Special Applications - Control Rooms

Turbomachinery Control Solutions: Building an Effective TCS

A mechanical engineering term, “turbomachinery” describes machines that transfer energy between a rotor and a liquid or gas. Turbines and compressors both fall into this category. Turbines use a fast flow of water, air, or gas to generate shaft power; while compressors pressurize substances by transferring energy from the rotor to a fluid or gas. Turbines and compressors often work in conjunction with each other.

Due to the size, expense, and potential hazards of turbomachinery, companies use control systems to monitor and maintain proper function. Staying up-to-date with innovations in turbomachinery controls can help organizations implement effective solutions.

The Purpose of a Turbomachinery Control Solution

As technology advances and processes evolve, the need for an updated, effective turbomachinery control solution (TCS) is evident. When turbines, compressors, and centrifugal pumps work together efficiently, the potential for danger or equipment damage is minimized. However, when systems are not regularly analyzed, tested, and monitored, even small disruptions can have significant consequences.

Maintaining an effective TCS is more than just responsible policy; federal and state laws require adherence to highly specific safety standards, which must be observed regardless of the cost. Efficient, customized TCS systems should prioritize safety and maximize return on investment.

Critical Elements of a TCS

TCS systems vary depending on equipment requirements, safety protocol, and customizations, but certain components are crucial to an effective TCS. They include the following:

  • Speed control to prevent machines from functioning at hazardous speeds
  • Turbine temperature control to avoid over-firing the engine
  • Surge protection for operating machinery within the thin margins between regular operations and the surge safety line
  • Load control to balance work between compressors for optimal efficiency
  • Sequencing of valves and motors for safe startup and shutdown of the machinery
  • Protection functions to safely shut down the unit when critical parameters deviate outside of safe ranges
  • Establishing a standard operating environment in which alarms and variables are managed via an interface

TCS Trends and Innovations

Turbomachinery control solutions continue to include increasingly complex features. To keep systems user-friendly, trends are emerging that combine convenience with efficacy, including the following:

  • State-of-the-art modular redundant hardware platforms that are completely open and user-friendly
  • Advanced control algorithms that are well-documented and user-configurable, providing excellent control with the ability for end-users to support themselves
  • High-speed historical trending with long-term data storage and user-friendly visualization tools for easy problem identification
  • Vendor-backed control system maintenance

When choosing a control solution, companies should be aware of the latest TCS updates and advances to ensure optimal maintenance capabilities and overall product satisfaction.

The Benefits of Single Vendor Responsibility

Having one entity responsible for the entire control system’s design, delivery, and startup process can help ensure that the turbomachinery control solution is effective and efficient. Turnkey control solutions can be easily integrated into an existing business system or process. Their primary benefit is that they can be customized and modified to fit the current infrastructure of the turbomachinery system. Turnkey services can also lead to high customer satisfaction, as having one vendor handle the installation, labor, and materials will enable them to better focus on quickly addressing customer concerns.

To implement an effective turbomachinery control solution, specific safety guidelines and features relevant to particular equipment must be considered. Another important step is choosing a reliable vendor that offers state-of-the-art control systems and full-service management. At Petrotech, we provide clients across a range of markets with turnkey solutions. To learn more about how we can support your turbomachinery systems, contact our staff by requesting a quote.

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