Who we are today

Much has changed over the fifty years of our existence. So we’ve been digging into our history and discussing how the magazine has evolved to stay in tune with a dynamic industry. We thought it was time to more closely define who we are today.

Turbomachinery International is the premier technical publication covering the latest turbomachinery technologies, their implementation, maintenance, upgrades and controls. The focus is on gas turbines, centrifugal compressors and closely related equipment.

Over the next issue or two, we’ll expand upon this and adjust that statement based on feedback from readers. We’ll also be conducting a survey online in the near future which will give you some questions to answer and enough space to enter your suggestions, likes and dislikes.The whole point of this exercise is to provide the content that best serves your needs.

Historical perspective

As we begin the new year, let’s look back on our history. Our founders G. Renfrew Brighton and R. Tom Sawyer began a publication entitled Gas Turbine International in 1960, at a time when gas turbines (GTs) were a recent innovation. While steam turbines had reached relative maturity, the GT was only getting started and was little used in the power generation and oil & gas (O&G) industries. Thus the magazine stressed GTs in a wide range of zones, including aviation, nuclear, marine, chemical, pulp & paper and automotive.

Another important element of historical perspective is that this magazine was created primarily as a technical information source as opposed to being a business or promotional organ. R. Tom Sawyer was a highly respected engineer. Indeed, his name is on a coveted annual award by the ASME’s International Gas Turbine Institute (IGTI) given to an individual who has made important contributions to advance the purpose of the gas turbine industry and to IGTI over a substantial period of time. According to the IGTI website, “The award was established in 1972 to honor R. Tom Sawyer who, for over four decades, toiled zealously to advance gas turbine technology in all of its aspects.”

The first issue of Gas Turbine International illustrated the vision of the founders. As well as GTs for industrial use, early day coverage was big on aviation. The first issue showcased such items as a rundown of the many different ways in which turbines were being used and the manufacturers responsible, the harnessing of a GT in furnace blowing, the maintenance record of GTs in real-world applications, and the latest uses of turbines for marine propulsion and jet engines. Thus it can be concluded that the magazine was very much a technical information source on the broad application of gas turbine technology. Tom Sawyer himself dedicated the magazine with a goal “to put the gas turbine across.”

Granted, business coverage is always included in the magazine. After all, the business side was a key aspect of the initial vision. G. Renfrew Brighton brought business savvy to the magazine. But this magazine was first, last and always a source of technical information on gas turbines for engineers, plant managers, manufacturers and business executives. So that’s our heritage and we are proud of it.

Shift of focus

Since those pioneering days over 50 years ago, there has been some widening and a little narrowing of focus that should be understood. In the seventies, the magazine title changed from Gas Turbine International to Turbomachinery International.

As gas turbines became more established in the power sector and began to gain serious ground in O&G, chemical, pulp & paper and other industries, it made sense to broaden our coverage to incorporate other aspects of turbomachinery. Turbines, compressors and closely related ancillary equipment, as well as instrumentation and control systems, and maintenance fell within our scope. In the words of G. Renfrew Brighton in the July- August 1977 edition:

“The time has come however to integrate our present and future activities with a more descriptive title . . . a title that places the turbine in its proper prospective in the role of energy conversion systems.”

So who are we today? The key word to understand is “turbomachinery.” We deal with all things relative to turbines and rotating (centrifugal) compressors. This statement gives the best rendition of our reason for being. Our next editorial will expand upon this theme by detailing what we cover (and why), where we focus, evolving areas that will gain greater attention and an attempt to make a clear cut statement of the value we bring to the readers and the field as a whole.

Please look out for the forthcoming online survey which will be posted on www.turbomachinerymag.com. But don’t wait. Send in your comments right away. We are particularly interested in what you think we should cover in the various areas of the energy landscape including steam, hydro, renewable and nuclear. We would also like to hear from old timers who were around in the early days to see how we have done in unearthing the vision of the founders and forwarding it to posterity.