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Thermal Processing for Power Generation Applications

Power generation components enable safe and uninterrupted operation of critical infrastructure that powers industries and communities. Thermal processing for these components is critical to ensuring they perform properly in the field.

Specializing in Power Generation

We’ve spent decades working with power generation equipment manufacturers, so we understand your priorities and the nuances involved in serving your market. Here’s how we help you succeed:

Repeatable Precision

Power generation components are critical to infrastructure and typically represent a large investment. With so much at stake when it comes to these parts, precision and consistency in heat treatment is the minimum expectation. Critical points in your parts’ processes are monitored and alarmed, and if an issue occurs during processing, parts are automatically quarantined and prevented from entering the supply chain. In addition, our process automation and precision furnace controls provide you peace of mind that your parts will perform properly—protecting operators, communities, and your bottom line.

Data & Quality Control

The expense of power generation components makes certain types of testing cost prohibitive, which means you must rely on measurements collected during the processing to ensure that your parts have been run to specifications. Paulo gathers more data than any other commercial thermal processor (500 tags per second), and all process data is stored digitally in PICS. In addition to our automated safeguards that quarantine parts in case of a processing issue, we compare cycle data and charts for each run against your original in-spec cycle to ensure parts are processed correctly. We can provide cycle data in any format you require, including CSV files and paper documentation.

Turnaround Times

Because heat treatment is one of the final steps in the supply chain, there is often extra pressure to deliver quickly if issues have occurred during the material sourcing or manufacturing process. We also understand that many users of power generation components utilize a “just-in-time” inventory approach due to the size and expense of the components. Because we know that you’re likely under a contractual obligation to deliver parts by a hard deadline, we’ve created a scheduling philosophy that allows room for rush or emergency work, and we’ve invested in equipment redundancies that provide contingencies in case of equipment downtime in our facility.

Research & Development Support

With the increased adoption of renewable energy and efforts to enhance the sustainability of traditional energy, innovation is ongoing in the power generation market. With the largest in-house metallurgy team of any commercial thermal processor, Paulo can make recommendations for adjusting the heat treatment parameters for components during the prototyping and testing phase. We also work hand-in-hand with engineering and metallurgy teams at some of the world’s leading energy companies to run tests on bars, blocks, and prototypes made from high-end and even proprietary alloys. Because of our robust data collection and measurement capabilities, we are especially well-suited to support your team when developing the specifications for new parts and materials.

Thermal Processing Capabilities for Power Generation

We are a full-service commercial thermal processor with a comprehensive range of capabilities and a vast equipment array. These are a few of the services we most commonly perform for our power generation customers.

Hot isostatic pressing (HIP)

In hot isostatic pressing (HIP), heat and pressure work together to reduce the porosity that forms during the casting or additive manufacturing processes. Porosity creates weak points when parts are under flexion, which occurs constantly for components like blades and vanes that operate constantly at high temperatures and speeds. HIP minimizes these weak points, which reduces the risk of cracking under service. HIP also applies consistent pressure on all part surfaces, even for complex geometries, which helps reduce distortion and preserves tight tolerances.

 

Solution treating

Solution treating encompasses several processes that are performed as a step in the manufacturing process to enhance the strength of parts that will usually be subsequently machined and heat treated. The material your power generation parts are made of will determine the type of solution treating they require. We conduct our solution treating processes in vacuum furnaces, which prevents oxidation by removing gases from the atmosphere. 

 

Vacuum aging and air aging

Aging is often applied to power generation components because it enhances tensile strength, corrosion resistance, and ductility. We can age parts to a variety of specifications depending on the desired mechanical properties of your parts. We can also combine solution treating and aging in a single cycle or provide aging on its own, depending on what works best for your manufacturing process.

 

Vacuum brazing

Vacuum brazing is ideal for parts such as gas turbine components and fuel cells. One of the main challenges that commonly accompanies brazing is achieving a consistent application of the brazing alloy, which is often an expensive material such as gold, silver, nickel, or copper-based alloys. Our brazing experts and accurate processing ensure a controlled application that results in clean, strong brazed joints.

Stress relieving

Stresses are created in material during the machining and welding process. These stresses must be relieved prior to placing parts under service to minimize the risk of cracking.

Hot isostatic pressing (HIP)

Solution treating

Vacuum aging and air aging

Vacuum brazing

Stress relieving

Hot isostatic pressing (HIP)

In hot isostatic pressing (HIP), heat and pressure work together to reduce the porosity that forms during the casting or additive manufacturing processes. Porosity creates weak points when parts are under flexion, which occurs constantly for components like blades and vanes that operate constantly at high temperatures and speeds. HIP minimizes these weak points, which reduces the risk of cracking under service. HIP also applies consistent pressure on all part surfaces, even for complex geometries, which helps reduce distortion and preserves tight tolerances.

 

Solution treating

Solution treating encompasses several processes that are performed as a step in the manufacturing process to enhance the strength of parts that will usually be subsequently machined and heat treated. The material your power generation parts are made of will determine the type of solution treating they require. We conduct our solution treating processes in vacuum furnaces, which prevents oxidation by removing gases from the atmosphere. 

 

Vacuum aging and air aging

Aging is often applied to power generation components because it enhances tensile strength, corrosion resistance, and ductility. We can age parts to a variety of specifications depending on the desired mechanical properties of your parts. We can also combine solution treating and aging in a single cycle or provide aging on its own, depending on what works best for your manufacturing process.

 

Vacuum brazing

Vacuum brazing is ideal for parts such as gas turbine components and fuel cells. One of the main challenges that commonly accompanies brazing is achieving a consistent application of the brazing alloy, which is often an expensive material such as gold, silver, nickel, or copper-based alloys. Our brazing experts and accurate processing ensure a controlled application that results in clean, strong brazed joints.

Stress relieving

Stresses are created in material during the machining and welding process. These stresses must be relieved prior to placing parts under service to minimize the risk of cracking.

Power Generation Components We Process

  • Turbine blades
  • Turbine vanes
  • Fasteners
  • Housings
  • Shafts/Driveshafts
  • Tubing
  • Ducts
  • Connectors
  • Bellows

Common Materials for Power Generation Components

  • Stainless Steels
  • Specialty Alloys
  • Inconel 718
  • Inconel 625
  • Hastelloy
  • 17-4 PH Steels
  • Plain Carbon Steels

Trust Your Parts to Paulo

From precise processing to testing, handling, and more, Paulo’s team can provide a vital link in your supply chain. Our team of in-house metallurgists can also help identify and resolve issues that a previous heat treater may have had to bring your parts to spec. Bottom line? Bring us your challenges, and let’s work on solving them together.

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