Engineering Competence

Magnetic bearings boost turboexpander performance


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SKF has signed a major contract to supply SKF S2M Ae magnetic bearings to Ukrainian turboexpander manufacturer Turbogaz. Nine sets, incorporating a standard electronic control cabinet, will be supplied to Uzbekistan, the largest producer and consumer of natural gas in Central Asia.

Turboexpanders are turbines in which high-pressure gas is used to separate heavier fractions and drive a compressor. Their bearings are constantly in direct contact with gas and the harsh environment can accelerate wear and failure. SKF S2M magnetic bearings offer a more reliable and oil-free solution for high-speed natural gas turboexpanders, enabling Turbogaz to offer units that are low in maintenance needs.

Oleg Viktorovich Kuprygin, CEO of Turbo­gaz, says Turbogaz has been working in close cooperation with SKF Magnetic Mechatronics 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 9 million cubic metres per day,” he says. “The unit was put into commercial operation in 2007 and has been in service for more than 42,000 hours since then.”


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