GE has launched a new business unit aimed at servicing and upgrading other OEMs’ gas turbine fleets.

The Cross-Fleet business offering, focusing initially on Siemens and Mitsubishi equipment, aims to increase performance and reliability for F-class gas turbines by adding GE technologies such as advanced thermal barrier coatings, proprietary alloys and enhanced cooling in turbine and combustion components.

Steve Hartman, GE Power Services’ chief technology officer, noted that the Cross-Fleet offering includes hardware, controls and digital platforms. In terms of hardware, he pointed to GE’s vertically cracked thermal barrier coating “which is thicker and more durable, and allows us to play with the turbine firing temperature as well as enhance performance and reduce outage intervals”. Along with materials that offer improvements in heat rate and flexibility, he said the hardware aspect of the upgrades represents “a flow-down of technology from the new HA product lines”.

According to GE, the addition of its technologies to competitors’ gas turbines has resulted in a 6 per cent performance improvement, a 1.5 per cent heat rate improvement and an increase in uptime to an average of 40,000 operating hours.

The business is also able to tailor maintenance contracts to specific customer needs, GE said, with flexible financing and service offerings as well as risk transfer.

GE has announced a $200m order backlog for CrossFleet in Latin America, Europe and Russia. This includes six Mitsubishi 501F gas turbines and eight Siemens SGT800 turbines. The business is “weeks away” from announcing the results from its first project, which GE said is about to be commissioned in Mexico.

Scott Strazik, president and CEO of GE Power Services, said: “GE is proven as one of the technology leaders and trusted service providers with 50 million hours of F-class operating experience on our own fleet, which we are applying to cross-fleet assets. We’re also benefiting from the extensive steam turbine, generator and HRSG other-OEM capabilities and expertise we acquired from Alstom’s power business in November 2015. We’ve combined all of these attributes and broadened our capabilities to now include select cross-fleet gas turbines.” 

The new business, he added, is “all about expanding the installed base we insert our technology into. It’s not about servicing somebody else’s machines – that’s boring. It’s about taking those machines and making them our own: our coatings, our alloys, our engineering depth.”

The Cross-Fleet offering “allows us to do things with machines that our customers need that we don’t necessarily think our competitors can do.” 

Martin O’Neill, general manager of cross-fleet solutions, added that “bringing real value and real competition to the table is the spirit of Cross-Fleet”. He said that “many customers with a sole maintenance provider have been actively seeking competition in these markets”.

GE decided to focus initially on the 501F and SGT-800 machines because they have a large installed base and what GE perceives as a “value gap”, said O’Neill. “I’m not sure there’s a heavy investment in performance in 501 machines specifically,” he said. For these turbines, “Cross-Fleet will stimulate some invention in addressing long-term pain points.”  

At its base, Cross-Fleet is “a generic concept to take proven technology and scale it to competitors’ equipment,” he added. “This is a long-play game.”

And he said the competition will inevitably raise their game in response, which will be good for the market.  

O’Neill said he would like to see the business grow to twice its current size in the next 12 months.