Siemens continues with proven approach to push for higher power plant efficiency

19:18 | 04/06/2018 Industry

Being stood for engineering excellence, innovation, quality, reliability and internationality for 170 years, the German conglomerate company Siemens continuously creates new values to make the world better.

Siemens-employees seen here during earlier days on the assembly stand to measure the radial gab at the closed gas turbine

It can be said that Additive Manufacturing (3D printing) is a company core technology field for Siemens. The company has been able to turn design vision into reality with this latest technology.

During my second visit to Siemens gas turbines factory in Berlin (Germany) in early May 2018, I was, once again, overwhelmed by what I was presented and saw about Additive Manufacturing technology, its applications and advancements. Siemens is the only company that offers Additive Manufacturing over its entire depth: Design; Production, and Management. Siemens is also front runner in applying Additive Manufacturing in its power generation sector.

Additive Manufacturing (AM) or in short, 3D printing enables higher flexibility and speed in production. It enables fast technology validation & product development on demand, i.e. no material on stock, shortened process development time, and overall lead time reduction. Small batch sizes can be produced while different parts can be done in one build job. It also reduces process steps through simplified manufacturing & repair. Last but not least, it takes less time or even no time for tooling, for instance no casting moulds required.

Gas turbine is a focal area for Additive Manufacturing due to its high tech components with complex design and high potential to improve customer value. Therefore, the successful production of gas turbine blades using additive manufacturing is considered a breakthrough in the field of power generation, one of the most demanding areas of application for this technology. It paves the way for the manufacturing industry across all sectors.

Footage of earlier times when work took place on the assembly of the SGT5-8000H, where every millimeter is crucial workers at the gas turbine plant in Berlin install the rotor into the turbine casing

The success resulted from the efforts of a committed international project team comprising Siemens engineers from Finspong, Lincoln, and Berlin, as well as experts from Materials Solutions. The turbine blades are installed in a 13-megawatt (MW) SGT-400-type industrial gas turbine. The printed turbine blades are produced from a high-temperature-resistant, powdered polycrystalline nickel-based superalloy and are able to withstand the high pressures, extreme temperatures, and centrifugal forces that arise during turbine operation. Gas turbine blades must withstand extreme conditions. Inside a turbine, high pressures, tremendous centrifugal forces, and high temperatures prevail: At full power, blades rotate at 1,600 km/h – twice the speed that a Boeing 737 can fly – and carry loads of 11 tons. The blades must also withstand tremendous heat because they’re surrounded by 1,250°C gas when the turbine is in full operation.

At present Siemens is a world leader in applied Additive Manufacturing with more than forty 3D printing machines operational worldwide; more than 100 specialized engineers; more than 200 components identified for AM until 2022, and more than 12 components already commercially implemented.

Mr.Thomas Hagedorn, Head of Sales Asia Pacific at Siemen’s Power and Gas Division

Meanwhile, Siemens is also a market leader in gas turbine technology. Siemens gas turbines are operating in more than 60 countries. The company has strong experience in heavy duty gas turbine, notably H-class and most recently HL-class. With 88 turbines sold, the Siemens H-class is the most successful gas turbine in this efficiency category on the world market. And Siemens HL-class is paving the way to the next level of efficiency and performance. This evolutionary development step, derived from proven Siemens H-class technology, combines a series of new but already tested technologies and design features with the best of past experience – resulting in a technology carrier to the next with a combined cycle efficiency beyond 63% with a clear mid-term goal of 65%.

In Vietnam, Siemens has contributed approximately 11% of the total power generation capacity. Siemens is the major supplier and turnkey supplier for a number of big power plants in Vietnam such as Phu My 2.1 Extension, Phu My 3 BOT, Ca Mau 1 & 2 combined cycle power plant (CCPP), and Nhon Trach 2 CCPP. Being equipped with the SGT5-4000F they are among the most efficient and environmentally friendly power plants in Vietnam, and are producing more than 155 billion kWh of electricity for the country.

In particular, Nhon Trach 2 CCPP, which was built together with the local turnkey contractor - LILAMA, has achieved the remarkable rating for having the short construction time and stable operation, as well as for being one of the highest efficient and cost effective power plants.

It has been 7 years since we completed the construction and put Nhon Trach 2 CCPP into commercial operation ahead of time. We are eager to participate in new power projects in Vietnam. Being the world leader in gas turbine technology with proven experience of more than 170 years, Siemens is in the best position to support Vietnam’s power generation sector in meeting the growing demand for electricity stemming from rapid economic and population growth. Moreover, we can help arrange financing for big power projects. And, after a careful consideration of all aspects, we think that the Siemens F-class is still suitable to Vietnam’s market condition, but of course we are open to the potential of supplying our H-class technology to this market should the opportunity arise,” said Mr. Thomas Hagedorn, Head of Sales Asia Pacific at Siemen’s Power and Gas Division.