A letter from our CEO
Q2 2020 has been a dynamic environment that has highlighted how adaptable our industry is to rapid change.
Although RMS is limiting our physical presence in our offices with a focus on the lives of others, that has not diminished our impact. The safety of the RMS community is our main focus, which is why our 2020 Q2 "The Finish Line" newsletter is an all-digital release.
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We may not be able to shake hands or physically connect at trade show events, but our arsenal of digital communication tools means we are able to remain united.
Although we are limiting our human contact, that does not mean we’ve had to limit our human impact.
This quarter, the RMS team made the decision to have most of our office-based workforce transition to working at home in light of the coronavirus. Although our team members are long-distance communication veterans, such a large shift took a great deal of work from internal stakeholders who persevered to ensure RMS was able to maintain our critical role in servicing the essential businesses that keep our nation functioning.
This shift saw the rapid innovation of our internal processes and the maximization of our various digital communication tools to continue to provide our customers with uninterrupted service. Our team has quickly adapted to new communication practices that ensure our shop personnel are in communication with our digital workforce. The communication tools at our disposal enable us to make positive impacts every day while maintaining connections with the RMS community we value so greatly.
Although we miss seeing our RMS family every day at work, we are more united than ever because we understand what is at stake. RMS is privileged to service critical machinery that helps power essential businesses in the oil and gas, food, plastics, and manufacturing industries, which are critical to our capacity to overcome the impact of the coronavirus.
In these trying times, the light of innovation shines.
RMS’ team is here to serve you, and although our office footprint has now expanded to the homes of our dedicated employees scattered across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Texas, and Wisconsin, we are dedicated more than ever to deliver quality from start to finish.
— John Bartos, CEO
P.S. All images contained herein depicting individuals not wearing a mask or practicing social distancing were taken before implementation of current health and safety protocols.
RMS and the NDTL Enter into Agreement for Testing of Rotating Equipment
John Bartos, CEO • Dirk Paraschos, Vice President Operations - Houston
Houston, June 2020 – RMS and the Notre Dame Turbomachinery Laboratory (NDTL) have entered into an agreement for the NDTL to provide testing services for equipment refurbished and redesigned by RMS. According to John Bartos, RMS CEO:
“This partnership is a significant step forward in RMS’ vision to be the premier aftermarket services solution for the widest range of turbomachinery customers. The ability to offer our clients the option of running their equipment on a test stand after repairs or upgrades can provide a level of security and confidence that is not currently typical in the industry.”
Given the vast capabilities of the NDTL, the partnership will enable testing of a full range of service offerings, including:
- single-stage and multistage centrifugal compressors,
- axial compressors,
- and steam turbines.
Given the vast capabilities of the NDTL, the partnership will enable testing of a full range of service offerings.
A Lifelong Passion
An afternoon of collaborative learning with RMS and the NDTL
Dirk Paraschos, Vice President Operations - Houston
Representatives from the NDTL spent the afternoon at RMS to educate the RMS engineering team on the various capabilities of their facility. This deep dive proved vital for the RMS team to utilize this new partnership to its fullest potential. The presentation—given by Scott Morris, Research Director of NDTL—guided the team through the history, capabilities, and aspirations of the NDTL.
Morris covered the NDTL capabilities in detail, explaining all of the possible testing opportunities present in their 3-to-10 MW multi-test cell facility. With the ability to control parameters with a unique level of precision, the NDTL will be ideal for testing RMS’ engineered rotating machinery. The unique data acquisition system at the NDTL gives RMS engineers the information needed to assess a tested component—or complete machine—to the highest level of detail.
The passionate staff at the NDTL is focused on creating the future of rotating machinery, with a heavy focus on engineered excellence and leveraging innovative ideas.
This culture naturally blends with the engineering-driven culture of RMS, where rotating machinery in more than a job—it's a lifelong passion.
This complementary partnership also offers Notre Dame’s students the unique opportunity to work with RMS’ experienced engineers on the cutting edge of rotating machinery engineering. The blending of these passionate teams promises to yield incredible advantages for RMS customers.
Scott Morris is a founding member of the NDTL who helped design and construct the facility. He currently directs multiple research projects focused on rotating machinery. His passion and vision for the future of this exciting field dovetails with RMS’ core values and competencies. Morris received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan State University and currently conducts a host of research projects on acoustics and turbulence in rotating machinery.
Supporting Essential Industries During an Emergency Turnaround
RMS delivers a solution for an expedited, unplanned turnaround event in under a week for a pharmaceutical chemical customer.
Ryan Rottier, Product Director ACC-CC • Thomas Devlin, Project Management • Allan Mathis, Principal Engineer • Nick Schneider, Account Manager
A pharmaceutical chemical customer experienced an emergency breakdown of their AC Compressor DH4R single-stage overhung compressor during an overspeed event that caused a complete shutdown of the plant. RMS received a call from the customer and immediately got to work, scheduling 24 hours of continuous support at RMS' South Houston MEPCO shop. RMS was able to leverage its experienced AC Compressor team to provide expertise and overcome this challenge.
The result was an expedited, unplanned turnaround event that saw RMS delivering the completed project in under a week.
RMS was notified of the breakdown the Saturday before Easter and the unit arrived on site at the RMS MEPCO shop the following Monday. Representatives from the shop and engineering team were already engaged during the weekend despite the holiday, generating work instructions and gathering critical information so work could start on Monday without delay. The RMS team planned to work continuously on this emergency turnaround with two 12-hour shifts working to ensure RMS was able to meet the one-week turnaround delivery date.
In addition to RMS’ quick response time, much of the timely delivery can be attributed to the customer’s diligent stocking of replacement parts; RMS had worked with the customer beforehand to ensure they were properly stocked with spare parts. Since the customer had all of the correct spare parts in optimal condition, the RMS team did not have to place any last-minute rush orders which would've caused a greater lead time in the completion of the emergency overhaul.
After the removal of spent parts, the customer opted to have RMS inspect their components. Based on the findings, RMS will be able to restock the customer’s spares inventory to ensure they are ready to properly maintain their compressor or supply for an emergency event such as this.
This compressor was in operation for two years since its last overhaul before the overspeed event caused the untimely outage. It was determined that, during operation, acetic acid entered the system and hit the compressor with liquid, resulting in an overspeed of the compressor. The overspeed caused the open-faced impeller to rub against the shroud ring resulting in this failure.
RMS is honored to work with customers that help maintain the global critical infrastructure. We are especially proud to support a customer that supplies the medical industry, especially in these critical times. This particular customer uses their AC Compressor DH4R single-stage overhung compressor in the manufacture of chemicals used in a large variety of products including PVC and medical equipment.
Turnaround Success Delivered Ahead of Schedule
Chet Crawford, Design Engineer • David Owens, Project Manager
In February 2020, RMS performed a turnaround on a centrifugal compressor used for isobutene/alkylation refrigeration service at its facility in Bethlehem, PA. This turnaround was scheduled for a duration of two weeks, but thanks to the RMS team's diligent work to overcome hurdles and find clever solutions, the team was able to deliver the completed turnaround two days ahead of schedule.
This centrifugal compressor was a Carrier unit rerated by CONMEC in the early 1990s and again in the early 2000s. The RMS team was able to review the drawings and physical inspection forms on file for this unit created by CONMEC in the two previous operations. This documentation was invaluable to the engineering team, who was able to reference these documents during the preparation and execution of this turnaround activity.
In addition to the components captured in the CONMEC drawings, the RMS team was able to reverse engineer components of this compressor that were not previously supported by CONMEC during previous outages. This included the ISO-carbon process seal housings, stage-one impeller eye labyrinth, seal/bearing labyrinths, endplate labyrinth, and wiper rings. The component's composition was confirmed through RMS’ XRF analyzer. The reverse engineering was completed with the help of engineering and drafting during the turnaround and did not impact the timeline in the slightest. RMS is now able to fully support this compressor in the future and add these new components to the RMS files ready for use in future operations.
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During the turnaround operation, the RMS team overcame several obstacles thanks to the dedication of our team, who ran two 12-hour shifts for the duration of the turnaround.
The outer casing required a large amount of weld repair due to several indications identified during the inspection. The RMS team also noticed the thrust bearing housing was no longer parallel with the centerline of the compressor. To mitigate this anomaly, the team shimmed the bottom half of the bearing housing. With the fix in place, parallelism was confirmed through bluing the shaft to the journal bearing sleeves. Uniform blue contact was seen along the length of the bearing sleeves thus confirming a successful repair.
Lastly, the team reworked the compressor mounting bolt holes utilizing RMS’ machining capabilities to accommodate compressor alignment issues in the refinery.
RMS’ project management team was on hand for the duration of the turnaround to provide the customer with daily updates on the team’s progress and host customer representatives. The Project Manager worked together with the shop, engineering, procurement, and the customer to facilitate an early delivery.
Mentorship in Action
Tony Rubino, Chief Engineer / Director - Compressor Engineering • Behzad Abdollahi, Lead Engineer • James Cardillo, Structural Analyst • Hermes Galatis, Structural Analyst
Mentorship is a critical component of RMS’ culture of rotating machinery excellence. RMS is home to some of the most seasoned professionals in the rotating machinery industry who enjoy decades of experience honing their craft. Although proficiency in work is a source of happiness nothing matches the joy of mentoring a new member in your field. Today we have two stories of mentorship in action where the mentor and mentored were kind enough to answer questions about their experiences working together.
Mentorship in Action: Tony and Behzad
Tony and Behzad are RMS’s Axial Compressor Engineering duo working together to deliver the highest quality of Axial Compressor engineering. Behzad Abdollahi (BA) joined RMS a little over two years ago to work with Tony Rubino (TR), an experienced veteran of RMS’s engineering team. Behzad’s interest in learning more about Axial Compressor Engineering coupled with Tony’s teaching aptitude has resulted in an inspiring mentoring relationship.
How long have you worked together?
- 2 years and 2 months
Where did you work prior to RMS?
- TR: Pratt & Whitney, GE Aircraft Engines, GE Industrial Gas Turbines, CONMEC.
- BA: LobePro Rotary Pumps and Texas A&M Turbomachinery Lab
How long have you been at RMS?
- TR: An epoch of discovery and challenge. Around 15 ½ years.
- BA: 2 years and 2 months
What is your current job title and what are your main work functions?
- TR: Chief Engineer, Director of Compressor Engineering. Provide support to the overall engineering organization. Lead the axial compressor product business in all technical and commercial activities.
- BA: Lead Engineer. Detail inspection scopes, detail repair scopes, (re)design components, perform RCFA (root cause failure analysis), FEA, assist in re-rate studies
What have you learned while working together?
- TR: After living this business for as long as I have, it is too easy to continue to do things as in the past. Behzad has brought a fresh viewpoint and challenges me for which I am grateful.
- BA: I have learned so much, not only about axial compressors, but turbomachinery in general. Tony spends the time to explain things thoroughly, and gets me involved with other product lines whenever there is an interesting engineering problem, which I appreciate.
Have they impacted your career aspirations?
- TR: Absolutely. I keep telling Behzad he is my heir apparent because it is true, but mostly because that phrase makes him panic and silently groan. Yes, I do have a sadistic streak. Seriously, I know that when I retire, the product line will be in good hands. I will be able to relax and work hard at fishing and matching wits with the squirrels that abuse my bird feeders.
- BA: Yes, he is a great manager and mentor. I’ve been learning that technical knowledge is only part of being a good engineer and there are many more aspects such as communication, negotiation, delegation, etc.
Favorite story or an interesting fact about the person?
- TR: When Behz first started at RMS, I seriously doubted he had a sense of humor. I am glad to report we found it and continue to develop it. The best is when he makes an interesting discovery or develops a new design. He gets almost giddy.
- BA: He always has a line from a classic movie that applies to any situation – Lord of the Rings quotes are my favorite.
What do you admire about their work?
- TR: Behzad is thoughtful, courteous, methodical, and genuinely interested in what he does. When he understands the design intent, his work is exceptional. He truly “thinks outside of the box”. He is passionate about design and continues to willingly endure writing inspection reports.
- BA: He is very busy, but composed and he approaches challenges with a sense of humor.
What is your favorite thing you’ve learned from them?
- TR: He brings competence, energy, and shareable enthusiasm to the task. The challenges can wear one down so that passion is a great infusion. We’ve been fortunate at RMS in that quality of passion is part of the culture in our next generation of leaders.
- BA: Sometimes when you don’t immediately have a solution for a problem, let it sit on the back burner for a while and the solution will present itself.
Favorite sayings or catchphrases?
- TR: There is a phrase I share with Behzad and the entire axial compressor design team. “I have the utmost faith in you.” It usually applies when I am asked how to get some software to do a magic trick. I mean the phrase to be interpreted as: I don’t know, you get to figure it out, let me know if you need any resources. I get interesting responses. I believe Behzad has stopped asking me those kinds of questions.
- BA: “One alligator at a time.”
Mentorship in Action: Hermes and James
James Cardillo (JC) joins RMS as a Structural Analyst excited to further his career in rotating machinery. As James comes up to speed on RMS’ procedures, Hermes Galatis (HG)—an experienced Structural Analyst—is mentoring James. The dynamic team offers a unique set of combined experiences to both learn how to further their craft and positively impact the RMS Community.
How long have you worked together?
- JC: About 5 months
- HG: I have worked with James since he started at RMS, in the last quarter of 2019. It may not seem a long time that we know each other, but with his personality and character, we forged an almost immediate excellent professional and personal relationship. I quickly realized that despite his being in a new environment, as well as having to deal with a highly engineered product line, James required very little direction. I could also tell that he absorbed information from interacting with the different disciplines that constitute RMS (design, product managers and specialists, drafting, manufacturing and shop, project, etc.) besides our very specialized but limited niche. This facilitated the fleshing out of what was important and how to proceed. I should hasten to add that the underpinnings of our professional relationship is our mutual commonality of purpose and the sharing of a very similar "philosophy" and parallel paths toward the work execution. For several reasons, our work can be extremely difficult at times, stressful, and seemingly fraught with major obstacles. A partnership with James surely helps a lot.
Where did you work prior to RMS?
- JC: HYDAC Technology Corporation
- HG: I have a total of 45 years of experience in the Stress/Structural Analysis and Design Field of Turbomachinery, large industrial Equipment (cement plants, earth moving and cranes) and Wind Turbine bearings, specialized high-speed rolling element bearing software development, etc. For the past 21 years I have occupied myself as an independent contractor, loosely affiliated with three wonderful Engineers at J. V. Poplawski and Associates. Going back in years, before that I worked for: RMS, Inc. (yes, as a new start-up in the turbomachinery business); CONMEC, Inc. (turbomachinery); Ingersoll-Rand Pump Group (reciprocating pumps); Ingersoll-Rand Turbo Division (turbomachinery); Pratt & Whitney Aircraft, Florida Research and Development Center (military engines); and Pratt & Whitney Aircraft, Commercial Engines Division.
How long have you been at RMS?
- HG: Besides the one year and a half at the very inception of RMS at the Nazareth, PA offices, I've been presently employed as a contractor for about one year (10 months to be more precise.)
- JC: About 5 months after joining RMS in January of 2019
What is your current job title and what are your main work functions?
- HG: I am a Sr. Stress Analyst and as such, I've been given a few projects. They are/were a Steam Turbine high-speed re-rate, Steam Turbine failure analysis and re-design, Steam Turbine failure casing containment, and miscellaneous work in an Axial Compressor re-design. In addition, it was my responsibility to attend certain meetings, and whenever possible and necessary to help in the Structural Analysis effort.
- JC: Structural Analyst: I perform structural finite element analysis to support various product groups at RMS.
What have you learned while working with this individual?
- HG: James is a very dynamic, intelligent and competent professional, and as such has a lot to offer. As an example, in witnessing some of the work he was doing on a high-speed Centrifugal Compressor impeller, I was challenged to dust off some long ago technical knowledge I had buried in my head, and not only refresh it and bring it to fore, but also to learn new details that I wasn't aware of before. As a bonus, I was able to apply it to a project I was working on at the time. Note: If anyone is interested, I am talking about high-stress plastic behavior and its influence on metal fatigue life.
- JC: It doesn’t matter how fancy or high-tech modern software is, the “driver” is always the one who can make a good or bad analysis.
Have they impacted your career aspirations?
- HG: For someone like myself who is forever dipping a couple of toes in the retirement lagoon, career aspirations are few. I have to say, though, that interacting with James challenged me and infused me with some of his dynamism.
- JC: Yes. I can see that being an analyst is a long term journey and it has reassured me to see that there is a lot of depth and knowledge to be gained in an analyst career, especially at a time when I fear that software vendors want to replace thinking engineers with software that “does everything”.
Favorite story or an interesting fact about the person?
- HG: James is an accomplished single gear bicycle track racer and if memory serves me right, it is associated with the Trexlertown velodrome. He undergoes some grueling training and . . . he drinks a lot of beetle beet juice. He has a lot of "quick-twitch" muscle fibers, but he's trying to develop more "slow-twitch" ones.
- JC: Hermes has Greek heritage but grew up in Brazil. He has shared many interesting stories about his childhood in Brazil as well as stories and lessons learned from his early career. My favorite story has to be one in which a software developer tried to advertise very expensive software to him that would “solve all his problems.” I have also been put in this situation in my career so I could relate to his story. Hermes had enough knowledge and “backbone” to know exactly what he needed and what was best for the company, so he didn’t fall into the trap of purchasing unnecessary things. This is a really important lesson for dedicated analysts. Throughout their career, analysts will always encounter software vendors trying to sell them the “next best thing”. There are many great software programs out there, but the key message is that it doesn’t matter: it all comes down to the analyst knowing exactly what he/she needs to obtain the answers. An extremely knowledgeable analyst with old or less “fancy” software will almost always produce better results than an inexperienced analyst with the fanciest new program. By analogy: Hermes doesn’t need a Ferrari to win a race. This is what separates a real analyst from someone who is at the mercy of the software.
What do you admire about their (his) work?
- HG: I very much admire his thoroughness, care, and preoccupation towards getting a "correct" answer by using a sound methodological approach to a problem. This is something I thought I always strived for whenever at all possible. I consider these elements essential to our trade.
- JC: I admire that Hermes isn’t easily discouraged or “wowed” by fancy bells and whistles. In his work, Hermes sticks to fundamental principles and applies them, regardless of how complicated the task may be. Hermes also taught me how to use older and newer versions of the same software to produce the same results. This is important because it reinforced the underlying principals behind the analysis and made me less reliant on specific software. When going through an exercise like this, the finite element software becomes less of a “black box.” There is no “magic” behind the scenes. If something doesn’t make sense, it probably isn’t right.
Unexpected wisdom? Doesn’t have to be about work.
- HG: Alas, the wisdom of youth, not possible to re-acquire it in toto, but only to behold it and borrow some of it.
- JC: Hermes is able to accurately predict the amount of M&Ms in a jar. :)
Favorite sayings or catchphrases?
- HG: James is Italian. Do I need to say more? As a fellow Mediterraneanite, I've long ago learned to detect an endearing devilish quality of my Italian acquaintances (my first boss at Ingersoll-Rand, Ralph Yorio, to whom I owe a lot, is Italian.) James is generally very focused at the task at hand, so the quality I speak of is not often displayed. About a month after we met, we were having a lighthearted conversation about some topic about which I don't recall any details. All of a sudden, probably due to some prompting of mine, his eyes lit up and he blurted out, "bada bing, bada boom!" Oh yes...
- JC: Hermes wasn’t really the type of person that had a lot of “catch” phrases, or perhaps I didn’t know him long enough yet to pick up on it. He approaches everything with a healthy, appropriate degree of humor and professionalism.
The learning culture at RMS means mentorship is woven into the fabric of our business. The willingness of our employees to share their expertise allows RMS to be a home for turbomachinery learning and passion as experiences. Here at RMS learnings are passed along every day as we work together to grow in our careers and as people. These valuable human connections are the guiding force of RMS’ future and one of the best parts about coming to work.
Collaborative Training Session in Alberta
Attendees learned from RMS experts with years of experience, and each other, during full-day sessions.
Andy Jansen, Regional Sales Manager • Chris Okula, Marketing Specialist • Steve Kaulius, Director/CC New Business Development • Sydney Gross, Director Steam Turbine Engineering • John O'Connor, Director of International Service Development
In February, a group of RMS employees traveled to Calgary and then Edmonton, Alberta, Canada to conduct two full-day training sessions focused on turbomachinery design, operation, and maintenance. The RMS presenters spent an entire day sharing their knowledge and connecting with attendees on specific questions throughout the two days.
RMS chose to hold these all-day training events in close proximity to our customers, which allowed more people to engage with the sessions. The strong turnout to both sessions saw our meeting rooms filled to capacity with a group of dedicated rotating machinery experts who worked together to share knowledge and further the field that we deeply care for. It was especially inspiring to see the large group of next-generation engineers, who fielded many of our session’s thought-provoking questions.
RMS Presentation Team
Each presenter took the opportunity to share real-world, examples from their extensive careers. These proved a key training tool that allowed the presenters to further explain the principles of rotating machinery with tangible scenarios. Attendees also provided experiences that allowed the group to speak together about solutions they’ve used in the past to overcome various obstacles.
In addition to RMS’ presenters, our channel partners from Blackstone were on site to share their capabilities and how this factors into RMS’ Canadian presence. The Blackstone presenters were able to share information about their experienced staff and well-appointed shop location where RMS is capable of performing critical machinery repairs under the supervision of an RMS engineer.
Sharing Expertise in the Time of COVID-19
Jeff King, NE US Account Manager • Chris Okula, Marketing Specialist
In light of the recent COVID-19 restrictions, RMS was able to pivot a planned in-person lunch-and-learn to a digital format. Although the RMS team was unable to gather with the customer in person, this valuable meeting was a perfect example of our industry’s ability to adapt to a changing landscape. Thanks to reliable meeting software, a dedicated team, and a well-constructed PowerPoint, the RMS team was still able to provide this essential training.
In addition to the livestream presentation, RMS supplied digital workbooks containing all of the slides and reference information. This document allowed the customer to continue to learn after the session had ended. In addition to a digital copy of the presentation, RMS supplied redacted versions of past RMS inspection reports to demonstrate RMS’ detailed QC documentation practices in action.
With the use of RMS’ digital meeting capabilities, our team was able to continue critical customer conversations. Our team’s ability to share their passion for rotating machinery in a digital format is a key offering for all meetings and we look forward to hosting future sessions.
Organized, Protected, Customized
Mark Koerner, Vice President - AC Compressor Business
RMS spare parts kit box services offer customers an organized, protected, and customized solution to store and manage their spare parts inventory. These tailored kit boxes facilitate the optimal management of spare parts ensuring the correct part is easy to find and in the proper condition for use. The RMS team utilizes engineering expertise and experience managing customer’s spare parts inventory to build the bespoke kit box solution for your application.
Before the kit box design process can start, the RMS commercial team works to understand the type of kit box that a customer prefers. Options range from a metal job site toolbox to a Pelican-style protective case for water and airtight storage.
Next, RMS works with the customer to choose exactly what parts to store in the customized kit box. Spare parts stored can range from complete bearings or bearing parts, seal components, gaskets and o rings, fasteners, couplings, or any other critical spare part and tooling required for the turbomachinery overhaul.
The kit box design process starts with our RMS design team along with qualified suppliers to layout the configuration of the parts within the box to maximize utilization of the space. Kit boxes are custom-designed for a customer’s exact needs. The inserts are made specifically for the dimensions of the items to be stored and the parts are clearly labeled with the name and part number. RMS also includes the applicable assembly drawing and bill of material to assure that the correct parts are available when needed.
In addition to protecting and organizing spare parts, an additional benefit of kitting critical spare parts and tooling is the ease with which they can be managed. Following a turnaround, the entire box can be returned to our RMS facility for inventory, inspection, and replenishment for the next overhaul event. In addition, RMS can offer storage options for customer kit boxes. The efficient management and replenishing of critical spare parts mean customers can easily manage critical spares promptly.
Kit box size and composition are adaptable to customer requests thanks to the flexibility of our design team and qualified suppliers. Size is only limited by the ability to handle the box. They are designed to be maneuvered by forklifts or lifted to their point of use on the job site compressor deck. Boxes can optionally support features such as humidity monitoring, airtight, and watertight design elements to ensure the stability of stored components.
Kit boxes give peace of mind knowing that all of the required spare parts are on hand, inspected for quality, and available in one place. It simplifies parts management.
Nitric Acid Expanders
Sydney Gross, Director Steam Turbine Engineering
RMS’ decades of experience supporting multi-OEM nitric acid expanders are key to offering industry-leading engineered solutions. Nitric acid expanders are critical pieces of machinery that undergo punishing conditions during operation, making it crucial that all repair and maintenance work is conducted with the highest quality. RMS understands what is required to keep nitric acid expanders running at peak performance. Our extensive service intervals, experience, and attention to detail are essential to a successful build-and-run.
Thanks to a deep catalog of engineering expertise and stock of advanced hardware and software, RMS offers its engineered solutions for all expander nameplates. RMS is not a replicator. Our work is backed by sound engineering practices and fundamental knowledge of turbomachinery. Each manufacturer has its own designs and every expander is designed for its specific application. The ability to reverse engineer components and complete machines allows RMS to support the industry with our engineered solutions tailored specifically for every expander.
Overhaul and Engineered Repairs
With an experienced team of assembly mechanics, balance techs, machinists, and welders lead by our engineers, RMS can complete vital repairs needed to overhaul nitric acid expanders. RMS offers repairs on all components, including inner and outer casings, rotors, stators, and seals as well as specialty curvic grinding. Expert rotor and machine assembly complete RMS’ portfolio of nitric acid expander repair offerings. Before implementing a repair or modification, RMS can inspect and analyze components to determine a reliable and cost-effective solution. Using advanced inspection and scanning tools, experienced QC personnel gather critical data that allows our engineers and designers to recommend repairs and replacements to keep expanders running at peak reliability and efficiency.
Analysis, Upgrades, and Rerates
RMS leverages its advanced engineering capabilities to analyze, rerate, and upgrade existing Nitric Acid Expanders to better match ever-changing customer needs. Thanks to experienced engineers and cutting-edge modeling software in the disciplines of aerodynamic, thermodynamic, structural, vibration, metallurgical, and rotordynamic analysis, RMS can modify the power, flow, and speed of an existing expander and offer material improvements. RMS can also provide failure and remaining life analyses.
RMS is capable of providing nitric acid turnaround support—both in the shop and in the field—lead by an experienced RMS Field Supervisor to oversee the operation. We offer assistance during every phase of a turnaround, starting at the early stages of planning, daily reporting, and progress through final commissioning and start-up.
RMS is committed to accessibility and responsiveness. Customers can contact any of our sales force, engineers, and project managers to get a quick response. RMS is here to serve all of your nitric acid expander needs with our commitment to quality-engineered repairs leading the way.
RMS’ South Houston MEPCO Shop
Robert Tabb, General Manager • Matt Miller, Director - Houston Operations
RMS’ South Houston MEPCO Shop continues to be a critical growth center for RMS’ traditional offering of critical turbomachinery repair while offering customers an expanded portfolio of services. The depth of the RMS MEPCO shop’s expertise and breadth of experience has expanded RMS’ footprint and capabilities for our industry-leading engineered repairs.
The shop spans 67,000 sq-ft of air-conditioned space, home to a specialized workforce of rotating machinery experts. With a 50-ton crane capacity and full machine shop, RMS MEPCO has the in-house capacity to augment RMS’ robust supply chain to handle jobs of any size and complexity. RMS MEPCO boasts low-speed balance capabilities to exacting tolerances with capacity up to 40,000 lbs. For fabrication or weld repair, we use our experienced welders certified in metals ranging from A-36 plate up to Grade 7 Titanium. On-site blasting, third-party NDT, and a compressor clean room make the RMS MEPCO shop the premier destination for rotating machinery excellence.
Compressors: We draw on decades of multi-OEM compressor experience from both shop personnel and dedicated engineers. RMS’ hands-on engineering approach is a cornerstone of the compressor work taking place at the RMS MEPCO shop. With the capacity to work on large axial, centrifugal, and oil free screw compressors, the RMS MEPCO shop taps into decades of RMS engineering experience. The RMS MEPCO shop also works on reciprocating, sealless diaphragm, process gas, liquid ring, and flare gas compressors.
Pumps: The shop has dedicated areas specific for the repair and overhaul of multi-OEM pumps. Staffed with decades of pump experience, these mechanical specialists spend their days crafting pumps of all configurations. Our team works on vertical, horizontally split, reciprocating, overhung, slurry, pipeline, quench oil, positive displacement, DWE salt circulators, and multi-stage pumps. RMS MEPCO is also home to a team of Sundyne pump experts with more than 20 years of experience upgrading and repairing these units.
Centrifuges: Centrifuges have been part of the MEPCO portfolio for more than 30 years, and our experienced team offers RMS’ quality service for all your centrifuge needs. Our team works on batch type, density separators, disc stacked, and vertical and horizontal decanters of all makes and models.
Steam Turbines: The RMS MEPCO shop offers engineered repairs and overhauls of steam turbines from all OEMs. The shop is able to accommodate steam turbines of any size—from 50 to 20,000 hp. In addition to the overhaul and repair of steam turbines, RMS MEPCO can maintain and repair trip and throttle valves offering solutions that ensure your entire system is running at peak performance.
Valves: In addition to trip and throttle valves, RMS MEPCO works on double block-and-bleed valves from all OEMs.
Mixers and Thin Film Evaporators: RMS MEPCO provides multi-OEM support for mixers and thin film evaporators, including vertical and horizontal designs. All configurations of mixers and blending equipment are supported, as well as high and low-speed gearboxes. The shop offers stacking pits and crane rail heights for these specific products.
Blowers: Multi-OEM blower support based at the RMS MEPCO shop provides quality-engineered blower repairs and overhauls. RMS can service several blower types which include centrifugal, lobe, vacuum pumps, forced draft fans, over-hung, and between bearing.
Turnarounds: The RMS MEPCO shop is conveniently located in South Houston and ready to serve our customers with timely turnaround services. Our experienced engineering team and seasoned shop staff understand what it takes to complete a turnaround on critical rotating machinery and use their years of experience to produce the quality results RMS is known for.
Going Beyond Repair
Solving a design flaw through innovative engineering on a NASH HP-9 compressor.
Robert Tabb, General Manager • Allan Mathis, Principal Engineer
RMS MEPCO has had a long history of repairs and engineered upgrades to all makes and models of liquid ring compressors. A liquid ring compressor is a positive displacement device which uses a “liquid ring” to form the compression chamber seal. Gas enters the compressor through the suction side, water enters through a nozzle in the top of the compressor or end of the compressor (depending on model), trapped gas in the compression chamber created by the impeller and the water (liquid ring) reduces in volume. The rotation of the impeller vanes, along with the liquid ring, compresses the gas which exits through the discharge port. Most liquid ring compressors have an “eccentric” section in the case which enhances the compression of the gas with each revolution of the impeller.
Our repair and upgrades to these compressors focuses on several areas of the compressor:
- Material upgrades to impellers and shafts
- Rotor dynamics (especially in the overhung configurations)
- Bearing upgrades to reduce thrust bearing failures
- Laser overlays to prevent rotating and non-rotating components from galling
- Repair of expensive replacement components (i.e. impellers and distribution cones)
- Restoration of efficiencies due to mechanical misalignment
- Impeller redesign based on FEA analysis (excitation of natural blade frequencies)
RMS MEPCO is ready to repair and upgrade liquid ring compressors and vacuum pumps, encompassing all makes and models:
- All Nash and Garo models
- Flowserve/Sihi all models
• Continued below... •
The RMS MEPCO team recently took on a NASH liquid ring compressor failure for a customer in the oil and gas industry. This NASH compressor was sent to the South Houston shop for a detailed inspection to determine the root cause of the failure as well as a path forward for repairs and upgrade opportunities.
The initial inspection started with a detailed visual inspection, photos, and critical measurements. The compressor was received locked up. With the split line bolts loosened, the team was able to separate the casing halves to expose the damaged impeller and distribution cones. The team dry stacked the compressor to measure the total float. Extensive damage was noted on the DE of the impeller; OD of the DE impeller blades indicated severe FOD damage and visual cracks. A large portion of a single vane catastrophically failed and remnants of the blade material were found at the bottom of the NDE case. The blade fragment lodged between the eccentric portion of the case and the impeller, causing the blade damage on the DE impeller vanes. Improper rotor running position and facial misalignment of the distribution cone caused the contact rubs on the DE of the impeller and the DE distribution cone taper, which locked up the impeller. No damage or cracks were noted on the NDE side of the impeller or distribution cone.
Vane cracks all emanated from the inlet side of the vanes and progressed outward toward the discharge side. All of the components were blasted clean, PMI’d, and tested using NDT methods for a detailed report of the damage.
An FAE study had been performed by a third party to identify possible blade failure modes in previous incidences of blade failures common to these compressors. FEA analysis confirmed process spikes and contact rubs with the distribution cones can excite the natural frequency of the impeller vanes, initiating a low-cycle fatigue crack which can progress to a ductile failure. The FEA analysis and identified high stress point correlated exactly with location of the vane cracks found on this rotor. The team was also able to confirm through frequency testing that the customer’s forged impeller had almost identical natural frequency responses as their cast impeller.
NASH (the OEM) and the customer had replaced the original cast impeller (316 SS) with a forged impeller (AL6XN material). The forged design was a duplicate of the original cast impeller, which contained the same inherent design deficiencies. In the end, the forged impeller suffered the same failure mode as the cast impeller.
To correct this design flaw, the RMS Engineering team will work on a joint project with the customer to redesign the high stress areas of the impeller to avoid these problematic frequency responses going forward. RMS’ engineering team will confirm the redesigned impeller vanes with additional FEA analysis. Along with a redesigned impeller, the RMS team will correct the compressor’s misaligned case components, repair and upgrade the impeller distribution cones, eliminating costly new replacements.
RMS is currently working on this upgraded compressor and has plans to send it back to the customer by the end of the month. The joint engineering project will begin after the compressor rebuild is completed.
Tiny Camera, Big Results
Matt Miller, Director - Houston Operations
In these times of continual hand-washing and mask-wearing, cleanliness and hygiene have been taken to a new level. Working in the turbomachinery space, however, we are used to intense cleaning rituals and the use of high-tech equipment for visually inspecting tough-to-reach areas, such as the inside of a pipe or drilled hole. One of our favorite tools is a borescope.
A borescope is most simply described as a tiny camera, often with a built-in light, at the end of a flexible cable. Borescope capabilities vary greatly with basic models incorporating a camera and light on a flexible cable with more elaborate models offering the ability to articulate and steer the camera remotely. These important inspection tools are critical when scrutinizing machinery condition or verifying the final assembly of equipment with values often exceeding $1MM. A borescope offers quality insurance with the ability to greatly increase the effectiveness of critical inspections.
RMS utilizes the borescope during the inspection phase of equipment in the event of an unexplained pressure loss or leak that might be found, for example, during a hydrotest. If the test subject is exposed it is relatively easy to see a drop of water. However, if you are testing a drilled line through a cast or fabricated casing, clear observations become more difficult. Using various tricks to highlight potential cracks, voids, or leak paths, a borescope inspection may be done to visually look for the problem and complete inspections in difficult reach areas.
The area where borescopes get the most regular use, however, is during and after final cleaning and just before the final assembly of turbomachinery. It is essential that bearing oil and seal buffer ports such as journal bearings, oil buffered seal, dry gas seal, etc. are clean and free of any type of debris including rust flakes, sand from blasting operations, paint chips, etc. To ensure cleanliness, RMS uses a combination of chemical and liquid cleansers and mechanical cleaning techniques such as swabbing with lint-free rags and custom-made flexible bottle brushes for really difficult spots.
As RMS completes these cleaning efforts, for quality control purposes, the primary operator cleans and inspects, and then the final inspection is performed by another RMS associate to ensure neutrality. As these activities wrap up, the camera/video functions on the borescope are utilized to capture images of the as-built unit. The resulting detailed shots cover the entirety of a complete machine's internals with shots of the insides of the equipment very similar to those you’d received at a surgeon’s office.
The borescope proves to be a critical component in RMS' detailed inspection protocols. This process ensures the highest levels of quality and supplies our teams with the detailed information required to deliver a quality result every time.
Tia Gamler, Vice President of Finance — Tia worked at Cigars International for 15 years where she started as a staff accountant and worked her way up to VP Finance. She graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and the Robert E Cook Honors College.
James Cardillo, Structural Analyst — James joins RMS from O’Donnell & Naccarato, FLSmidth, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Air Products and Chemicals, and HYDAC Technology Corporation. He holds a BS and MS from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Tyler Hallman, Associate Buyer/Purchasing Coordinator — Tyler worked for RMS during Summer 2011 as an intern and has now joined RMS full-time as an Associate Buyer/Purchasing Coordinator.
Patrice Jupiter, Proposal Specialist — Patrice earned her BS in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina A&T State University. Her experience includes 9 years at Worley Parsons and Linde.
Curtis Fondon, Account Manager — Prior to joining RMS, Curtis worked at the Ascend Performance Materials plant, was founder and co-owner of RPM Services Inc., worked at AC Compressor/Preco Turbine & Compressor, and at Dow Chemical Co.
Joseph Corona, Quality Inspector — Joe brings 5 years’ experience performing repair and maintenance of rotating equipment as a journeyman millwright.
Rodney Diel, Quality Inspector — Rodney worked for 10 years as a mechanic on centrifugal compressors and gas/steam turbine units.
Robert Ullom, Commercial Specialist/ Production Supervisor — Robert spent the last 13 years working on rotating machinery, with a focus on ISO 9001 standards.
Aurelio Lopez, Mechanic — Aurelio joins RMS with 21+ years of rotating machinery experience, with previous work at GE, Allied Power Group, and Zenith Pump Services.
Shane Newcomb, Lead Field Service Technician — Shane brings 20 years of experience working on large rotating turbo machinery, servicing equipment for the oil and gas, petrochemical and power generation to the RMS team.
Colin Barker, Account Manager RMS MEPCO — Colin has been working in the Gulf Coast market for 27 years. He has previously held positions at Total Industrial Services Specialties, Inc., Gould’s Pumps, and MEPCO, Inc.