WTB, blade line retrofit

Interview: Mr. Decheng Wei, Vice Minister of Equipment Department

Wuxi Turbine Blade Co., Ltd. (WTB) was founded in 1979 and is the core state-owned holding company under the Shanghai Electric (Group) Corporation. The company’s main business is the development and manufacture of power plant blades and aviation forgings. It is a leading domestic and world-renowned supplier of high-end power components in the energy and aviation fields. The company is located in Wuxi Huishan Economic Development Zone, covering an area of 2,475,699 square feet and total assets of 2.5 billion yuan. 

After more than 30 years of industrial practice, with advanced technology and professional management, the company has a comprehensive market share of over 80  % in the domestic market of large turbine blades for power stations. It has blade process development and manufacturing capabilities in million-class ultra-supercritical steam turbine. In the energy field, the company has become a strategic supplier of electric power to the three major electric companies in China. It has a good reputation for many well-known electric companies in the world such as GE, Toshiba, Mitsubishi, Siemens, Alstom and BHEL.

Since 2008, the company has established and expanded its main business. It has used the four advantages of “technology, equipment, efficiency and brand” established in the energy field, and has opened overseas aviation business through cooperation with GE and R-R.

From 2005, WTB continuously bought 27 LX machines from Starrag. What is the main reason for WTB to be Starrag’s long-term customer?

Decheng Wei: Advanced processing technology, advanced functions, stability and high precision of equipment and good after-sales service of Starrag are the main factors.

What did Starrag machines bring to your company in the past 13 years? 

Decheng Wei: 1. The innovation of blade processing technology has greatly improved the quality of the blade; 2. Advanced technology and equipment have promoted the improvement of the skill of the company’s technicians and improved the safety awareness of employees; 3. Advanced technology and equipment have led to higher production efficiency, and as a result, the company’s turnover.

What is the main reason for blade manufacturing line retrofit in 2018?

Decheng Wei:  Mainly, WTB and the world-renowned aero engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce have signed a “long-term strategic cooperation agreement”. The blade technology aspect is led by the Swiss company Starrag. WTB therefore decided to carry out an overhaul and reconstruction of its existing equipment to meet the new requirements.

What was the main content of retrofit? What was the most difficult in it?

Decheng Wei: It is mainly the overhaul and reconstruction of the Starrag LX line machines, of which six are LX 151which were overhauled, and four LX 051 machines reconstructed to include doble-drive technology. The main difficulty is due to the ultra-high precision of the Rolls-Royce blades, whose high requirements and standards determined the improvement of the hardware aspects of equipment overhaul, and the reconstruction or the optimization of the electrical parameters of the machines.

Were there any hard problems during the retrofit and how Starrag act on it?

Decheng Wei: Rolls-Royce blades have high processing requirements, “Not only the blade size must be qualified, but also the surface quality of the blade must meet the standard.” Under the premise of ensuring the precision of the equipment, Starrag has also conducted the relevant optimization of the electrical parameters for the surface quality of Rolls-Royce blades to achieve the new requirements.

How about the retrofit now?

Decheng Wei: resently, the overhauled equipment has been put into the production of Rolls-Royce blades, and the qualification rate and stability of Rolls-Royce blades are also high.

Please talk about your wish and suggestion to Starrag after sales service.

Decheng Wei: At present, we are very satisfied with Starrag’s after-sales service for this project. In particular, the team of Starrag engineers and site managers cooperated very well with WTB. For this project, during the entire warranty period, it is hoped that Starrag’s resident service personnel will provide fast and quality service on the WTB site. After the warranty period for the overhaul and reconstruction project expires, a “value-added service” contact has been proposed by Starrag.