For 80 years, UTW has mastered the production of various types of turbines, many of which are unique on a global scale. Of course, these achievements were preceded by a long journey. Along the way, the strategy employed by company management was always to preserve the most important resource - its qualified specialists.
In 1930s Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg), the construction of the Uralelektromash electrical engineering group was planned, and the modern Ural Turbine Works JSC was conceived as one of its four participants.
By October 1938, the plans had changed, and UTW opened as an independent enterprise. Over the course of 80 years, the plant has mastered the production of various types of turbines, many of which are considered to be unique on a global scale.
Of course, these achievements were preceded by a long and difficult path, which reflected the economic and political events taking place in the country and around the world. But at all times, the strategy of the company's management was to preserve perhaps the most important production potential - the qualified specialists who could bring all the bold technological ideas to life.
We spoke with Igor Sorochan, the General Director of The Ural Turbine Works, who on the eve of the plant’s 80th anniversary disclosed the latest news and what the company is working on.
It is no secret that half of the heat-generating turbines in the Russian Federation and the CIS are produced at the UTW. Recently, another one was produced - a unique new cogeneration turbine for Mosenergo. Can you tell us in more about its superior characteristics?
Let's start with the fact that 60% of the city of Moscow is heated by turbines made at the UTW. Nineteen T-250 turbines are installed at PJSC Mosenergo, and the T-295 turbine, which is unique even by global standards, will replace the exhausted T-250. We took into account many years of experience working with the T-250 and conducted research in collaboration with leading national research institutes. Using the latest methods of digital modeling and analysis, the designers at UTW were able to increase the efficiency of individual stages of the new turbine unit to 92%, and to 38% (in condensation mode) for the entire plant. The most advanced materials were used to manufacture the turbine, which made it possible to achieve reliability, safety and efficiency indicators for the unit that are unique at global level.
T-295 has no counterparts. In terms of heat load, it is the most powerful in the world, producing 385 Gcal per hour. Compared to its predecessor, the maximum power increased by 35 MW, reaching 335 MW. Thermal power plants with these turbines are designed for major cities with millions of residents.
Given that these turbines use steam with a temperature of up to 563 degrees, the UTW workers have increased the service life of this equipment by 50,000 hours to up to 250,000 hours. To do this, steel with a high chromium content was used. In addition, the noise level is extremely low; you can talk without raising your voice even when standing right next to a working turbine.
We have created a leading sample turbine that can replace the T-250 and become the key “generator” of heat and electricity to supply the largest cities - Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Minsk.
What changes have occurred in production?
Today, The Ural Turbine Works is a compact enterprise equipped with the most modern equipment. In recent years, nearly 2 billion rubles have been invested in upgrading production facilities. Welding and blade production were significantly updated, multifunctional machining centers were purchased and installed, large machines were modernized, and new assembly stands were built.
The main vector of production development is optimization. We decided to take the path to concentrate production. By the beginning of 2018, two turbine workshops and an assembly were moved to one of the largest factory buildings, the fifth one. Without going into details, we can say that two parallel streams were lined up. One handles the largest parts - the body and the rotors. The other handles a variety of components. Activities conducted for the concentration and optimization of production processes allow to simplify in-plant logistics and reduce costs.
It is important to note that the modernization of production always implies having access to a new technological level. For example, a technology for orbital welding of products from titanium and the production of solid-forged turbine rotors have been mastered. Also, thanks to equipping the plant with new high-performance CNC machines, UTW has mastered the production of new types of blades, in particular ones with an integral bandage, with a diaphragm and with milled rimless channels. Modern materials are actively used to manufacture turbines, whether it's special alloys for casting blanks or special compositions for coatings.
Where did the idea of constructing machines for incinerators come from? Are there already projects underway with the possible participation of UTW and what prospects do you see in this direction?
I would like to note that, according to experts, the installation of at least 120 incineration plants will be required in the Russian Federation. In the coming years, five new waste incineration plants to process waste into electricity will be commissioned in Russia: four in Moscow Region, where the situation with the accumulation of garbage is most acute, and one in Tatarstan. The project is being implemented by the company RT-Invest, and the project engineer is HITACHI Zosen Inova AG. Under these specifications, we developed the Kp-77–6.8 turbine. This is the first Russian turbine for waste incineration plants. The new machine is designed in a single-cylinder version and has a capacity of 75 MW, which is enough to provide power supply for 80,000 homes. It is based on proven design solutions and advanced patented technologies. A certificate was obtained on the know-how of the scientific and technical type "Project of the Kp-77-6.8 Technology for Plants for Thermal Disposal of Solid Waste". I am sure that the Ural turbines will contribute to the development of this type of generation, thus contributing to the improvement of Russia's environmental situation.
This year, The Ural Turbine Works is manufacturing equipment for the first three domestic new generation nuclear-powered icebreakers. What kind of equipment is it?
In 2018, we completed the manufacture of equipment for Russian-built new-generation icebreakers - Arktika, Ural, and Sibir (equipment for the pilot icebreaker, Arktika, was shipped in 2015 - Ed.). Our design bureau, as well as the whole enterprise, has done a lot of work to ensure the production of these machines. With the help of new engineering solutions and alloys, computer modeling and high-precision calculations, The Ural Turbine Works has created a highly efficient machine that meets all the requirements of new-generation icebreakers, the TND-17. The turbine withstands overloads up to 6g, works without vibrations in all modes, and has high maneuverability. At the same time, the overhaul period of the unit reaches 20 years. The new UTW ship turbine consists of 5,000 parts and weighs about 70 tons. The Russian icebreakers of the new generation - Arktika, Sibir, and Ural - are currently at various stages of construction at the Baltic Shipyard (Baltisky Zavod). Nuclear ships will be commissioned until 2022. The head ship Arktika ("Arctic" in English) is expected to be delivered in the summer of 2019.
Over 80 years, 907 steam turbines and 570 gas turbines with a total capacity of over 64,000 MW have been delivered to power plants in different countries. About 50% of the installed capacity of cogeneration turbines in Russia and CIS comes from turbines manufactured by UTW. UTW steam turbines operate reliably in 24 countries.
Throughout its history, the plant has created a various machines that have become landmarks in the domestic power engineering industry: these include the T-295 turbine, the most powerful serial cogeneration turbine, and the T-100, which was the most common in the territory of the former USSR, as well as a variety of turbine models for the steam and gas cycle and power plants of modern nuclear-powered icebreakers.
The Russian energy industry has been actively modernized over the last decade. The PSA (Power Supply Agreements) program has been implemented, currently the industry is actively discussing the PSA-bar program. What role does UTW see for itself in the implementation of these programs?
Indeed, we actively participated in the PSA program. The 12 power units commissioned under the PSA at Russian stations are equipped with turbines of the Ural Turbine Works (with a total capacity of 2.1 GW). Of these, 9 turbines are designed to operate in combined cycle gas turbines. These are fundamentally new turbines of various capacities, coupled with gas turbines by Siemens, Alstom, Mitsubishi. In this way, the KT-146–12.4 steam turbine unit reliably works as part of the PGU-410 combined cycle gas turbine at the Krasnodar TPP. The station provided the electricity supply needed for sports facilities in Sochi during the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Another example of the implementation of PSA projects is the turbine T-63 for a CCGT. The power units equipped with UTW turbines operate in Izhevsk, Vladimir, Kirov, Yekaterinburg and Nizhnyaya Tura (2 units). In August, a PGU-230 MW power unit was commissioned at the Kazan TPP-1 (JSC Tatenergo). It was equipped with two Kt-46–8.8 UTW turbines, which were designed based on the technical solutions of the T-63 turbine. The design of the turbine is patented and allows the steam turbine to be adapted for various initial steam parameters at the turbine inlet. The steam turbine and turbine equipment are comparable in terms of technical characteristics, and have a significant advantage over foreign and some domestic counterparts in terms of capital costs for the purchase of equipment. It should be noted that the post-warranty maintenance of the equipment supplied is 2.5 times cheaper than that of foreign equipment in terms of life cycle cost.
Today we are on the threshold of the PSA-bar program. The plant is ready to actively participate in the modernization program. Moreover, we are already negotiating with a number of generating companies. In Russia, 229 units of generating equipment with an installed capacity of 36 GW have been announced as requiring modernization. The production capacity of The Ural Turbine Works alone is 2.5 GW per year, and with relatively small investments it can easily be 4 GW. This means that domestic power plant engineers are ready to implement a program to modernize the Russian energy industry, but at the same time, we must understand that there are annual plans in place, and we are establishing our production program for at least a year and a half ahead. We have already started discussing projects for the modernization of installed equipment with several customers.
The scope of UTW's engineering competencies is impressive: since 2012, 56 projects have been completed in Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Mongolia, and Serbia. In a number of these projects, UTW was the general contractor. Modernization packages have been developed for the company's entire turbine model range, including T-250, T-185, T-100, T-50, PT-135, PT-50, PT-25-3 (4), R-100. They allow to extend the service life of the equipment by 200,000 hours. In addition, the plant has successful experience in upgrading turbines from other manufacturers.
The power units commissioned in August at Kazan TTP-1 are the first in the country to be connected to the equipment condition prognostics system from the outset.
As we know, you work not only in Russia and the CIS countries, but also cooperate with other foreign clients. Can you tell us what projects you are working on now?
We are reconstructing the capacity of the main building of the Minsk TTP-3. The plant performs the complete supply of equipment, including the Tp-115 / 130‑12.8 turbine, boiler, generator and auxiliary equipment. In addition, the scope of our commitments includes design and survey and commissioning works. We are currently completing the manufacturing of equipment. In addition, commissioning works at the Grodno TTP-2, where we are upgrading the PT-60 turbine, are in full swing.
In recent years we have developed long-term relations with the energy sector of Kazakhstan. Thus, in recent years, the plant has manufactured 9 steam turbines and conducted 5 upgrades for the thermal power plants in Astana, Pavlodar, Petropavlovsk and Ust-Kamenogorsk. Now we are starting to implement the third Memorandum of Cooperation with the Central Asian Electric Power Corporation (CAEPCO). Under the agreement, the Ural Turbine Works is ready to take part in the modernization of three T-100 turbines and one PT-135 turbine at the facilities of CAEPCO JSC.
In recent years, you have been developing new directions, for example, digitization of turbine equipment. What is this needed for and what are the first results?
The Ural turbines of the latest series are initially equipped with equipment for connection to the PRANA intelligent prognostics system of equipment condition. A recent example: the above-mentioned power units of Kazan TTP-1, which were commissioned in August, are the first in the country to be connected to the equipment condition prognostics system from the outset. From the moment of commissioning, the equipment of the new steam and gas units is fully connected to the PRANA prognostics system created by ROTEC, and as a result, is reliably protected from accidents.
The system identifies alarming trends and deviations in the operation of equipment 2–3 months before they manifest themselves and lead to an incident. Based on the practice of using the system, this reduces losses from accidents and fines for non-delivery of capacity, and also more than halves the costs spent on urgently purchasing spare parts and conducting repairs. The PRANA system makes the technical condition of the equipment an objectively measurable parameter that makes it possible to monitor the actions of personnel and contractors, increasing efficiency and encouraging good maintenance of production assets.
Our plans for the coming years involve participating in the construction projects of waste incineration plants, and actively participating in the implementation of the PSA-2 program. It is planned to take part in the project to update the T-250 machines in cities with a population of over one million.
The success of the enterprise depends on the management and a team of qualified professionals. What is your personnel policy based on?
Allow me to highlight several aspects. First of all, we pay great attention to professional training. The Mentoring and Personnel Reserve programs, which the plant has been implementing since 2010, have produced good results. We also cooperate with the Ural Federal University in the framework of targeted training of design personnel. A new impetus to the partnership was given by the educational and scientific center that was opened at the plant in November 2015. This offers both full-time and distance learning courses, including various professional webinars.
Secondly, we provide decent wages; in this aspect, UTW is one of the industry leaders in its region. This allows us to attract talented young people and experienced specialists to the company.
Finally, I consider the improvement of working conditions a very important thing. We spend significant funds on repairing changing rooms, showers, and dining areas. The building of the plant's management has been overhauled, the roofing of all workshop buildings has been updated, the lighting has been improved, and now we are actively changing the entire heating system of the workshops.
What are your plans over the next ten years? Will there be a focus on developing new products?
We undoubtedly set ourselves serious challenges. For the next few years, our plans include participating in projects to construct waste incineration plants, and active participation in the implementation of the PSA-2 program in the Russian market. We are planning to take part in updating the T-250 machines in cities with a population of over one million, and we will present our customers with effective proposals for upgrading turbines with a capacity of 200 and 300 MW with reaction blading.
It is also planned to expand the markets for our products. With this purpose, we actively participate in tenders to supply equipment to Iran and Cuba. Among the plans for the plant, there is the reconstruction of a rotor balancing test station. This is a very large-scale task, but I am sure that we will celebrate the next anniversary with a renewed station. There are many plans in the works for the next ten years, and I know that our team will tackle them successfully!
Interviewed by Irina Krivoshapka
Source: Energy and Industry of Russia