Waukesha-Pearce Industries Inc. Opens Engine Rebuild Facility in Houston (Source: WWW.DIESELGASTURBINE.COM)
Waukesha-Pearce Industries Inc. (WPI) has been a Waukesha engine distributor more than 80 years. Since 1924, WPI has designed, packaged and serviced all types of rotating equipment such as generators, pumps, blowers, and gas compressors. Today the company has 18 facilities strategically located throughout Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma, U.S.A., and employs more than 600 personnel trained in technical sales, engineering, fabrication, production and support.
In November, WPI will open a brand-new 3065 m2 facility in Houston, Texas, U.S.A., solely dedicated to engine rebuilds.
“We will begin remanufacturing Waukesha VHP Series engines, from thesix-cylinder through the 16-cylinder model, both for power generation and oiland gas applications,” said John Jones,director of sales and marketing for theEngine Division at WPI. “At some point we will incorporate other Waukesha Series engines into the mix, such as theVGF Series. We will be rebuilding enginesfrom 155 to 1834 kW.”
According to Jones, while engineremanufacturing is not new to WPI,having a facility and staff dedicated to the process is a new venture for the company. “The product will have its own brand called ECOPowerhouse, and working with our Waukesha Channel Partners we intend to sell this product all over the globe,” said Jones. “This facility has one purpose and that is to take an existing engine core and create a product that almost equals a brand-new engine in quality and warranty.”
Environmental considerations were a priority during the design and construction of the facility, as well as an influence on the processes and practices that were incorporated into the remanufacturing process.
“We can’t control what comes in the door, either on the engine or in the engine, but we are responsible for everything that comes off of or out of the engine once it’s in our shop, such as lubricants, metals and corrosions,” said Bertin Gondron, general service manager, Engine Division, at WPI. “We started with a clean sheet of paper and made every effort to build and equip this facility to be very environmentally friendly.”
WPI broke the engine remanufacturing processes into individual stations, allowing personnel to be trained in a specific aspect of the rebuild process. “We will have senior, key personnel along the line, but this method allows us more flexibility in our search for individualsto fill these positions,” said Jones.
Each station is designed to maximizeefficiency and minimize environmental impact. “A legacy engine comes in the main door and is placed onto a rolloverfixture,” said Gondron. “We have threefixtures capable of handling up to a VHP Series, V16 engine. We place the engineinto the fixture and a person simplyrotates the engine as needed during disassembly.There is a drain pit to collectliquids, which are then reclaimed andrecycled. The two remaining fixtures will be used to reassemble the remanufactured product.
“Heavily corroded components will be placed into a custom-made vat, which uses a citric solution and a pH of less than 1.0, which dissolves corrosion, lime and scale from water-wetted surfaces and makes the part look like new. That product is environmentally friendly. When expended, it reaches a pH of 5.8 to 6.0. The manufacturer of this vat tells us that the waste from the process is clean enough to pour down a city drain, but we do employ other disposalmethods,” said Gondron.
“If a component is not heavily corroded, after disassembly everything goes through the washer — cylinder heads, water pumps, crankcases, nuts and bolts, fasteners, etc. We are getting away from acids and chemicals for cleaning and going to high-pressure soapy water. With this machine, all we have are solids to dispose of. The water is reclaimed and reused.” Additionally, all components are cleaned again after any machining operation prior to final assembly. There is even a dedicated parts washer to clean new components prior to them being installed.
According to Gondron, each cylinder head is then pressure tested to make sure the casting is in good condition.
“If the casting is in good condition, we then remove the valve seats and valve guides with hydraulic presses. The casting then moves to another station where new parts are installed. It is again pressure tested and then sent to the next station for the machining process,” said Gondron.
The new facility is equipped with machining centers to cut valve seats, bore connecting rods, machine valve guides and oil pump bushings. Milling machines are in place to refurbish water pump castings. Magnaflux machines are also in place to check steel parts and castings for cracks. WPI made considerable investments in tooling for the new facility.
“We use special designed tools for the assembly,” said Gondron. “We use pneumatic torque tooling manufactured by Atlas Copco. It consists of a combination of shutoff nut runners and stall torque tooling with ranges from 81 to 881 Nm. The shutoff-style nut runners have four user-selectable torque settings with the simple flip of a lever. Custom reaction bars attached tothe torque tool allow single-handedoperation with no operator strain. In addition to the safety aspect, the productiongain is considerable.”
While the engine is in the main shop, it is placed on an Airfloat LLC air skid and moved to a preliminary pre-prep area outside the first dynamometer room. “Here we will add oiland wiring harnesses, fix unexpected oil leaks and add a flywheel adapter for the drive shaft to dynamometerattachment. We will then move the engine to the dyno room and attachthe engines to the dynamometer, attach the remote computer controlsand the closed-loop cooling system.We feel that each engine will be in thedyno room an average of four hours. The engine’s fuel system will require adjustments, and a preliminary breakin before loading along with the finaladjustments. We expect that a full load test will last one hour.”
The rebuild facility utilizes two model DS4010 dynamometers manufactured by Taylor Dynamometer in ilwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A. Each dynamometer is designed to operate at up to 2609 kW at 2800 r/min. “Our application will be limiting the output to 1864 kW at 1200 r/min and 14 828 Nm of torque,” said Gondron. “Each dynamometer is equipped with Taylor’s DynPro instrumentation package for recording and viewing engine performance during
testing. In addition to monitoring normal parameters such as speed, horsepower and torque, we have the capability to monitor eight pressure points and 24 temperature points in each cell. Two dynamometers provide us the flexibility to run one cell while the other cell is in preparation or rig-down mode,” he added. “Additionally, it allows for significant internal inspection of an engine without stalling the process.”
After testing, engines are painted using an electric static paint process that, according to Gondron, “puts no pollutants in the air whatsoever.”
“We looked for efficiencies in the rebuild process, as well as ways to build more quality into the finished product,” said Jones. “The end result is a green facility that maximizes efficiencies to build a product that matches a new engine in performance and environmental standards.”
“Typically, it took us 10 or more days to rebuild an engine and get it ready to run,” said Jones. “In time, once we perfect our processes, with all of the automation and streamlined processes and efficiencies, we hope to produce a finished engine per shift.”
“We are taking older engines and bringing them up to today’s standards,” added Gondron. “A customer could perpetually use a core, constantly upgrading the technologies as they are introduced. For example, VHP Series 2engines that were manufactured prior to the advent of emissions requirements can be updated with WaukeshaEngine’s air-fuel controls and electronic ignition controls to assist in meetingtoday’s emissions requirements,” said Gondron. “The later-designed VHP Series 2 engines that were manufactured with the 25.4 mm head studs can
be upgraded to the new VHP Series Four design and gain additional horsepower and performance.”