Quality, service, and integrity have made Turbine Generator Maintenance, Inc. (TGM) the OEM alternative for turbine and generator maintenance on steam and combustion units. Barbara Kram reports on this highly respected third-party contractor serving utilities and heavy industrial markets throughout the United States, South America and the Caribbean.
It’s like a pit crew for your turbine generator set. That is how Turbine Generator Maintenance, Inc. (TGM) sees its skilled teams of technicians who perform turnkey inspections, maintenance and repairs on steam and combustion turbines, generators and associated equipment.
“We travel to the customer’s site, bring our own tools and our own team of people who work together regularly,” says April Ward, Marketing Manager. “A lot of times in this industry you get craft labor crews who go to the job site and meet for the first time. It may also be their first time working on a turbine deck. Additionally, they may not have the right tools available and ask to borrow them from the plant. We have our own tool sets and our teams work together on a regular basis, so they already know each other and always have a detailed plan in place. It makes a dramatic difference in the timing of the job.”
Staying on line is essential to customers, including both utility and industrial power producers. “Independent power producers are looking to turn around and sell their energy. Many facilities – pulp and paper, chemical and petroleum – will generate power for themselves and sell any excess to the grid. It’s big money for them,” Ward explains.
TGM can work on virtually any OEM’s turbine or generator. Some plants generate power with steam, others with combustion, and many utilize both technologies. “Many of the more recently built power plants are combined cycle facilities that use the waste heat of the gas turbines to generate steam and drive a steam turbine generator set,” Ward observes. “Although not always the case, you will most likely run into more combustion turbines when working with utility power producers – regulated, deregulated or merchant.” TGM handles scheduled maintenance and emergency repair for both types of turbine generators. Industrial turbine owners, such as those in the pulp and paper industry, are more likely to operate steam turbines, as steam is typically a critical component of their process equipment.
TGM was founded in 1986 by current Chairman and CEO Tony Collins as a steam turbine and generator maintenance company. After 15 years of success, a long-term customer asked the company to work on combustion turbines and generators. In 2000 a new company, Gas Turbine Maintenance (GTM), was created to provide combustion turbine and generator maintenance to clients. In March 2006, the company consolidated operations of Turbine Generator Maintenance (TGM) and Gas Turbine Maintenance (GTM) under the original TGM name. Moving forward, TGM is operating two primary divisions: a Steam Turbine Services Division and a Combustion Turbine Services Division. Said TGM President Merrick Alpert, “As our operations continue to grow, we feel that offering both steam and combustion services under a unified name will streamline our administrative processes, increase our brand recognition and ultimately allow us to better serve our clients.”
TGM’s corporate headquarters was recently moved to a new facility in Cape Coral, Florida. The location is ideal to serve its North and South American markets. TGM’s logistics center has relocated to Knoxville, Tenn., a more logistically centralized location for serving customers throughout the United States. The logistics center has access to major ground and air shipping routes, allowing for quick response to outages and reduced transportation costs. The center uses an advanced inventory system that provides more accurate information and reduces labor and overstock costs. With digital supply chain solutions in place, TGM makes sure that crews have the right tooling, readily available, every time.
TGM finds itself well positioned to serve the ever-changing power industry. “In the past, some facilities have tried to keep their own maintenance people on staff,” Ward reflects. “Many customers are dealing with an aging workforce and it seems like the next generation is not interested in replacing them. Combined
with corporate cost cutting trends that reduce maintenance personnel headcount, clients are losing staff and unable to replace them – that’s where a company like ours is helpful.”
Companies that have worked with TGM know that they can expect technically proficient work completed on time, in a professional manner and at a competitive price. Recent TGM projects typify the company’s ability to keep customers’ plants up and running. Earlier this year TGM completed two turbine maintenance projects at Calpine’s King City, Calif., facility. The facility opted to have maintenance performed concurrently on two units: a GE Frame 7EA and a 40MW ABB VAX. TGM’s Steam and Combustion Turbine Services Divisions worked together to perform both a hot gas path inspection on the 7EA machine and a minor inspection on the 40MW ABB VAX steam unit. The combustion outage ran flawlessly and was completed in 10 days on a single shift. The outage on the steam machine lasted seven days, although the mechanical work on the unit was completed in only four days. TGM’s turnkey services were provided on both projects including pre-outage planning, technical direction, supervision, craft labor, tooling and final reports.
Also in 2006 TGM completed a major maintenance project for Covanta Mid-Connecticut, Inc, a waste-to-energy company. “We have a long-standing relationship with Covanta Energy that is more than 10 years strong and our teams have completed work at 20 of their plants,” says Ward. For the latest project, TGM overhauled the 45MW GE steam turbine generator at the South Meadows Station, which is owned by the Connecticut Resource Recovery Authority and operated by Covanta. This was a contract maintenance project in which TGM provided management and technical responsibility, as well as labor, supervision, and tooling for inspection of the high-pressure turbine, low-pressure turbine, generator, valves, and other systems.The entire job, which included a significant number of repairs, was completed in just 20 days on two, 12-hour shifts.
The facility’s Plant Manager Paul Sibiga said, “The unit is now running better than it ever has. TGM’s team was responsive to all needs. It made my job easier knowing that I did not have to worry about what was going on with the turbine generator.”
TGM Vice President of Sales Dan Hoffman added, “Our customers have the freedom to leave the turbine generator set in our care, subsequently allowing them to place their focus on other aspects of a plant outage and the overall integration of multiple projects.”
On Line, On Time
TGM’s “pit crew” has years of extensive industry experience; averages for crewmembers are 22 years for technical directors, 20 years for foremen and 10 years for mechanics. The company has some 80 employees plus skilled seasonal craft labor.
When the TGM crew shows up at a customer’s site, they come equipped with a complete office trailer and tool trailers stocked with tools needed specifically for that job. The TGM crew is ready for anything and able to react quickly to any situation with a familiar tool set and a full capacity office. Rolling toolboxes are brought to the turbine deck so technicians have what they need. TGM brings hose and chain hoists, oxygen and acetylene gauges, high-torque pump heads and hoses, impact sockets and parts bins, combination wrenches and shackles, precision outside micrometers and standards, precision V-blocks and calipers, drill bits, taps, precision tools and level parallel bars, precision dial indicators, transfer punch sets, letter stamps and scaffolding wheels, rosebuds, torch heads and welding nozzles, metric tools, safety equipment, and much more.
All work is done based on a carefully coordinated project plan. If a client opts to have TGM do planning for them, TGM will send a technical director to the job site to evaluate the machine, inventory spare parts, and work with them to develop a customized work scope for their turbine generator set. TGM performs both scheduled maintenance and emergency repair work, with emergencies representing fewer than 10 percent of jobs.
“One of the things that makes TGM stand out in the industry is our unique ability to provide quick turnaround time for customers who are time sensitive,” Ward says. “If time is money and their machine is down for maintenance, that’s an issue. We are the quickest in the industry. We constantly beat other maintenance providers in quoting and achieving reduced outage times. But we don’t want to isolate anyone, TGM also provides custom economical solutions for our clients who are not time critical.”