Mech-Tool Engineering Ltd (MTE) has positioned itself for major expansion in the nuclear sector, in the UK and overseas, after signing a licence and supply agreement with a leading US corporation.

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County Durham-based MTE, which specializes in explosion, fire and noise protection systems, and Transco Products Inc, a recognized world leader in thermal insulation systems for the commercial nuclear power industry, intend to manufacture and sell the products of each other on either side of the Atlantic.

The accord was signed at the end of a two-day technical summit at MTE’s offices in Darlington, and followed an earlier visit by MTE executives to Transco’s Chicago headquarters. “There is a tremendous synergy between the two companies and, on both sides of the Atlantic, there is a lot of excitement about the potential opportunities for each company’s highly-specialized products,” said MTE managing director Keith Bell.

In the UK, MTE believes the tie-up with Transco makes it a strong contender for work on nuclear power stations planned under the Government’s new-build programme, and to secure work on the “Astute” and new generation “Successor” nuclear submarines.

The American company makes reflective metallic insulation systems for reactor process vessels and other primary nuclear plant components. Its products and services are in use at more than 200 nuclear power plants worldwide – including every operating nuclear station in the US.

Design engineers from both companies are already conspiring on a “best of breed” all-metallic insulation system designed specifically for passive cooled nuclear reactors and incorporating the best features of each company’s safety technologies. In the US, the American company is already looking at potential uses for MTE’s SafeGuard high-integrity perimeter fence system in the war against terrorism, and similarly its range of blast and fire-rated safe havens and control rooms which helped establish MTE as a major supplier to the offshore industry.

Safeguard, a modular construction heavy-duty post and panel steel walling system, already has a proven track record on industrial sites in the UK, primarily in the petrochemical and oil and gas sectors, where it is used to protect sensitive equipment from risk of accidental damage.

Bell said: “In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, there remains a lot of concern in the US that major industrial complexes could become the targets of terrorists crashing vehicles through existing barriers.

“With this and other potential uses Transco has identified, the deal could open up a massive new market in the US for our products.”

Since signing the Transco agreement, MTE has begun planning the constructing a 1000 sq meter purpose-built sheet-metal manufacturing, laser profiling and cutting facility, adjacent to its existing 7750 sq m fabrication centre in Darlington.

Last year, it made a significant breakthrough in the decommissioning market when it was awarded a £1.5m ($2.5m) contract to design and build a multi-service processing module, incorporating its blast and fire protection systems, for the Sellafield nuclear facility in Cumbria.

ESAB to supply consumables for Ireland’s Whitegate IPP welding

The new 450 MW Whitegate IPP combined-cycle gas turbine power station for Bord Gais is currently being constructed in Cork, in the Republic of Ireland, by H A O’Neil on behalf of Gamma Construction.

Against stiff competition, ESAB won the contract to supply in excess of 15 tonnes of Tig (tungsten inert gas) welding wire and MMA (manual metal arc) welding electrodes.

When tests were conducted with the ESAB consumables, the welders achieved better results and a higher success rate – which will translate into financial savings in the construction project. Furthermore, ESAB was able to offer a lower price than its competitors, despite supplying the consumables via a local distributor, Gas-Weld Ltd.

When tendering for the contract, ESAB first had to establish which of its welding wires and electrodes would be appropriate for the given applications.

The first of four applications is a carbon manganese steel, whereas the other three are creep-resistant alloy steels. In addition to identifying the right wires and electrodes, Johnson calculated the weld metal volumes in order that an accurate estimate could be made for the consumables required.

At one point in the tendering process it was necessary to have consumables delivered to site at short notice for welding tests and for the welding procedures to be checked.

ESAB was able to arrange for the right products to be delivered to site from a warehouse in Europe in less than 48 hours. Not only did this ensure that= the work could go ahead, but is also highlighted the company’s responsiveness.

Harris Pye erects boiler sets

Boiler expert Harris Pye has successfully erected substantial power boiler sets and associated equipment in Sharjah, UAE, at the Green Dome Petro-Chemical Company Ammonia Plant.

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The boiler sets which were of Indian manufacture and supplied by Green Dome, are designed to supply steam for power and the process requirements of the Green Dome plant in the Hamiriyah Free Zone in Sharjah.

Supplied in knock down form to facilitate shipping and handling, the boilers were an integral part of the project to construct and commission a new Anhydrous Ammonia plant.

Both were rated at 67 500kg of steam per hour at a pressure of 42kg/cm2 and a superheat temperature of 375 C.

The resulting product is mainly for export and is normally used in the manufacture of the fertilizer ammonium nitrate. The contract encompassed setting of foundations for structure and boilers and the erection all component parts including structure walkways, platforms, roof and side cladding; the boiler structure; boiler drums; boiler water wall tubes and superheater; boiler feed pumps; boiler deaerators; forced draught (FD) fans including inlet ducting; chimneys and outlet ducting; economizers (and undertaking their assembly); LP dosing system; sample coolers; burners; all external inter-connecting pipe work including superheater piping, feed water piping, gas supply piping and steam piping.

Coating for cylindrical roller bearings reduces gearbox failures in wind turbine applications

The Schaeffler Group has developed a mixed iron oxide coating for cylindrical roller bearings, which provides increased resistance to slippage during alternating, low load conditions, significantly reducing failure rates of wind turbine gearboxes.

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Schaeffler’s premium ‘X-life’ branded bearings offer increased operating life far beyond conventional limits. X-life bearings have improved product characteristics, including lower noise and reduced friction, easier maintenance and higher load capacities.

FAG spherical roller bearings are also playing an important part in several high profile European tidal stream energy systems currently in development. Here, FAG double row spherical roller bearings are used to support main turbine rotors with diameters up to 750 mm. Schaeffler UK is also supplying spherical roller bearings and radial ball bearings for use on drive train gearboxes for tidal energy systems.

When it comes to the maintenance of wind turbines, the cost of replacing a bearing on the tower is more favourable than having to replace a complete gearbox due to a bearing failure. Over the next few years, it is predicted that MRO companies will increasingly have to carry out routine inspection and overhaul of gearboxes on wind turbines. This will inevitably result in the replacement of bearings that are deemed as being damaged or likely to fail in a short time period.

For this reason, Schaeffler has developed Durotect B, a new black oxide coating for its FAG range of cylindrical roller bearings. Field tests have demonstrated that significantly lower failure rates in wind turbine gearboxes are experienced if these units are fitted with Durotect B coated cylindrical roller bearings.

Durotect B is a matt black, mixed iron oxide layer that is produced in a dip solution. The surface structure, magnetic and electrical characteristics of the base material are maintained. The coating is highly resistant to bending and stress.

As well as excellent anti-corrosion protection, Durotect B also offers increased resistance of the bearing during slippage and sliding, as well as during alternating, low load conditions which are common in wind turbine and tidal stream energy applications.

AUMA achieves innovation

AUMA, the actuator manufacturer and global distributor of valve automation solutions, has been awarded a prestigious German ‘Top 100’ short-list of SME industrial leaders.

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The awards, which are in their 17th year, are mentored by Lothar Späth, retired leader of the Federal German state of Bade-Wuertemberg. Project partners include the Association of German Engineers. To achieve the accreditation, AUMA had to pass a strict dual-stage procedure issued by Vienna’s University of Economics and Business.

AUMA was honoured by Späth and the awards panel for “Top Management Innovation”, “Innovation Climate”, “Innovative Processes and Organization”, “Marketing Innovation” and “Successful Innovations”.

Particular recognition was given to AUMA’s top management which has overseen company development since its launch in 1964. In 2008 the company achieved a turnover of approx €340m ($483m) and today, the international AUMA organization employs 930 people in Germany and at its global network of subsidiaries.

Kenda wins Cowes contract

Kenda Electronic Systems, the specialist manufacturer of energy metering systems for the electricity supply industry, has been awarded a contract by RWE npower for upgrading the tariff metering scheme at the 140 MW open-cycle gas turbine power station at Cowes on the Isle of Wight, UK.

Following a competitive tendering process, Kenda was chosen to carry out the refurbishment of four metering panels located in the main control room and in the 132 kV substation adjacent to the power station. The panel refurbishment will consist of replacing the existing meters – which are nearing obsolescence – with the latest generation of CEWE Prometer R class 0.2s meters, removing the old voltage failure alarms and configuring the alarm function within the new meters.

In addition, Kenda will connect the new meters to the existing Meteor tariff outstations.

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