Creating the latest models of steam turbines and the most resistant materials, precise components, and more accurate software - all of these projects are being realised in Doosan Škoda Power's cutting-edge experimental laboratory in Plzeň, Czech Republic, Central Europe. Jiří Fiala's team tackles complex research projects on steam turbines, for the whole of the parent Doosan Group.
For four years now, Doosan Škoda Power's R & D centre has been carefully monitoring global trends in steam turbine development to be able to flexibly respond to the customers' and the market's requirements. "The information obtained is the basis for the strategic plan of research, in which Doosan Škoda Power invests approximately 3% of its turnover," says Jiří Fiala, head of the Global R&D Centre at Doosan Škoda Power.
According to press of PR newswire on April 19 that The Plzeň-based R&D centre's business can be summarised in several categories. One of them is the design and development of the new types of steam turbines, which are in high demand on the market. "We design new smaller steam turbines for industrial use as well as large turbines featuring super-critical parameters of inlet steam and outputs of up to around 1,000 MW. These already are requirements for high parameters, for example, pressures of 250 to 280 bar and temperatures of 600 to 620°C," he adds, describing this activity.
Another line of research involves the development and application of new materials that must withstand ever higher operating parameters. The recently developed welded rotor is made of materials capable of coping with inlet temperatures of up to 700°C. Material research also covers new surface finishing technologies, such as those for steam valve spindles and, most recently, those for coating inlet blades of turbines to help the blades better resist the impact of the mechanical impurities contained in steam.
A very important part of research is the development of components for steam turbines, in particular the development of new high-efficiency blade types. "It is said that the sophistication of a steam turbine manufacturer can be told by the longest last-stage blade that they are able to develop successfully. To date, the most challenging project for this R&D centre has probably been the development of a unique last-stage blade of titanium with a length of 1,370 millimetres. For the sake of illustration, each blade will be loaded by a centrifugal force of approximately 550 tonnes in operation. This is approximately the same as the take-off mass of the well-known Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet," Jiří Fiala explains. Turbine component development does not only include blades but also the development and testing of bearings and special types of contactless seals and glands.
But research is not just about engineering diagrams and drawings. R & D experts also develop software for a more accurate and quicker calculation and design of their turbines.
Most of the newly developed components are tested in the experimental laboratory on the company's own test stands.