“We believe in continuous growth opportunities”

DHI and GF Precicast worked together very closely to make the precision-casting airfoils development more efficient and faster.

“With GF Precicast, we can rely on our requirements being met”

Jeon Chae Hong is team leader of the Hot Part Engineering Team and Principal Research Engineer at Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction in Changwon (South Korea). He has worked for the company for eleven years in various positions. In the production of the 270-megawatt gas turbine, he and his engineering team, led by DHI´s Senior Research Engineer Jeongsung Lee, are working closely with the engineering team comprised of Wendel Niles, Michele Imbriale and Adam Mierzejewski from GF Precicast.

Mr. Chae Hong, what is the challenge in building a gas turbine?
The major challenging point in this development is keeping to the timeline. To ensure this DHI tries to squeeze the development period, especially the casting.

How does GF Precicast support you?
The production of precision-casting airfoils with internal cooling passages that have to withstand extremely high operating temperatures is very challenging. In addition, the solution has to be suitably competitive on price and offer rapid availability of the precision-casting parts. With GF Precicast, we can rely on our requirements being met.

What do you appreciate about working with GF Precicast?
Within a very short period we developed a good relationship. GF Precicast’s ability to meet all our demands is impressive. In our sector we value solution-driven work – at the end of the day, it is about high-quality products. Close collaboration often gives rise to long-standing partnerships with suppliers. We look forward to our shared journey with GF Precicast.

Doosan Heavy Industries (DHI) is a leading manufacturer of power generation equipment. In 2020, this South Korean company will bring its first in-house designed gas turbine to market. GF Precicast, part of GF Casting Solutions, is DHI’s strategic partner, equipping the turbine with heat-resistant precision-casting parts.

In recent decades, global electricity consumption has risen steadily. The reason for this is unabated and ongoing economic growth, particularly in growing markets such as China, Russia and India. In order to meet the rising demand for electricity, many countries are promoting the operation of gas power plants. Doosan Heavy Industries (DHI) in Changwon (South Korea), with annual sales of more than USD 5.7 billion and more than 7’000 employees worldwide in 2017, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of power generation equipment and systems. The company provides electricity producers in South Korea and abroad with boilers, steam turbines, generators and components for gas turbines.

GF Precicast has many years of experience in precision casting

Gas turbine power plants are the most commonly used alternative to coal and nuclear power generation and as backup power plants are a perfect complement to renewable energy production. DHI therefore decided – on the basis of its extensive expertise and experience in component manufacturing – to bring a powerful 270-megawatt gas turbine of its own design to the electricity generation market. “This turbine is the result of six years of research and development work,” explains Jeon Chae Hong, Team Leader of the Hot Part Engineering Team and Principal Research Engineer at DHI. GF Precicast has been a partner of DHI since 2017 and has been involved in the development work. It is producing three different precision-casting airfoils for the new DHI turbine. “DHI selected us as their supplier because of our many years of experience in the production of high-temperature-application precision-casting parts for the gas turbine industry,” explains Daniel Crot, Head of Sales & Marketing at GF Precicast in Novazzano (Switzerland). “Besides DHI we currently supply more than 15 other customers in the gas turbine industry,” according to Crot. These include market leaders such as Siemens, GE Power and Ansaldo Energia.

Jeon Chae Hong is persuaded of the value of the collaborative arrangement: “GF Precicast has very modern, high-tech manufacturing processes. And they have a good reputation in the gas turbine industry. This is why GF Precicast is the right strategic partner for us.”

Since November 2018 GF Precicast has been equipping the new DHI gas turbine with three high-temperature-application turbine airfoils. “In the current market, we estimate that we will sell up to ten gas turbines a year,” says Jeon Chae Hong. “Initially we are focusing on the US and Saudi Arabia markets, currently the two most important markets for industrial gas turbines.” For GF Precicast, ten gas turbines a year means supplying more than 2’000 additional parts per year.

Jeon Chae Hong (center) visits GF Precicast in Novazzano (Switzerland).

Daniel Crot (center) and his project management team in Novazzano.

Employee Mauro Albizzati from the Heat Treatment Department machines some cast components.

Giuseppe Ballarino works in the Finishing Department at GF Precicast, where the cast components are deburred and polished.

Daniel Crot, Head of Sales & Marketing at GF Precicast, shows a precision-casting airfoil.

Jeon Chae Hong next to a model of an industrial gas turbine. In 2020 DHI will bring its first in-house designed, 270-megawatt gas turbine to the market.

Growth of electricity consumption is pushing up demand for gas turbines

Rising electricity consumption combined with sustainability challenges and the available natural gas reserves are making gas power plants very relevant for electricity production. “We believe in continuous growth opportunities in the industrial gas turbine business for GF Precicast as the energy produced from gas is still among the most competitive energies,” says Crot. GF Precicast seeks to utilize this potential, he says. “We want to maintain a broad customer base around the world and we want to do all we can to make our customers successful.” From this perspective, DHI and GF Precicast make perfect partners. That can already be seen in the work they have done together so far.

“DHI initially set tight delivery schedules,” recalls Daniel Crot. “Accordingly, DHI’s and our project management team worked together very closely on a solution to make development of the precision-casting airfoils more efficient and faster,” explains Crot. He places great value on DHI’s willingness to collaborate and is proud of their good working relationship as partners. Jeon Chae Hong readily repays the compliment: “Professionalism, proactive management and state-of-the-art precision-casting processes make it easy to deal with challenges that arise.” That applies both to DHI’s new 270-megawatt gas turbine and to even more powerful future developments.

“GF Precicast has very modern, high-tech manufacturing processes. And a good reputation.”

Jeon Chae Hong Principal Research Engineer at DHI

This is how an industrial gas turbine produces electricity

A gas turbine for electricity production consists of a compressor that compresses air that is sucked in. In the combustion chamber, the compressed air is ignited with gas. The air-gas mixture quickly expands under high pressure and transfers its energy via turbine blades to a drive shaft. The shaft is connected to a generator, which produces electricity. Industrial gas turbines work like gas turbines in aircraft, which produce the thrust. More about industrial gas turbines can be found at the GF Precicast website.

GF Precicast produces cored and solid buckets and nozzles for industrial gas turbines. These are located in the hot part of the turbine, for example a first stage bucket

… or a second stage bucket

… or a second stage nozzle

… or a 3rd stage nozzle.

About GF Precicast

In line with its Strategy 2020, GF Casting Solutions is expanding into higher-value businesses and offering even more global solutions. For that reason, at the beginning of 2018 GF Casting Solutions acquired Precicast Industrial Holding SA. GF Precicast produces precision-casting parts as well as additive manufacturing components for customers in the energy and aerospace industries. A share of 75% of its precision-casting parts go to the European market, while 10% are destined for the US market. Asia accounts for a 15% share. Through its strategic partnership with DHI, GF Precicast is significantly increasing the latter share. GF Precicast has more than 800 employees in Switzerland and Romania.