Turbine Blades Wrong Installation Issue Created by OEM


Thread Starter


I tried to attach a page which is basically moment weight data of turbine blades row 3 of 50 MW gas turbine. On that page no where it is written that this is sequence chart.

OEM service team was here for overhauling and they installed the blades on the basis of same page and thought this is sequence chart. Nothing written on page like slot number/position number etc. Also on that page top right corner, 1/2 is written which also meant, document is incomplete.

Instead of asking from us or being OEM service provider, they have to arrange sequence chart from OEM engineering. They installed the blades and box up the turbine. Result was huge unbalance and after multiple try they were unable to field balance. So ultimately machine was reopened and correct sequenced.

I need to take opinion from the experts on this forum.

Are not they (Overhaul service Provider which is also OEM) fully responsible of the mistake? As attached page was only moment weight chart not the sequence chart which is clearly mentioned on top of the page. Field service Engineers are trained enough for all this.
And how is the related to controls?

I know--controls is always the cause of all problems.

Except this one.

One would think the installer (regardless of whether they work for the OEM or not) would be responsible for confirming the information they were provided was suitable for use in installing the buckets in the proper order.

Who provided the buckets? The turbine owner/operator? The OEM?

In the end, it really all goes down to what the contract says--or doesn't say. In many cases, the contracts are woefully vague on issues like this, and it work to the advantage of both sides some times.

I would think there would be a good legal case--without having seen the contract!--for the installer being responsible for the results of the work. But, again, we don't know what was said in the contract.

Most sites have someone, sometimes a third-party expert, overseeing the installer (even OEM installers) to make sure things like this don't happen. Sometimes things like this fall through the crack.

Time to get the lawyers involved. They're the only ones who win in situations like this. Sometimes this is a very expensive lesson to be learned. Thanks for bringing it to our attention; it could help others who will be in outage soon think about coordination and oversight.

Best of luck with your situation. Hope it's resolved soon!

As for field engineers being trained, some of the most prominent OEMs are not using actual degreed engineers for these kinds of jobs. Management believes that trained technicians (mechanics, basically) can do this work without a college degree. And many degreed engineers consider this to be dirty work and beneath them. So, we are left with field service people (personnel), some of whom have had OEM training, many who have only some degree of field experience. I will say that several of the MOST knowledgeable field service people I worked with as a long-time OEM employee did NOT have a college degree, but DID have an abundance of experience and common sense, and were much better at their job than some college graduates. In today's world, the training and experience of field service people--even on multi-million dollar machines and jobs--is not as high as it used to be, or even should be. That's why many companies hire "owner's engineers" to oversee the work being done if the site doesn't feel they have the people or the time to do this themselves.

Again, best of luck--and thanks for the reminder of how things can go wrong. Even for non-controls work.