The Finish Line Vol. 23 • June 2021 [Q2 2021]

RMS Welcomes Dan Jones Director Of International Sales

Phone: 346-970-4143 • Based in: Houston, TX

Dan Jones recently joined RMS as the Director of International Sales and is responsible for the sale of RMS products and services outside of the US and Canada. Dan joins RMS after a long career that includes roles in Engineering, General Management, Marketing, Quality, Research & Development, Sales, and Technology.

The common denominator throughout his career has been delivering engineered equipment systems to the energy markets. Dan's most recent experience was in the development of turbine-driven compression solutions for world-scale ethylene, heavy oil cracking, and LNG applications. Previously, Dan’s focus included rotating equipment for Air Separation, Chemical, Oil & Gas, Petrochemical, and Refining markets.

International customers of RMS can expect the same quality performance provided to our domestic customers, and Dan is committed to the continued delivery of—and support for—world-class engineered machinery systems. He aims to provide equipment owners reduced operating risk and lower overall cost of ownership.

As always, we continue to provide excellence in design and products.

To further RMS international growth, Dan plans to target the RMS international Channel Partner network, allowing RMS to meet market requirements across the globe and provide localized service for our international customers.

Dan's focus will include solidifying and expanding RMS support for legacy AC Compressor centrifugal compressor and oil free screw compressor markets. Alongside the AC Compressor OEM impact, international customers can expect the introduction and growth of multi-nameplate compressor, steam turbine, and hot gas expander support. RMS’ growing Channel Partner network will also allow RMS to provide local service to international customers, lead by experienced RMS engineering team members.

RMS has a long legacy of successful support and improvement to world-class engineered rotating equipment systems worldwide. Consider us for your next machinery challenge; if we can help you we will take it on, and you will be glad we did.

Cure for an Exhausted Diffuser

Farzam Motazavi, Senior Engineer James Cardillo, Structural Analyst

Exhaust diffuser structural analysis and design enhancement against high cycle fatigue

Exhaust diffusers are a critical component of turbomachinery, especially for axial machines. The diffuser takes hot gas at the tail of the low pressure turbine and directs the flow to the exhaust envelope while recovering static pressure. A typical exhaust diffuser consists of an inner cone, an outer cone, and several tangential struts binding the cones together, as illustrated in Figure 1. Apart from the usual emphasis put on the aerodynamic performance of exhaust diffusers, the structural integrity is of equal concern, as testified by numerous reports of failures and structural design improvements.

Figure 1: Exhaust diffuser (a) cross sectional view, schematic (b) 3D view

Naturally, the question arises:

“Why has the structural design of exhaust diffusers remained a challenge despite the continued evolution of the aerodynamic design?”

The answer to this question is multi-faceted. For one, the diffuser is often in the presence of a corrosive environment while being subjected to very high temperatures, making it more vulnerable to inter-granular attack due to sensitization. Another challenge is the handful of high frequency excitation mechanisms, such as strut vortex shedding and blade pass pressure pulsations, which can lead to numerous high-cycle fatigue failures.

Unfortunately, the designer’s hands are often tied when it comes to the more straightforward approach: thickness-reinforcement of the parts. Exhaust diffusers are intentionally designed to be light, thin, and flexible structures which accommodate thermal growth and some level of rotational degree of freedom. This presents a challenge of competing goals: on one hand, the diffuser must be light and “thermally flexible” while on the other hand, the diffuser must also be strong enough to withstand various aerodynamic instabilities and excitations while operating in harsh environments. In this scenario, the RMS approach was multi-disciplinary, ranging from improving the materials of construction to carefully analyzing the stresses, the excitations, and the natural frequencies. This approach allowed a more reliable and targeted solution where the design could be selectively enhanced in key areas susceptible to failure without compromising on the aerodynamic aspects.

A customer operating a DR-22, 2-stage power turbine contacted RMS regarding a failed exhaust diffuser. The diffuser was in need of immediate repairs, but also a long-term design solution that remedied the problem at its source and reduced the need for frequent repairs. Metallurgical analysis of the exhaust diffuser showed inter-granular cracking where the struts’ feet were welded to the inner and outer cones. Earlier experience with this machine indicated that the struts would fail consistently after several years of operation. Figure 2 shows the failure location.

Figure 2: Extensive cracking at strut foot location and welding heat affected zone

Note that the diffuser was operating at temperatures more than 1000 °F in a corrosive environment. A reduction in the material endurance limit in this environment, combined with the presence of aerodynamic excitations and lower frequency fundamental modes, created the perfect storm for high cycle fatigue at the strut footing. Due to the multi-faceted nature of the problem, RMS adopted a multi-disciplinary approach involving material analysis and FEA modeling with the proposed a three-pronged solution:

  1. Improve the construction material
  2. Reduce the stress levels at the strut foot
  3. Decouple the excitations from the fundamental modes

• Continued below •

• Continued from above •

1. Improve the construction material

RMS improved the structural performance of the diffuser by upgrading from an older 316 SS material to a 321 SS material. The addition of Titanium in 321 SS opposes chromium carbide precipitation, enhancing the material’s resistance to sensitization in harsh environments.

2. Reduce the stress levels at the strut foot

The RMS team created a finite element (FE) model of the diffuser to investigate the stress levels at critical locations and explore possible design solutions. The diffuser model presented some unique challenges. However, RMS’s extensive experience with the construction of power turbines facilitated an understanding of the loads and constraints for this particular application. One of the most common mistakes when creating finite element models is “over-constraining” the model. In this particular application, it was easy to fall into this trap as the bearing housing flange connection provided some restraint but allowed for rotation of the diffuser on a pilot ring to accommodate for thermal growth. Accurately representing this connection proved to be a critical task in constructing the FE model, since the wrong model constraints lead to fictitiously overstressed components resulting in erroneous conclusions and therefore, bad design decisions.

The overall complexity of the diffuser model also presented a challenge. A variety of techniques such as periodic modeling and detailed sub-modeling of the welded areas allowed RMS to achieve good accuracy and fidelity at critical locations while managing the computational costs (See Figure 3 and Figure 4).

Figure 3: A periodic model of the exhaust differ enabled RMS to speed up solution delivery time
Figure 4: Localized sub-modeling allowed for intense accuracy and scrutiny of results in key failure areas

The presence of the bearing housing flange directly under the struts, along with the intense connection angle and the thermal growth of the struts relative to the cones, caused high stress levels at the failure locations. The FE models created by RMS proved to be quite powerful in this case, as the failure locations were effectively correlated to high-stress regions. Figure 5 shows this correlation.

Figure 5: Correlation of failure location with structural analysis results

Using the correlated FE model, the RMS team evaluated several design alternatives for stress-reduction effectiveness, manufacturability, and reliability. The RMS design solution involved locally thickening the cones where the strut feet joined the cones (Figure 6(a)). This solution proved to be more effective than local patch weldments since the gaps between the cones and the patches were eliminated while simultaneously reducing both the dynamic and static stresses due to the increased thickness (Figure 6(b)). Also, the aerodynamic design and performance of the diffuser were preserved since none of the flow path features were disturbed or modified.

Figure 6(a): Improvement of diffuser structural design
Figure 6(b): Proposed design mean stress levels before and after design enhancement

• Continued below •

• Continued from above •

3. Decouple the excitations from the fundamental modes

The analysis in the previous section dealt with the steady loads working on the diffuser. More often than not, rotating equipment is subjected to time varying dynamic loads on top of the static loads. In the case of exhaust diffusers, vortex shedding from the diffuser struts and rotor pressure pulsations work as cyclic excitation sources. The resulting dynamic loading is often not of concern unless it coincides with one of the fundamental modes of the diffuser. Fundamental modes are the simplest modes of vibration like simple panel modes or torsional strut modes. These fundamental modes are critical as they require only a small amount of energy to be excited. The fundamental modes are shown in Figure 7. In order to investigate the fundamental modes and their frequencies, RMS performed a modal analysis on the diffuser. Both the frequencies and mode shapes were vital outputs. When the shape and magnitude of excitation forces coincide with fundamental modes of vibration, high levels of alternating stress can result.

Figure 7: Fundamental torsional and panel modes with low separation margin to excitation frequencies

In most frequency analyses, the determination of excitation sources is relatively straightforward. Excitations are typically taken as machine operating speed and multiples of machine operating speed. If these excitation frequencies match up with or come close to fundamental modes, a resonance problem may result (resulting in high alternating stresses). For this analysis, RMS took a more rigorous approach. Not only were the excitation frequencies considered, but the shape of the excitations was also taken into account; the diffuser needed to be excited at the right frequency and in the right shape in order for high alternating stresses to result. To obtain the vortex shedding excitation frequencies, RMS used a combination of CFD modeling and hand calculations to obtain the corresponding Strouhal number for this specific geometry and application. The pressure pulsation excitation amplitudes were estimated based on the dynamic pressure available through the annulus. Figure 8 shows the vortex bubble shed from the strut. There were shedding frequencies associated with the leading edge and the trailing edge for both the fore and aft struts.

Figure 8: CFD Calculation showing shedding from diffuser struts

After determining the vortex shedding frequencies and the pressure pulsation frequencies, a harmonic analysis was performed using the calculated excitations and mode shapes within the frequency range of interest. With the improvements in FEA and computational tools, this type of analysis effectively provided a more direct means of calculating the alternating stresses as opposed to the more widespread use of applying general amplification/safety factors to estimate alternating stresses. This type of analysis allowed the amplification factor to be directly calculated for this specific geometry and application. The resulting excitations showed a condition of resonance close to the fundamental modes, as shown in Figure 9. However, the proposed solution to thicken the cone sections close to the strut feet helped by increasing the local stiffness, thus shifting the fundamental modes to higher values and decoupling them from the excitation frequencies.

Figure 9: Resonance at fundamental diffuser modes, identified by harmonic analysis

Finally, a complete understanding of the state of stress and the risk of High Cycle Fatigue (HCF) was obtained by plotting the static and dynamic stresses in a Goodman diagram for the original design and the improved design. Note in Figure 10 that the proposed solution reduced both the mean and alternating stress components, shifting the stress state to a much more reliable area inside the design envelope. The original mean stress level was sufficiently high such that only a small value in dynamic excitation/alternating stress could push the state of stress outside of the design envelope. In other words, there was a low safety margin available for diffuser vibration. Moderate stress levels and variations in those stress levels presented a significant HCF risk.

Figure 10: Goodman diagram shows marked improvement in structural health of the exhaust diffuser

Turbomachinery failures can be complex.

Failure is very rarely caused by only one factor. In most cases, a combination or “perfect storm” of factors add up in some way to cause catastrophic failure of components. It is no surprise then that designing and innovating to avoid failure requires careful consideration of all the possible factors that can lead to failure. It is critical to have a multi-disciplinary team approach that can specialize and identify all relevant issues in order to find a solution. This challenge was well suited to RMS’s multi-disciplinary team of specialists with extensive experience in turbomachinery repair, design, and analysis which lead to a long-term high-cycle fatigue solution for the customer.

Rotating machinery touches the lives of people around the world.

Most people are not aware of the vital role that turbomachinery plays in supporting the critical infrastructure that allows us to enjoy our lives every day. RMS is privileged to be entrusted with servicing these essential machines. To showcase the impact RMS has on global critical infrastructure, the following segment highlights select end markets that our supported equipment enables.

Now, let’s learn how each RMS product line plays a unique role in global critical infrastructure...

FCC Expanders in Refining

Don Shafer, Director FCC Expander Engineering

Hot gas expanders are found in the FCCU of refineries where they recover power that would otherwise be unused to drive the regenerator main air blower for compressed air or drive a generator for plant electrical use.

Hot gas expanders represent significant engineering challenges because of the high operational inlet temperatures (up to 1400 °F degrees), that—in conjunction with the catalyst laden flue gas the flow path components are exposed to—create an extremely harsh environment for the expanders internal components. In order to address these severe conditions RMS specifies high-temperature alloy materials and protective coatings designed to withstand this environment.

Between CONMEC and RMS, we’ve had an opportunity to work on more than 27 FCC hot gas expanders dating back to 1987.

RMS has provided every component, flange to flange, for hot gas expanders. This includes all of the outer casings, stator vanes and rotor blading, rotor disc along with complete intake casing assemblies, rotor assemblies and complete rotor, bearing and seal assemblies.

RMS has developed “low erosion” airfoils for two of the expander frames sizes and has had them in service at several sites to address erosion in the flow path. We also have most of the common high-temperature locknuts and washers in inventory along with bar material to manufacture the high-temperature studs in our shop.

The typical RMS expander work scope involves the end user sending us the complete expander sub-assemblies removed during a planned outage. After the spare assemblies have been installed at site and operating successfully. RMS will then perform a dis-assembly of the used assemblies and perform a complete detailed inspection of all of the components in our shop. This includes a visual inspection, dimensional / runout inspection and non-destructive testing to identify any defects in the components. The results of the inspections are then evaluated by RMS engineering and the inspection report is generated which includes all of the repair or replace recommendations for each component. We then go over these recommendations with the customer and execute the repair and reassembly of the expander in preparation for the next outage.

RMS can also provide the field service supervision to install the refurbished assemblies along with the technical engineering support. We can also provide engineering analysis for performance or reliability improvements evaluations.

Don Shafer is the Product Director of Hot Gas Expanders at RMS. He’s been involved in rotating equipment, with a focus on hot gas expanders for 35 years.

Oil Free Screw Compressors Offshore

Russ Aerts, Product Director Oil Free Screw Compressors

Oil-Free Screw Compressors are primarily found in offshore Oil & Gas production, refining, petrochemical and industrial applications. They are often applied in difficult and demanding services where no other compressor type will work reliably for the desired run time. These tough machines are applied in petrochemical processes with polymer-forming gases (styrene, butadiene, acetylene), in petrochemical processes with varying operating conditions (linear alkyl benzene, vinyl acetate monomer), in refinery units with varying gas compositions and potential build-up of tar (crude unit off gas), and in offshore vapor recovery units where the operator can only make a best-guess as to what the gas composition.

Oil-Free Screw Compressors present a few significant engineering challenges. They operate with extremely tight tolerances. Rotor-to-rotor clearances are roughly the thickness of a dollar bill. High-frequency pulsations make them extremely loud and this acoustic energy much be properly addressed. If a pulsation dampener/silencer is not designed correctly, it can crack and fail within MINUTES of startup.

Between CONMEC, AC Compressor, and RMS we’ve had opportunity to work on nearly 800 Oil-Free Screw Compressors dating back to the early 1960s. RMS has the engineering experience and capabilities to work on these demanding machines and deliver reliable results for our customers.

Examples of a typical work scope that RMS performs on oil free screw compressors includes:

  • Overhauls, including disassembly, inspection, reassembly and test
  • Repairs including rotor seal strip repairs, thermal spray coatings (HVOF) of the shafts, rotor bore laser cladding, casing weld repairs, bearing re-babbitting
  • Complete bare frame replacement
  • Parts replacement
  • Field service

Russ Aerts is the Product Director of Oil Free Screw Compressors at RMS. He’s been involved in rotating equipment, with a focus on OFS Compressors, for 25 years. The RMS OFS engineering team has more than 150 years of combined engineering experience.

Centrifugal Compressors in Food & Beverage Processing

Ryan Rottier, Product Director AC Compressor

The AC Compressor centrifugal compressor product portfolio is comprised of both single stage as well as multistage configurations. These machines are used in refineries, chemical plants, steel mills, and other industrial applications. ACC CCs are also found in Food and Beverage processing where they are used in a Mechanical Vapor Recompression (MVR) process.

In this application, process feed (tomato sauce, corn steep liquor, dairy, grain alcohol, etc.) is to be concentrated by reducing the water content. Vapor-compression evaporation is the method by which a compressor is used to increase the pressure of the vapor produced. Since the pressure increase of the vapor also generates an increase in the temperature, the same vapor can serve as the heating medium for its "mother" liquid or solution being concentrated, from which the vapor was generated to begin with.

ACC Single Stage Compressors face significant engineering challenges. One of the side effects of the MVR method, due to process deviations, is that liquids are present as a result of liquid carry over from upstream vessels and demisters or due to un-superheated inlet temperature to the compressor. These liquids result in erosion and corrosion damage to the gas path components with subsequent need for repairs, replacement and upgrades to design and materials. RMS recommends a recirculation line from compressor discharge to compressor inlet to superheat the inlet steam by 5 degrees F above saturation temperature to reduce the likeliness of liquid in the process.

Between AC Compressor and RMS we’ve had opportunity to work on over 600 ACC SS compressors dating back to the 1950’s.

Examples of a typical work scope that RMS performs on ACC Single Stage Compressors includes rotor repairs (impeller welding), inlet nozzle repairs, backplate inserts with SS material, and inspection and reassembly of “rear assemblies”. RMS is also the certified provider of OEM AC Compressor parts.

Ryan Rottier is the Product Director of AC Compressor Centrifugal Compressors at RMS. He’s been involved in rotating equipment, with a focus on Centrifugal Compressors for 24 years.

Centrifugal Compressors in Mining

Ryan Rottier, Product Director AC Compressor

AC Compressor Centrifugal Compressors are often found in Mining Applications where they are used in applications with sulfuric acid, which is an integral part of many mining processes. Sulphur oxides including SO2 are a byproduct of mining operations, and were once a major source of air pollution and acid rain previous to the recovery of these gases. Today these byproducts are recovered and utilized in the production of sulfuric acid for use both in the mining operation itself, along with other industrial uses. AC Compressors contribute to the production of many valuable metals including copper, zinc and platinum worldwide.

Axial Compressors in Refining

Tony Rubino, Chief Engineer & Director of Compressor Engineering

Tony Rubino is the Product Director of Axial Compressor Engineering Chief Engineer at RMS. He’s been involved in rotating equipment, with a focus on Axial Compressors for 38 years.

Axial Compressors found in Oil Refineries provide air that, in concert with the downstream vessels and valves, produces the pressure potential for fluid motion as well as the oxygen for catalyst rejuvenation combustion in the fluid catalytic cracking process. The pressure potential creates the motive force that circulates the catalyst laden air through various vessels: primarily the reactor and regenerator. The catalytic process occurs in the reactor where the catalyst becomes contaminated with coke while the “cracked” product is returned to the process for fractional distillation. The compressor supplied air fluidizes the reactor bed and subsequently carries the coked catalyst through the reactor into the regenerator where the coke is burned from the catalyst. The rejuvenated catalyst is returned to the reactor under its own weight while the exhaust gas is directed to a hot gas expander for power recovery, or through orifice chambers to let down the pressure. After further thermal energy recovery in a steam generator and “scrubbing”, the exhaust gas is eventually released back to atmosphere.

Axial Compressors in Steel Mills

Tony Rubino, Chief Engineer & Director of Compressor Engineering

Tony Rubino is the Product Director of Axial Compressor Engineering Chief Engineer at RMS. He’s been involved in rotating equipment, with a focus on Axial Compressors for 38 years.

Axial Compressors are also found in Steel Mills where they essentially do the same things as in a refinery: provide the motive force to circulate a fluidized bed and provide combustion air in the blast furnace process of iron making.

Axial Compressors represent significant engineering challenges because of the complexity of configuration, the sheer number of parts, and the understanding that the compressor’s operational stability is controlled by downstream process influences. Compressors perform an “unnatural act” such as pushing air “uphill” as opposed to a turbine where the high pressure fluid is allowed to run naturally downhill even though the fluid has to navigate blading trying to extract energy. The task of a compressor is to push fluid against a high pressure source while maintaining uninterrupted forward flow and no backward leakage all while avoiding vibration and stability issues. Other design influences are negating the effects of erosion, corrosion and creating tolerance to process upsets.

Between CONMEC, AC Compressor, and RMS we’ve had opportunity to provide numerous reliability upgrades, maintainability upgrades, rerates, failure investigation and resolution, along with routine overhauls and repairs for RMS compressors and other well-known OEMs.

Steam Turbines in Refining

Sydney Gross, Director Steam Turbine Engineering

Sydney Gross is the Product Director of Steam Turbine Engineering at RMS. Sydney has been involved in rotating equipment, with a focus on Steam Turbines for 32 years.

Steam Turbines are found in Oil Refineries where they act as the prime driver to process compressors. The use of steam is ubiquitous in refineries for various process requirements at different pressures and temperatures. Steam turbines are ideal pressure reducing valves in that they perform the function of letting down steam to lower conditions while extracting useful work in the process. Steam turbines are versatile as well in that they can be designed for a wide range of speeds and can operate at variable speeds to meet process needs.

Steam Turbines represent significant engineering challenges because there are myriad designs by countless manufacturers from over a hundred years of production that the designer needs contend. Compound this with redesigns, upgrades, rerates and modifications that may, or may not have been documented, and one appreciates a view from a small window onto the ingenuity and versatility of the human intellect.

Between CONMEC and RMS we’ve had the opportunity to work on hundreds of Steam Turbines dating back to the 1980s.

Typical work that RMS performs on Steam Turbines ranges from routine rotor inspections to complete machine overhauls to component and flowpath redesign. We do it all.

Nitric Acid Expanders in Fertilizer Plants

Sydney Gross, Director Steam Turbine Engineering

Sydney Gross is the Product Director of Nitric Acid Expander Engineering at RMS. Sydney has been involved in rotating equipment, with a focus on Nitric Acid Expanders for 10 years.

Nitric Acid Expanders are typically found in Fertilizer Plants where they act as a power recovery turbine making power from otherwise waste process heat. In that capacity, they are used as the prime driver in the main air train. The main air train provides the nitrogen component from the ambient air to be combined with hydrogen from natural gas in the process to make nitric acid.

Nitric Acid Expanders represent significant engineering challenges because of the conditions under which they operate. Typical inlet conditions for the expander are approximately 1100 F and 90 psig with an atmospheric exhaust. Material properties vary greatly around this inlet temperature, leading to the incorporation of various alloys throughout the machine. The frequent cycling of the equipment due to process catalyst changeouts imposes challenges to the design and assembly of the components not found in many other rotating machines.

Between CONMEC, AC Compressor, and RMS we’ve had opportunity to work on numerous Nitric Acid Expanders dating back to the 1980s.

The typical workscope for a nitric acid expander includes a complete teardown, inspection and rebuild following necessary repairs. Some common repairs such as rotor disc rework and casing refurbishment are long duration with respect to the typical planned outage. Therefore, most equipment operators maintain a complete spare expander such that the machine in operation can be quickly swapped out with a fresh rebuilt expander.

Centrifugal Compressors in Natural Gas Pressure Boosting

Steve Kaulius, Director Centrifugal Compressors New Business Development

Steve Kaulius is the New Business Development Director of Centrifugal Compressors at RMS. Steve has been involved in rotating equipment, with a focus on Centrifugal Compressors for 21 years.

Compressors are found in Pipeline applications where they are an integral part of the natural gas pipeline network that moves natural gas from individual producing well sites to end users. As natural gas moves through a pipeline, distance, friction, and elevation differences slow the movement of the gas, and reduce pressure. Compressor stations are placed strategically within the gathering and transportation pipeline network to help maintain the pressure and flow of gas to market.

Centrifugal Compressors are used in Pipeline applications to handle high volume flows. A single compressor can be used in place of multiple reciprocating compressors. Centrifugal compressors offer a more compact installation and require significantly less maintenance than the reciprocating compressors. Centrifugal compressors can often run well over 5 years in a clean natural gas pipeline booster application. Some have been known to operate for 15 years and more. Centrifugal compressor performance and size also match well with gas turbine drivers. As pipeline sizes have increased and maintenance budgets decreased the centrifugal compressor has become a major part of the natural gas pipeline booster market.

Because of the high pressures involved in these applications, the high flows and the common use of a single stage of compression, this is a very energy dense application. Pipeline boosters are designed to input up to 40,000 horsepower into a single stage. A great deal of care must be taken to assure that the impeller and other rotating components can withstand the demands. Natural vibration frequencies and excitation frequencies (i.e. those available by vane passing or naturally occurring in the piping systems) must be designed so they do not coincide.

Between CONMEC and RMS, we’ve worked on more than 100 Pipeline Centrifugal Compressors dating back to 1987 (Company history).

Examples of a typical work scope that RMS performs on Centrifugal Compressors includes....

  • Full aerodynamic performance rerates
  • New volutes to address chronic underperformance
  • Dry gas seal retrofits
  • Oil seal upgrades and replacements
  • Plain & Thrust bearing upgrades & replacements
  • Component bolting redesigns
  • Field overhaul
  • Shop overhaul – complete machines
  • Rotor phase 1 & 2 inspections and repairs
  • Impeller replacements, including to address mechanical issues
  • Engineering studies to identify root causes of failures or other chronic issues

RMS International Safety In The Field

Chot Smith, Director Field Services

A culture of safety knows no bounds.

Earlier this year, RMS managed the onsite turnaround of an FCC power recovery train and a wet gas compressor train at a refinery for an international customer in Wales, UK. RMS Engineering and Field Technical Supervisor staff were in the field to witness and manage the turnaround project where they directed staff to ensure a quality result. In addition to the expected safety requirements of a turnaround environment, the RMS staff had to satisfy a host of additional COVID-19 precautions that strictly controlled the team’s movements for the duration of the turnaround.

RMS contracted and directed 26 Millwrights, bringing the total effort to a staff of 32 people. Despite increased regulations, the project remained on schedule with minimal delays.

RMS is no stranger to critical safety directives, but the additional safety scope associated with an international trip during a global pandemic lockdown added a new layer of unique requirements.

Safety glasses, fire retardant coveralls, safety shoes, impact-resistant gloves, H₂S monitors, and earplugs are all part of the normal PPE for an onsite rotating machinery turnaround. Once you hit the deck, each of these items works to keep you safe from harm; in the time of COVID-19, this usual equipment was not enough.

Preparing for a turnaround operation in the field requires months of planning to gather required personnel, tooling, and documentation. Beyond the detailed project schedule and gigabytes of drawing data, these operations are driven by skilled craftspeople who work in a potentially dangerous situation. Thankfully, strict safety guidelines are in place, which is augmented by training to ensure everyone gets home safely. After performing numerous field service operations, these safety standards start to become second nature, but COVID-19 added a new layer of complexity.

COVID-19 precautions have changed every aspect of life, and RMS Field Service support is no exception. Add in the additional complexity of international travel, and the RMS team was ready to enter uncharted waters. Before shipping off to Wales, each RMS team member took a COVID-19 test and presented a negative result before boarding the plane to Heathrow Airport in London.

Once the turnaround started, the RMS team was only allowed to enter the refinery to oversee the turnaround and was then restricted to their hotel rooms due to in-country COVID-19 laws. This restricted access put the team into a strict routine. Masks were mandated at the refinery and during car rides to and from the hotel.

Local law dictated that when driving in a car with non-family members, all passengers must be masked with the windows rolled down a quarter way. All restaurants were takeout only, which included the canteen at the refinery. All non-essential stores were closed and supermarkets were not able to sell non-essential goods like clothing.

The restricted travel and increased safety precautions meant the RMS team split their time between the refinery and the confines of their hotel rooms. Upon completion of the turnaround, the team went straight to Heathrow Airport in London to depart for home. A mask was required for the duration of this intercontinental journey. Upon arriving home, the team did a 10-day quarantine before returning to the office and everyday life.

When working in the shop or field, the RMS commitment to safety remains the same. Although different environments may require specific levels of PPE governed by standard operating procedures, a culture of safety knows no bounds. Whether it's a requirement for steel toe boots and a fire suit to step onto the deck, or a facemask required by COVID-19 precautions, safety is our number one priority. Beyond the rules we commit to, a focus on safe practices drives RMS to produce quality results without unnecessary risk.

Turbo Toons

Marc Rubino, Quality Manager



1. Fir tree slot // 2. Pi tape // 3. Dummy bearing // 4. Tie bolt // 5. Thrust collar lock nuts // 6. Balance piston // 7. Dove tail slot

New Hires

Dan Jones, Director, International Sales — Dan joins RMS as the Director of International Sales with 40+ years of rotating equipment experience. Dan started his career at Dresser-Rand after achieving a BSME (University of Pennsylvania). From Dresser-Rand, Dan moved on to become the President of Man Turbomachinery. After Man Turbomachinery, Dan was Vice President of Sales at Vetco Gray. He then moved on to TechnipFMC Stone & Webster Process Technology as a Rotating Machinery Specialist. Dan conclude his time at TechnipFMC as the Chief Engineer and Senior Director of Quality. RMS looks forward to having Dan onboard to work with our international customer base.

Gregory RamirezMechanic (Houston) — With 30+ years of experience, Gregory joins the RMS Houston shop team as a mechanic. Gregory has 20+ years of experience working as a Machinist with ExxonMobil before moving on to other rotating machinery-focused organizations. Gregory has experience with very tight tolerances on manual lathe equipment as well as repairing rotating machinery. RMS is excited to have Gregory onboard to share his experience with the RMS organization.

Oren Nelson, Jr.Mechanic (Houston) — Oren joins RMS as a Mechanic with 39+ years of rotating machinery experience. Before joining RMS, Oren most recently spent 6 years honing his skills in the balancing of compressor and turbinesections for industrial engines. Oren started his career in rotating machinery as an aircraft engine mechanic where he completed repairs and overhauls on aircraft jet engines. From there, Oren worked as a QC Inspector and Accessory Technician, which lead him to achieve and hold his Class 3 Inspector Certification for the last 15 years. RMS welcomes Oren and looks forward to his positive impact on future projects.

Paul CambianoMechanic (Houston) —Paul brings a wealth of knowledge specific to the repair and overhaul of pumps to the RMS Houston Shop team, having worked on pumps both in the field and in shop settings. Paul’s experience with both ISO9001 and API-610 aligns with the RMS commitment to quality and providing customers with superior results.

Joseph FortenberryMechanic (Houston)  — Joe joins RMS with 16 years of rotating machinery experience. Joe started his career working on rotating equipment repairs and overhauls in shop and field settings for Universal Plant Services. From there, Joe joined Total Industrial Specialty Services where he supervised the troubleshooting, technical support, and repair of high-speed rotating equipment including turbines, pumps, and extruders both in the field and in a shop environment. RMS welcomes Joe to the team.

Eric Frieze, Repair Engineer (Houston) — Eric has 20+ years of experience in the service and support of a wide range of rotating equipment as a consultant, design engineer, plant engineer, and rotating equipment engineer. His most recent assignment was Senior Rotating Equipment Engineer with Integrated Power Systems in Houston. Eric holds a BSME (Missouri Southern State University).

Jonathan Moss, Human Resources Manager (Bethlehem) — Jon joins RMS with a Bachelor of Science in Labor and Employment Relations (Rutgers University). Jon started his career as a Logistics Executive Team Leader for Target where he gained valuable experience coaching and focusing on performance management for a large team. From there, Jon moved on to Genesis HealthCare as a Payroll and Scheduling Manager. Most recently, Jon worked as the Human Resources Manager for Genesis Rehab services, where he focused on employee relations and policy optimization. RMS looks forward to adding Jon to our HR team.

Pictured: Jon Moss, HR Manager

Remembering Marc Granger

December 24, 1966 - May 29, 2021

From Marc's family:

"Marc is the best husband, father, son, and friend that we have ever known. His love of family and friends will continue even after his sudden passing. We will miss him each day but will continue to live each day to the fullest just as he did.

Our hearts will forever be broken but we know Marc is with God and truly at peace knowing his wife survived to raise Luke, Rebecca, and Max. Marc lived by example and showed respect, integrity, and kindness to everyone he met. He was very loyal and if he said he was going to do something you know he would do it. Marc was hard working and the first one to offer help when someone was in need. His love for aviation was only second to the love of his family and both made his life full. Marc loved flying and was a natural pilot. Marc's legacy will continue on through his family and children.

Marc is survived by wife Mary, children Luke, Rebecca, and Max. Also survived by his loving parents Lawrence and Sue, brother Monty and wife Debby, his aunt Debby and husband Scott, and aunt Betty.

We will forever miss you Marc."

Contact Us

Phone: 484-821-0702

Corporate Office: 2760 Baglyos Circle, Bethlehem, PA 18020

Houston Office: 16676 Northchase Drive, Suite 400, Houston, TX 77077

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