We certainly live in interesting times. Our cover story looks into the repercussions of the Covid-19 outbreak and the oil price collapse. It provides predictions about the downturn and how long it might take for normality to resume.
Additionally, it lays out what turbomachinery OEMs, suppliers and service companies around the globe are doing in response. A few are struggling, but many appear to be doing OK.
Most are positive about the future. They have been through ups and downs before and lived to tell the tale. Following events such as the Arab oil embargo, the Iranian hostage crisis, 9/11 or the most recent recession, they managed to come out relatively unscathed. In some cases, they thrived.
Who knows, but another upswing might be right around the corner. The shale oil boom, for example, was a surprising windfall few predicted. And whatever pain and suffering results from low oil prices, they always eventually recover.
In fact, the last major oil price drop in the middle of the last decade prompted the entire industry to eliminate specification bloat and general inefficiency. It took a leaner and more nimble oil and gas supply chain to facilitate the profitable exploitation of shale oil and gas.
Our survey of turbomachinery OEMs, partners and aftermarket support specialists revealed that most companies are wisely trimming costs. But a word of caution: the slashing of marketing budgets may appear sensible in the short term. But it could be disastrous in the long term. If business is slow, it is vital to get the word out in any way possible about your products and services. Failure to do so could prolong any downturn.
The rest of the issue has plenty to offer. A timely review of gas turbine sales trends highlights some of the problems facing OEMs as well as areas of opportunity.
We also have the first story from our new associate editor Rory Pasquariello. He tackles the microturbine industry with an overview of the various niches where these machines are succeeding.
A story about mitigating failure mechanisms in turbomachinery by Proto Manufacturing addresses how engineered residual stresses can be used to reduce the amount of failures in turbines and compressors.
Siemens presents a novel method of overspeed impeller testing on centrifugal compressors. Sulzer rounds out the contributed section with an informative piece on coatings.
Our columnists, too, continue to maintain a high level of content value. The Myth Busters delve into steam turbine sizing, making the point that oversizing may not necessarily be a smart idea. Turbo Tips provides tips and insight on how to ensure shafts stay in alignment.
We had hoped to see many of you at the Western Turbine Users Conference in late March. It was not to be. For a while there, it appeared the Turbomachinery Expo in London in late June would happen. But it was recently cancelled.
Let’s hope the HRSG Forum in Orlando in late July and the Turbomachinery Symposium in September take place. It has been too long since we crossed paths. ■