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What are the Histories of Turbo Research, Inc and TRI Transmission & Bearing Corporation? What is the Relationship Between Them?

Turbo Research, Inc. is a corporation that was established under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in September 1961, and has been an operating entity continuously since that date.
Turbo Research, Inc was founded as a consulting engineering corporation for solving rotor vibration and bearing design problems.

In 1973, Turbo Research, Inc. began to manufacture and supply bearings, seals, and related components to implement solutions recommended in the TRI engineering reports to customers.
By 1990, TRI had established itself as a manufacturer of reliable components for the utility industry. It had a substantial number of TRI Align-A-Pad ® Bearings and upgraded Heavy Duty Fluid Drives in the 14,000 hp and above range for Boiler Feed Pump service in electric generation plants across the US and elsewhere with an excellent service record.

In the 1990s, with an increasing emphasis on manufacturing, Turbo Research, Inc. (TRI) management decided to establish a Division with a name that was primarily oriented toward manufacturing. The new entity was named TRI Transmission & Bearing Corp. and was registered with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a “doing business as” (dba) name for Turbo Research, Inc.

How does TRI prefer to operate with its customers to solve customers’ problems ?

Today, the same “modus operandi” exists as was developed in the 1970s: provide a single source for solving a customer’s problem. Begin with consulting engineering activities to identify and to recommend options to solve a problem, discuss these with the customer, manufacture the hardware required, provide technical direction for installation in the customer’s facility, and monitor the start-up to confirm that the problem has been resolved.

What are the Types and Sizes of Fluid Drives that TRI Manufactures?

Fluid drives can be rated in terms of circuit size (inches) or in terms of power transmitted to the load equipment. Examples are as follows:

Boiler feed pump service at 3600 rpm: The largest Variable Speed Fluid Drives that TRI has in service are 30,000 hp and this size uses two 27 inch diameter circuits.

The smallest TRI variable speed fluid drive uses a 23 inch circuit to transmit 6000 hp at 3600 rpm input speed.

Electricity generation: Another version of the 23 inch size TRI variable speed fluid drive uses a variable input speed and a constant output speed of 1800 rpm. This application uses a variable input speed derived from a variable speed gas turbine used primarily to drive a large gas compressor. A parallel path in the load gearbox provides a variable input speed (1925 rpm min to 2888 rpm max) to the input of a TRI Variable Speed Fluid Drive to transmit power to a 1 MW synchronous electric generator at the fixed speed of 1800 rpm.

Fan drives: the largest TRI Variable Speed Fluid Drive uses a 70 inch diameter circuit (impeller and runner). It operates up to 600 rpm and it transmits up to 6000 hp to the fan.

TRI can manufacture larger and smaller fluid drives, depending upon the requirements of the customer.

Fluid Clutch: Another form of fluid drive is an “on and off” design, which may better be described as a “Fluid Clutch”.

TRI has manufactured several models of this type. One size with a 27 inch circuit transmits up to 500 hp to a water pump from a 1200 rpm electric motor. The objective in this application is to shut the pump almost off when the water is not needed, while keeping the motor running, thereby saving considerable electric power and reduces maintenance.

TRI manufactures two sizes of fluid clutches for diesel engine driven applications: One size is a 19.5 inch circuit size that transmits 800 hp at 2100 rpm diesel engine speed. A larger one uses a 23 inch impeller and transmits up to 1200 hp at 2100 rpm diesel engine speed.

Can TRI Design and Manufacture the Fluid Drive I Need?

As can be seen from the above examples, there is a wide range of applications for variable speed fluid drives.
In most cases, TRI engineers and designers can adapt existing designs to create the fluid drive that will be suitable for your particular application, and TRI can manufacture fluid drives in quantities as needed. In some cases, an almost entirely new design and manufacturing package is required, and TRI has the technical capabilities to do so.

Can TRI design and manufacture the fluid drive I need?

TRI engineers and designers can design the oil conditioning system to suit the specific needs and circumstances of a given application.

Can TRI provide the complete package for a new fluid drive with the oil conditioning system?

TRI engineers and designers can design the oil conditioning system to suit the specific needs and circumstances of a given application.

What Types and Sizes of Bearings can TRI Design and Manufacture for Turbines, Generators, and Other Types of Rotating Machines?

TRI engineers and designers can design tilting pad and/or fixed bore (elliptical or circular) bearings for journal sizes from 1 inch to over 30 inches in diameter. Machines in which TRI bearings are found vary from 600 rpm to 50,000 rpm. In most cases, the design for a specific new application is adapted from one or more of the existing bearing designs in TRI’s vast repertoire. TRI has its own proprietary computer programs to arrive at suitable designs for specific applications. In almost all cases, TRI develops its own design, though when a customer wants an exact duplicate of a particular bearing, TRI can and will provide such a bearing.

TRI prefers to obtain the envelope for an existing or new bearing, and develop the design that is most suitable for solving the existing problem, yet remaining within the available space. In this way, TRI can assure the customer that the bearing design will solve the specific problem or concern that exists.

In certain cases, TRI designs and builds very specialized journal bearings for unique applications. One such type is called a “squeeze film damper bearing” to control sub-synchronous vibrations of very flexible rotors that operate at a high ratio of operating speed to first critical speed.

TRI is interested in attacking complex rotor-dynamic and bearing problems that have not been solved by others.