Many engineering curricula include a course in turbomachinery. However, many graduates who enter the oil and gas industry are designated as rotating equipment engineers. Though the terms turbomachinery and rotating equipment are often used interchangeably, all turbomachinery is rotating equipment but not vice versa.
What factors differentiate turbomachinery?
In general, the term “rotating” refers to most equipment used in the industry, whether in the upstream, midstream, or downstream segments. Top rotating equipment specialists in the industry, on the other hand, are frequently seen spending their prime time or being associated with certain unique and specific types of critical rotating machines – turbomachines. Get Trained in GT Suite & GT Power with GT Suite Course.
Turbomachines are devices that add or remove energy from a continuously flowing fluid through the dynamic action of one or more moving blade rows. Under this definition, propellers, wind turbines, and unshrouded fans are all turbomachines, but they must be treated separately.
The subject of fluid mechanics, aerodynamics, thermodynamics, and material mechanics of turbomachinery when limited to machines enclosed by a tightly fitting casing or shroud through which a measurable quantity of fluid passing in unit time makes the functional linkage to rotating equipment – those that absorb power to increase the fluid pressure or head (fans, compressors, and pumps) and those that produce energy by expanding fluid to a lower pressure or head (fans, compressors, and pumps) (hydraulic, steam and gas turbines). It is common to further categorize flow contours into axial, radial, and mixed types and impulse and reaction (based on the principle of energy transfer). The range of service requirements necessitates various pumps (or compressors) and turbines.
API standards govern the design, material, and system requirements of rotating equipment in the oil and gas industry. Following such standards, APIs SOME (Sub Committee on Mechanical Equipment) equipment is considered to quantify rotating machines. Centrifugal pumps (API 610), general and special purpose steam turbines (API 611 & 612), gas turbines (API 616), axial and centrifugal compressors and expander-compressors (API 617), unique purpose fans (API 673), and integrally geared compressors are examples of turbomachinery (API 672).
While the fundamentals remain the same, the unique nature of turbomachinery applications in the industry makes the job of a rotating equipment engineer difficult.
At a conceptual level, the following are four critical aspects of rotating equipment (turbomachines) that an engineer in the oil and gas industry must understand: Kinematics, energetics, and thermodynamics of performance – fluid-aero thermal design and analysis; rotor, bearings, seals, casing, and structure integrity – mechanical design and comment; the entire hardware – metallurgy, material mechanics, and manufacturing – and finally the associated systems.
As the oil and gas industry entrusts its specialist rotating equipment engineers with the critical reliability and availability of turbomachines, new methods of enhancing competence are required.
Turning equipment engineers’ practical experience, combined with exposure to design principles and CAE and simulation tools, is one way to help them add more value to their business. You can learn in-depth with the help of turbomachinery courses.
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