Lean Six Sigma / Power Generation

High-precision manufacturing

In this Plant Profile, a California turboexpander manufacturer doubles in size.

By Mike Bacidore, chief editor

pump turbo

Turbomachinery Symposium

L.A. Turbine will be exhibiting in Booth 1939 at the 43rd Turbomachinery/30th Pump Symposia in Houston on Sept. 22-25. Learn more at http://pumpturbo.tamu.edu.

When a manufacturer increases its production space, it means more jobs and more equipment. At the onset of 2014, L.A. Turbine doubled its manufacturing facility size, upping the square footage from 45,000 to 90,000. The new plant in Valencia, California, required new staff, new procedures and processes, and new vendor resources. “More importantly, it kept high-precision manufacturing jobs in California,” says Danny Mascari, president of the turboexpander equipment company.

“With the move, the company made additional investments in state-of-the-art equipment for leading-edge design work, root cause analysis, precision manufacturing, and real-time environment testing,” says Mascari. “Software, equipment, and manufacturing investments allow for quicker design and manufacturing response times and increased accuracy of precision-engineered parts and equipment, resulting in the right equipment being designed to meet and exceed performance requirements the first time and on time.”

plant profileL.A. Turbine was founded by CEO John Maskaluk in January 2003 to serve the aftermarket spare parts and service needs for OEM turboexpander equipment installed within oil and gas processing plants. It quickly gained a reputation for providing premium services and quick turnaround, resulting in rapid growth, so, in 2007, it made the decision to design, engineer, and manufacture its own brand of turboexpanders.

The company has grown exponentially since the company’s inception in 2003 and has expanded its staffing from fewer than 10 employees to more than 114. “Approximately 50 of those positions are in the manufacturing, inspection, testing, and assembly area,” explains Mascari. “In order to accommodate the market demand and growth in both new equipment and aftermarket service, the company relocated to a new facility in January 2014. Over the past five years L.A. Turbine has grown 275%.” The company now provides new equipment design and repairs and redesigns existing turboexpanders, as well as providing expert field service and spare parts for all brands and configurations of turboexpanders worldwide.

plant profile2Rick Estabrook, manufacturing manager, and John Wilson, facilities manager, oversee the 79,000 sq ft of plant floor space dedicated to the design, manufacture, repair, inspection, testing, and assembly of turboexpander equipment, while the remaining space is committed to the engineering, purchasing, management, and administrative needs of the business.

“L.A. Turbine delivers innovative turboexpander design, manufacturing, and testing — from concept to commissioning — of application-specific, highly engineered turboexpanders used in hydrocarbon processing, geothermal power generation, and other industrial power-recovery and refrigeration applications,” says Mascari. “A global field service team provides commissioning, diagnostic, maintenance, and emergency support 24/7/365.”

The company’s client list and reach extends to five continents. In addition to the Valencia manufacturing facility, L.A. Turbine also does light manufacturing and repairs at service centers located in Texas and Belgium. In addition to serving North America, U.S. staff supports the needs of Canada, South America, Asia, and Australia. European headquarters in Belgium serve the sales and customer service needs of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Turboexpanders are installed in plants situated in the sub-zero climate of northern Russia and the searing desert heat of the Middle East. Extreme performance by the equipment is required within these conditions. Ongoing global information sharing among on-site, as well as field-service, personnel contributes to process improvements in engineering, manufacturing, assembly and service.

plant profile3“The company’s operation is integrated with broad engineering expertise and analytical competency, multi-axial CNC machining capabilities, mechanical assembly, PLC and electrical system design and assembly, complete metal fabrication, and testing facilities that include resonance, balancing, pressure, performance, and mechanical run test,” explains Mascari. “All engineering design and development processes are controlled by our ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System. A key point of difference between us and the competition is our control of the manufacturing process. The company made a strategic decision to control the entire manufacturing process from concept through commissioning, giving us the ability to provide a quicker-to-market solution, ensure quality control, provide immediate response to customer service issues, and deliver competitively priced products.”

Mike Bacidore is chief editor of Plant Services and has been an integral part of the Putman Media editorial team since 2007, when he was managing editor of Control Design magazine. Previously, he was editorial director at Hughes Communications and a portfolio manager of the human resources and labor law areas at Wolters Kluwer. Bacidore holds a BA from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. He is an award-winning columnist, earning a Gold Regional Award and a Silver National Award from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He may be reached at 630-467-1300 ext. 444 or mbacidore@putman.net or check out his .

Turboexpanders operate at extremely high speeds, temperatures, and pressures within demanding environments. The equipment requires precise engineering, manufacturing, and assembly. L.A. Turbine has invested in state-of-the technology, tools, and software including the CNC machinery coupled with machining simulation software, which guarantees reliable parts with every machine process. “Our testing operation utilizes the latest automated diagnostics software to ensure accuracy of our engineered solutions,” says Mascari.

Investment in technology-based design and manufacturing tools include:

  • HAAS EC-1600 — horizontal CNC machine center (HMC)
  • HAAS ST-40 — CNC lathe machine
  • Kent USA SGS-1230AHD — CNC surface grinder
  • Cincinnati Machines multi-surface grinding center — universal OD/ID machine
  • FaroArm technology
  • ADRE 408 DSPi and ADRE Sxp software.

L.A. Turbine also has developed effectiveness and efficiency best practices by controlling all aspects of the process from concept to commissioning.

Read more Plant Profiles.