Carlos García
Founding Partner and Director General
Turbomáquinas
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View from the Top

Reverse Engineering Leaders for Processing Industry

Wed, 01/22/2014 - 17:00

The evolution of the company that would come to be known as Turbomáquinas has seen it take on several forms, each best adapted to survive in its particular business environment. Its first incarnation came in 1919 as a maintenance provider for a hydroelectric plant. It then acquired a more specialized engineering portfolio for hydroelectric generators and velocity control systems, but was unable to obtain the needed turbine components due to import restrictions imposed during World War II. This led it to transform itself again, by beginning to design and manufacture its own hydraulic turbines in 1940. As the first developer of such equipment in Latin America, the precursor to Turbomáquinas soon attracted the attention of PEMEX.

The oil giant required such hydraulic turbines since Mexico’s oil expropriation and resulting embargo had shut the door on PEMEX trading directly with US, British and Dutch firms. To deepen its relationship with PEMEX, the firm expanded once more to take on the maintenance and repair of turbine systems. It finally hit upon a longterm recipe for success as Turbomáquinas was formally founded in 1962, based in La Piedad, Michoacan. More than 50 years on, it remains a major force in the maintenance and repair of steam and gas turbines as well as centrifugal compressors in Mexico and Latin America.

In the modern oil and gas industry, the company is primarily active in the downstream and offshore segments. Carlos García, Founding Partner and Director General of Turbomáquinas, explains that the firm has stayed focused on the maintenance and repair of PEMEX’s equipment, as this is integral to the oil company’s operational success. Its compressors and turbines are used by PEMEX in the and Basic Petrochemicals, and secondary petrochemicals facilities, while for the offshore sector, the company has equipment on platforms in Cantarell.

Turbomáquinas’ maintenance arm ensures strict servicing standards are followed to guarantee that installed machinery continues to maintain full operational efficiency, and is kept at the performance level met in initial factory conditions. This access has also given the firm a good line in providing a variety of products for the oil and gas industry. For example, Turbomáquinas designs and manufactures repair parts for PEMEX through reverse engineering. “Turbomáquinas is the only company that repairs and manufactures turbines and compressors of all brands, our staff is highly qualified and our operations are certified under ISO 9000 quality standards. Furthermore, we are certified by the American Petroleum Institute (API) in all of our maintenance and manufacturing processes,” says García. He adds that his method allows the company to develop any turbomachinery equipment that PEMEX may require and is another pillar of growth.

In parallel, the firm also works on the revamp of both axial and centrifugal compressors. When problems arise during the transportation of hydrocarbons due to changes in pressure, temperature, or molecular weight levels, Turbomáquinas can calculate the disparities throwing off the process. This allows it to then restore the machine back to the specifications needed to transport the fluid or gas in question. García points out that this represents a significant cost reduction for users, since they do not need to purchase new equipment to solve these problems. “If a company decides to buy a new compressor, it will have to wait 14 months for specially designed machinery to be delivered due to the calculations that must be made for a specific fluid or gas to be transported. However, Turbomáquinas is able to deliver these same results by repairing the equipment in a period of three months, as well as generating savings of 80% to 90% for our clients. This gives us a huge competitive advantage,” García specifies. Furthermore, the infrastructure that must be deployed for a new compressor to be installed must also be built from scratch, whereas Turbomáquinas utilizes the previous framework to provide its repairs.

As a result of the Energy Reform, Turbomáquinas has increased its production capacity by 200% to prepare for new industry demand. Advanced reverse engineering systems have been harnessed, including portable laser equipment that analyzes the chemical composition of the machinery’s metals. The company has also modernized its industrial facilities, allowing it to manufacture machinery with up to five axles, which is key to creating any repair part for any brand’s turbine or compressor model, according to García. Thanks to these reverse engineering capabilities, it has been able to build up an extensive portfolio of repair parts that are required by the downstream and offshore sectors. Looking offshore, García sees other opportunities with private players. Turbomáquinas is already working on becoming a top provider of super alloys as well as aeroderivative and frame-type gas turbines for platform operators that will begin working in the Gulf of Mexico. “Despite this, we want to continue being PEMEX’s main product and service provider for turbines and compressors, regardless of the rampant competition that our company will face in the new industry. Turbomáquinas is ready for these challenges and it is fulfilling its growth targets to be well-prepared for the changes to come,” García concludes.