full load, speed and pressure before shipping.

“Modularization of a gas compression system eliminates tedious offshore hook-up work, and shortens the commissioning process,” said Hasegawa. “It also enables quicker offshore construction and reduces the possibility of unexpected additional work to integrate all systems.”