Turning of the tables
Founded in 1984 Osborne Engineering Ltd (OEL Group) specialises in the manufacture and repair of all types of white metal and high-pressure components for rotating equipment.
Recording a client base that encompasses both the UK/European power generation industries, as well as the oil and gas industries of the UK and Middle East, the business additionally holds contacts in Japan, India, Korea and Brazil alongside making inroads into the US market via its Houston facility. “Our global position adds flexibility and also provides a more cost effective supply route for our wide range of customers. We offer an expansive range of hydrodynamic thrust and journal bearings, alongside a full spectrum of engineering services that includes bearing performance prediction, 3D laser scanning and reverse engineering,” says Tony Dale, group operations director.
“Using specialist software we can review how changing duty conditions can potentially impact on bearing life, a factor which is of growing importance. Subsequently we are able to recommend potential bearing upgrades or modifications to maximise life and minimise downtime,” explains Mark Vizockie, design engineer. Having recently developed bespoke bearing software with a custom user interface, which drastically reduces time spent calculating and simulating multiple load angle cases, he adds: “This work has led to one client setting up their first supply framework agreement within OEL.”
Specialising in bearing and fuel system repair, the recent opening of a self-contained rapid repair centre in Aberdeen ensures it is able to support global oil companies and key service providers operating in the UK offshore market. Commenting, Jim Malcolm, in charge of business development in Dyce, Aberdeen says: “We provide additional training resource and high speed data acquisition and analysis equipment for machine monitoring. The diverse and unique range of skills ensures we maintain high quality service support for a demanding 24/7 industry.” Reflecting on the truly global nature of the company, UAE based group technical services director, Rahul Hazra, points out: “The ‘British quality flag’ is still well respected throughout the world, giving our group a stepping stone to success, with a reliable pedigree in the OEL brand. State-of-the-art training facilities in the UK and in Dubai allows us to draw from a wide range of instructional expertise, offering technical courses, health and safety, leadership and management and teaching qualifications to the oil and gas, power generation and other industries anywhere in the world.” The expertise is further enhanced through collaboration with training specialists such as OEL-Apix Consulting, GSE Systems and The Faraday Centre Ltd.
OEL’s Turbo Power Services division (TPS) has for three decades provided expertise in the supply, overhaul and upgrade of gas turbine auxiliary fuel system components, which enhances the services of the oil and gas, petrochemical and power generation divisions. Simon Withers, operations manager and senior engineer for TPS highlights: “As well as providing a repair service, TPS provides technical advice based upon extensive gas turbine ancillary knowledge. It is important for our customers to have involvement and technical support leading up to, throughout, and continuing after maintenance shut downs, to ensure minimal delay, and maximum reliability.” From the facility in Aberdeen, gas turbine reliability problems can be investigated addressing the root cause analysis of component failures, directly tackling these issues and the associated down time through engineered solutions and upgrades. “Through strategic partnerships we can better serve both oil and gas turbine markets,” he adds.
Crude oil prices drive forward the offshore market, with new products required when the market is buoyant and repaired products when the market dips. The ability to offer both ensures OEL’s customers may always be served. As the oil and gas industry faces the increasing challenge of ever depleting fields, the running conditions of some of the old equipment are changing significantly. “With a dwindling supply of gas, turbines are running increasing hours on liquid fuel oils. The turbine liquid fuel systems were mainly designed for use as a secondary backup fuel, but it is clear that more and more will become dependant on this as a primary fuel source. Maintenance teams are currently battling with carbon build up and coking issues associated with running on liquid fuel oils, particularly during change over between fuels. We recognise that providing technical support to the industry is paramount in helping the process and maintenance teams maintain maximum equipment up time. We are working on growing this part of our business in order to provide this support,” Simon explains.
Through constantly benchmarking and networking between sites OEL’s flexibility and versatility is being noticed around the world. The comprehensive test facilities with gas and liquid fuel nozzle, liquid flow, pump, and flow divider test stands are unique, with all bespoke test rigs, designed and built in-house. “As we continue to promote our high quality engineering skills and innovation in partnership with our valued customers, our ability to react quickly, source and support obsolete spares, and take on new products gives us a competitive edge,” points out Tony, concluding: “We want everyone to know the full extent of our services, as we are not just a white metal bearing supplier, and by constantly pushing the boundaries we aim to stay ahead of the game.”
Osborne Engineering Group Ltd
Services: Manufacturer and repairer of white metal components