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The Finish Line Vol. 24 • October 2021 [Q3 2021]

The Path to ISO 9001:2015

Carol Hamm, Manager of Project Management

Rotating Machinery Services is pleased to announce its completion of ISO 9001:2015 Certification at its Bethlehem, PA, Appleton, WI, and Houston, TX locations. Auditors from TUV SUD America Inc. presented the ISO 9001:2015 QMS certificate to RMS following a quality management audit conducted at each RMS location.

Attaining the ISO 9001:2015 certification demonstrates RMS’ commitment to building and implementing a quality management system in accordance with the principles of the ISO 9001:2015 standard and delivering consistent quality products and services to its customers.

ISO 9001:2015 is a quality framework that companies can follow to help ensure that products and services are consistently provided with quality in mind. While RMS had a basic framework of processes and procedures that were the basis for the day to day operations, ISO 9001:2015 looks at the processes of a system and lends guidance to filling in the gaps and minimizing risk. The process of continual improvement ensures your business becomes more efficient, reduces errors and maintains a high standard of service delivery.

RMS began this journey last summer with a pre-certification audit at our manufacturing facilities in Bethlehem, PA and Houston, TX. This was a high-level audit to gauge the gaps in our processes against the seven clauses of the standard. Then we created an action plan to perform a complete internal audit of all of the processes and procedures to the standard. Some of the internal audits to the standard were performed several times where it was warranted to ensure that we had all risk mitigated and gaps were addressed effectively. TUV SUD America auditors then performed what is called a Stage 1 Audit of all mandatory clauses of the specification to ensure that we were prepared for the rigorous certification audit.

RMS had many representatives from all functional areas such as Management, Quality, Human Resources, Finance, Project Management, Engineering and Information Technology. The RMS functional representatives pulled together as a team and worked to accomplish the goal at hand; improve our processes to achieve ISO Certification. The team generated an action item list of # tasks, divided the tasks amongst the team and executed, not flawlessly but with commitment and passion. When one area was down, overloaded, another stepped up to the challenge, and worked together as a well-oiled machine. During this period, RMS created new 7 operational procedures, 13 departmental work instructions and 3 standards. We also revised 37 operational procedures and 12 standards.

Collaboration was at the center of this significant operation for the RMS ISO Team to execute on a compressed timeline.

RMS sought ISO 9001:2015 certification as a means to ensure we were operating at what we and many of our customers believe to be one of the highest and most recognized standards in our industry. The ISO 9001:2015 certification is an indication of RMS’ commitment to consistently providing our customers with the highest quality engineered solutions in the turbomachinery industry.

Our final certification audit was performed in July 2021 and RMS received ISO 9001:2015 certification on August 27, 2021.

The ISO Certification Committee was comprised of many functional areas, but to give credit to the individual team members, I am proud to give recognition to the following:

  • Joseph Gross, VP of Engineering-Executive Sponsor
  • Marc Rubino, Quality Manager – Bethlehem, PA
  • Barry Nicholson, Quality Manager – Houston, TX
  • Mathew Miller, Director of Operations – Houston, TX
  • Frank Marrone, Director of Sourcing
  • Dan Meyer, Manager of Information Technology
  • Jeremy Simpson, Sr. Project Manager - Lead Auditor
  • Thomas Edwards, Quality Control
“Quality is not an act. It is a habit” – Aristotle

“The industry can now be assured that we, RMS are quality focused on our customers, products and services at all times. Aristotle said "Quality is not an act. It is a habit.” When we focus as a team on quality, RMS and our customers’ best interest are at heart. That is what RMS has, heart and soul and as a team we proved that here through this tremendous achievement.” — Carol Hamm, Manager of Project Management-ISO Lead

“One of the key elements of the ISO process, is the commitment to continuous improvement. This requirement aligns perfectly with RMS’ approach to business” according to John Bartos, CEO. “We are constantly looking for new ways to bring customized engineered solutions to satisfy our customer’s needs. ISO certification extends that philosophy across all area of our organization.”

I would like to thank all of the team members mentioned above, who volunteered to take on this enormous, fast-paced project and did with passion, excitement and enthusiasm. I also would like to thank those employees who stepped up behind the scenes to support all the requirements that were placed upon them to execute individual tasks and support the ISO team in our quest for ISO 9001:2015 certification. This benefits both our customers and employees as we pursue continuous improvement in everything we do.

This edition of 'The Finish Line' includes:

  • The Path to ISO 9001:2015Carol Hamm
  • Innovative Engineering to Reduce Harmful Waste ProductsAllan Mathis, James Cardillo
  • RMS Supports Critical Rotating Machinery Systems and ControlsGary O'Connell, Joseph Vanden Oever
  • Turbo Toons
  • New Hires

Innovative Engineering to Reduce Harmful Waste Products

Allan Mathis, Principle Engineer James Cardillo, Structural Analyst

The robustness of a compressor with the simplicity of a blower fan.

In the face of growing environmental challenges, many industries continue to evolve and search for new ways to reduce the expulsion of harmful waste products into the atmosphere. Applications and opportunities involving the harvesting and recycling of waste gases continue to present themselves as industries push to refine and clean up their processes. This industrial push comes with its own set of challenges, however, especially when dealing with the harshness and inconsistency of waste gas materials. A customer approached RMS with such a challenge.

RMS was eager to work with the customer to develop a solution.

The customer was attempting to use an industrial blower fan to blow waste gas products from a dirty process into a furnace where harmful components of the gas could be burned off and steam could be salvaged for energy. The industrial blower fan was subjected to very harsh process gases and operating conditions which exceeded typical standard operational requirements, including speeds closer to that of an industrial compressor. As a result, the customer was experiencing persistent failures and reliability issues with their existing blower fan design and was in dire need of something above and beyond a standard industrial blower fan.

RMS, with its rich history in engineering industrial compressors, was happy to help bring the customer’s blower fan design forward, closer to a more highly engineered compressor-like design. The effort gave birth to a new type of product lying somewhere in between the robustness of a compressor with the simplicity of a blower-fan. For RMS, this was an “all-hands-on-deck” effort. RMS would need to leverage its advanced engineering design capabilities, reverse engineering tools, experience in rotating machinery, and cutting-edge modeling techniques to develop a new high-performance blower fan product to meet the tough operating requirements. RMS’ highly engineered approach combined with decades of experience designing rotating machinery for high-speed applications resulted in an innovative blower-fan design that met the customer’s operating parameters safely and reliably.

The customer contacted RMS after experiencing numerous blower fan failures during operation. In spite of several re-design attempts, the blower fan continued to face high vibration and would routinely trip offline. Subsequent redesigns added complexity and cost to the blower fan, but didn’t provide a solution. In dire need of an immediate solution, the customer contacted RMS knowing they needed a highly engineered approach to fix their blower fan problem. They provided RMS with a host of vibration and process data along with P&IDs to evaluate. The customer also shipped their existing blower fan to RMS’s Houston shop for further engineering evaluation and dimensional analysis. The RMS engineering team had a challenging task at hand: they needed to approach the new blower fan design like a highly-robust engineered compressor but needed to be mindful of the cost and simplicity requirements of an industrial blower fan.

The first step for the engineering team was to develop an understanding of what had been done previously by the OEM and how RMS could correct deficiencies and build upon the strengths of the existing design. RMS made heavy use of its reverse-engineering capabilities to take on this task. Upon evaluating the initial design, it became very clear that several aspects of the design made it vulnerable to the harsh operating conditions.

  • The shaft design was complex, utilizing a multi-piece design with several welds.
  • There were inadequate interference fits for several components onto the shaft, making the rotor susceptible to vibrations.
  • The impeller itself was actually welded to the shaft in an attempt to compensate for an inadequate interference fit.
  • This added additional stress concentrations and failure points to the design while increasing the overall design complexity and cost.
  • The impeller hub design was actually hollow which introduced strength vulnerabilities and went against conventional compressor design practices.

Shaft and Hub Design

It became clear that an entirely new shaft and hub design was necessary. To develop a new shaft design, RMS engineers made use of rotor-dynamics analysis (RDA) tools. Utilizing RDA techniques in combination with previous experience, a more stable, one-piece, critically damped shaft system was developed for the application. A critically damped structure was preferred for this application inasmuch as it would respond to disturbances in a more favorable way: it would return to its initial state without excessive oscillations, leading to less shaft vibration.

Figure 2: Rotor dynamics and critical speed map analysis of the new rotor design

Impeller Re-Design

To take on the impeller re-design, RMS again made heavy use of its reverse engineering capabilities to develop a finite element model of the existing blower-fan. The engineering team combined finite element analysis with industry experience to identify weak points in the design and develop solutions for problematic areas. Again, there were many challenges as the engineering team needed to employ design techniques that were somewhere “in-between” a full industrial compressor design and a more cost-effective blower-fan design. The team went through several design iterations, which saw the introduction of upgraded materials and improved design principles to create a more stable blower-fan that was capable of reliable performance in the presence of the harsh environment.

Figure 3: Proper material selection is a critical step in achieving success in high-performance applications. RMS uses state-of-the-art material selection for rotating machinery to ensure that the design is robust, even when subjected to harsh thermal and centrifugal forces. On the left, the high-stress areas are shown as red in the existing design. On the right: after some minor design tweaks and material changes, the red, high stress areas are greatly reduced.

Hub Design and Hub-to-Shaft Fit

Another critical area was the hub design and the hub-to-shaft fit. Finite element modeling was again used heavily to develop a more robust, 1-piece solid hub design. The welds were removed and a hub-to-shaft interference fit using RMS’ tried and true fit analysis approach led to a more robust and simplified design in the fit area.

Figure 4: Due to high centrifugal and thermal loads, the hub experienced an elevated state of “hoop” stress. The elevated stresses immediately called for a stronger, solid hub design. The RMS 1-piece hub design in combination with high-strength materials ensured that the stresses remained below the material yield strength with acceptable safety factor.

The RMS 1-piece hub design featured a “relieved” area in the center of the fit for ease of assembly when trying to fit the hub on the shaft. This relieved area was tailored to the application such that adequate power transfer was still maintained at the front of the hub fit when the heel lifted off at speed.

Figure 5: Analysis of the fit showed how the “heel” of the hub lifted during speed operation due to centrifugal force. When using a relieved interference fit, it was critical to ensure that enough of the fit remained at the operating speed such that power was still adequately transferred from the shaft to the hub

A 'Hybrid' is Born

As the design was finalized, it became clear that a new “hybrid” blower fan/centrifugal compressor prototype was born. Through the blending of high-tech centrifugal compressor design with simplified blower-fan design, RMS was able to develop a solution for the customer. The resulting prototype was not only more robust than the OEM design, but also more simplified with reduced manufacturing complexity and easier assembly. All of this was achieved while being mindful of the cost and reliability requirements desired by the customer. Improved materials introduced better thermal stability and a new hub design resulted in a blower-fan that was engineered and built with highly engineered solutions typically reserved for compressors and turbines.

RMS provided the first completed new prototype blower fan rotor to the customer, which is currently in operation. Following up on this initial shipment, RMS is providing three additional blower fan prototypes designed specifically to function in this customer’s unique application.

Do you have a unique application that calls for a novel approach? Are you experiencing persistent issues with your rotating equipment? Whatever the issue may be, RMS would be eager to help you on your journey. Give RMS a call and see how our experienced engineers can help.

RMS Supports Critical Rotating Machinery Systems and Controls

Gary O'Connell, Principle EngineerJoseph Vanden Oever, Principle Engineer

Systems and Controls for your rotating machinery are some of the most important systems at your facility when it comes to safe operation. Ensuring these systems are properly set up for reliable and predictable operation requires experience and deep technical understanding to execute. Here at RMS, our staff has over 50 years of combined experience with rotating equipment packages, which includes installations across the globe. The RMS team is here to support your rotating equipment needs backed by decades of engineering expertise.

RMS focuses on the controls and monitoring of the rotating equipment package, which includes its auxiliary systems. RMS can provide solutions for the total control system replacement or partial system upgrades for your rotating machinery. RMS also supports instrumentation upgrades, which include switches to transmitters and annunciators to HMIs. For customers seeking seal and seal system upgrades, RMS has experience providing upgrades from oil seals to dry gas seals to help customers meet API692 requirements. Here at RMS, we have experience integrating all major PLC platforms based on customer preference including GE, AB, Siemens, Hima, Triconex, Schnieder, etc.

RMS engineers have vast experience creating designs for compressor systems following API guidelines when required for condition monitoring and auxiliary system design. This includes integrated turbomachinery-specific controllers such as Bently Nevada, Woodward, and CCC.

Properly designed and functioning controls systems increase compressor reliability while promoting personal safety as well as minimizing downtime due to equipment failures. Whether a new installation or a controls upgrade to an existing installation, RMS understands the importance of collaborating with the customer to ensure any control system, regardless of scope, has adequate protection for the rotating equipment. End-users may have a better understanding of the overall process requirements but RMS, as the machinery supplier, has a better understanding of what is required for machine safety and protection.

Don’t wait until it is too late to review your rotating equipment systems. If it is time to upgrade your systems or controls and monitoring equipment ranging from simple instruments to complete panel or lubrication and sealing systems upgrades, RMS can support your needs. Even if you have original equipment packages provided by other manufacturers, we can review them with you and provide upgrade recommendations.

Turbo Toons

Marc Rubino, Quality Manager

New Hires

Adam Freberg, Senior Designer — Adam brings more than 20 years of experience in rotating machinery with a specialty in CAD design/modeling of steam path components. Prior to RMS, Adam worked at Siemens where he gained knowledge modeling steam path hardware for a host of different steam turbine product lines. Adam also has experience modeling straight, twisted, and taper-twisted airfoils with radial entry, axial entry, and finger style dovetails/roots.

Peter Martin, Design Engineer I (Bethlehem, PA) — Peter graduated from the University of Alabama (Huntsville) with a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering. During his studies, Peter led a team of undergraduate students who competed in the NASA University Student Launch Initiative Competition, where they placed 3rd in a field of 46 teams. Peter has also worked as an intern at Mac Trucks and as a Fleet Engineer at Air Products.

Christina SappHR Coordinator (Houston) — RMS welcomes Christina to the Human Resources team where she will work in RMS’s North Chase Office. Christina’s experience in on-boarding new employees, managing employee files, and using HR management systems will be critical as RMS continues to grow and expand.

LaKeshia SnyderAccounts Payable - Staff Accountant — LaKeshia joins the RMS accounting team as Staff Accountant based in Bethlehem, PA. LaKeshia’s previous accounting experience saw her managing the Accounts Payable team to ensure daily processes were correctly followed. LaKeshia also has a wealth of experience implementing and updating procedures in collaboration with company-wide representatives. Along with her account experience, LaKeshia runs a non-profit organization focused on animal rescue.

Thomas KellerShop Supervisor (Bethlehem, PA) — RMS welcomes Tom as the Shop Supervisor in Bethlehem. Tom started his career in the United States Navy where he spent 20 years of his career, eventually retiring as an Aviation Electronics Technician Petty Officer First Class. After the Navy, Tom joined Philadelphia Energy Solutions where he spent 14 years working as part of the maintenance management team.

Thomas Garrity, Manufacturing - Shop Scheduler (Bethlehem, PA) — Tom joins the RMS Bethlehem shop team as the shop scheduler. Tom has experience Identifying bottlenecks, managing budgeted hours versus actual hours, and tracking material movement in a manufacturing setting. Tom has previous work experience at Siemens where he worked as a Master Router and Planner gaining valuable experience scheduling the manufacturing of highly-engineered rotating equipment.

Edgar Rodriguez, Manufacturing Shop Scheduler (Houston) — Edgar Rodriguez joins RMS with more than 10 years of manufacturing schedule management experience. Prior to RMS, Edgar worked at Galperti Inc. and W.W. Granger Inc. where he gained knowledge of manufacturing and schedule management. Edgar’s experience reviewing the master production schedule to accommodate expediting the priorities against resource availability is a critical addition to the RMS team.

Rodney RichardsonIT Technician (Houston) — Rodney joins the RMS IT Team with 20-year background in telecom, networking, and desktop support. Rodney has a wealth of experience in systems support, desktop support, and the implementation of new software. RMS looks forward to adding Rodney to the IT team where his experience and skills will benefit the entire RMS organization.

Manuel Rivera, Mechanic (Houston) — Joins RMS with more than 20 years of experience manufacturing pumps. Along with pump experience, Manuel also has knowledge in pump machinery and gearboxes and including inspecting, troubleshooting, pump assembly and disassembly, and refurbing of pumps.

Christopher Anderson, Mechanic (Houston) — Chris is a knowledgeable mechanic with more than 20 years of work experience. With previous work experience at Ethos Energy and PSG, Chris offers a diverse background that is a welcomed addition to the RMS team. In addition to his work experience, Chris has certifications in, Lockout Tagout, CPR, and First Aid.

Michael Madruga, Machinist (Houston) — Michael is a skilled machinist with experience producing precision parts with strong attention to detail. He is certified by Mastercam for mill design and tool paths. Michael has extensive experience setting up and operating a variety of machines, editing programs, and meeting production requirements. A United States Navy Veteran, Michael started his career manufacturing secret level one parts for submarines and other class of warships.

Jose Salazar, Machinist (Houston) — Jose joins RMS with 16 years of rotating machinery experience, most of which was spent with manual machining. Jose also has experience with assembly and disassembly of various types of rotating equipment.

Pictured: Peter Martin, Design Engineer I

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