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SKF magnetic bearings boost Turbogaz performance

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

SKF has signed a contract to supply SKF S2M Magnetic Bearings to Ukrainian turboexpander manufacturer Turbogaz, helping to improve reliability and sustainability for the gas industry.

Under the contract, SKF will supply nine sets of magnetic bearings to Uzbekistan, incorporating a standard electronic control cabinet. Uzbekistan is the largest producer and consumer of natural gas in Central Asia.

Natural gas turboexpanders

In turboexpanders, bearings are constantly in direct contact with gas and the harsh environment can accelerate wear and failure. To meet this challenge, SKF S2M Magnetic Bearings offer a more reliable and oil-free solution for high-speed natural gas turboexpanders, enabling Turbogaz to offer units that have low maintenance requirements.

This solution is vital for the Uzbekistan contract, as the turboexpanders will be installed on remote natural gas treatment plants located in the desert, where accessibility for maintenance is costly. With over 40 units, the country will have one of the largest fleets of turboexpanders operating using SKF magnetic bearings.

Sour gas environment

The SKF S2M Magnetic Bearings set includes two radial bearings (150 mm) with built-in detectors and auxiliary bearings, as well as one thrust bearing that can withstand high axial loads. The bearings have a reinforced insulation to withstand the harsh environment of sour gas.

In contrast with oil bearing units, the SKF bearings are oil free, which means no contamination to the process fluid. Additionally, because there is no lubrication required and no mechanical contact bearing units, the sets are effectively maintenance-free. SKF Magnetic Bearings units also act as diagnostic tools, monitoring shaft vibrations and temperatures with integrated sensors.


Turbogaz CEO, Mr. Kuprygin, commented: “Turbogaz has been working in close cooperation with SKF Magnetic Mechatronics (S2M) to equip turboexpanders with magnetic bearings for many years. Our first joint project was the development of a turboexpander unit with a production capacity of nine million m3/d. The unit was put into commercial operation in 2007 and has been in service for more than 42 000 hours since then. Since the launch of the first pilot project, Turbogaz has commissioned 25 turboexpander units, levitated by SKF S2M Magnetic Bearings in Uzbekistan. That proves that we made the right choice by partnering with SKF.”

Adapted from press release by Katie Woodward

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