Siemens strengthens U.S. gas turbine manufacturing

In mid-November 2011, Siemens Energy substantially increased its capacity to produce advanced gas turbines in the U.S. by officially opening a 450,000 ft2 (41,800 m2) expansion to the company’s Charlotte, N.C., facility. The state-of-the-art manufacturing center adds ability to build gas turbines, in addition to generators and steam turbines already produced there.


Completed in 13 months, expansion of the Charlotte plant creates a manufacturing hub for Siemens fossil-power generation equipment intended mainly for the 60-Hz market in North and South America. However, 50-Hz machines also could be built at Charlotte as dictated by future production needs. The new plant reportedly incorporates the most advanced gas turbine production know-how in North America. In addition, the plant will provide a key service center function. Servicing customer equipment and producing replacement parts are significant parts of Siemens’ fossil-power generation business.

An SGT6-5000F gas turbine (with rotor shown) is the first machine to be shipped from Siemens’ manufacturing facility in Charlotte, N.C. Courtesy: Siemens Energy.

"The Charlotte plant will not only supply the U.S. and other countries that use 60-Hz grids, but will also export our advanced power plant technology around the world,” said Michael Suess, member of Siemens AG Managing Board and CEO of the company's Energy Sector. “We project that exports from this location will increase to more than $400 million annually. After Berlin, Charlotte is the second key pillar in our international manufacturing network.”

Adding gas-turbine manufacturing capacity is in line with worldwide demand for high-efficiency gas power plants. Most energy-efficient of gas power plant types is the combined-cycle (CC) plant, where the gas turbine, steam turbine, and generator comprise three main elements—all to be built at Charlotte. The fourth major part of a CC gas power plant is the heat recovery steam generator (HRSG).

Among Siemens’ advanced gas turbine offerings, the largest is the H-class machine. In May 2011, a 50-Hz version of that turbine (SGT5-8000H) achieved record 60.75% efficiency in a CC power plant (read more at online Ref. 1).

According to Siemens, the present industry trend to build efficient gas power plants is driven by:

  • High availability of natural gas
  • Aging power plant inventory
  • Desire to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Apropos to the last point above, producing 60-Hz gas turbines in the U.S. means a shorter shipping distance to more customers, which will also help reduce CO2 emissions. This is in addition to inherently lower CO2 emissions of gas power plants.

Dignitaries at the inauguration of Siemens’ new Charlotte manufacturing plant included North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue (right); Randy Zwirn, president and CEO of Siemens Energy Inc. and CEO Siemens Global Energy Service Div. (left); and Mark Pringl

Siemens’ investment in the Charlotte facility is said to be more than $350 million. The plant expansion is expected to create 700 new jobs initially, with the total number of existing and projected jobs at the site growing to 1,800 by 2014. A comparable number of additional indirect jobs are foreseen at suppliers and service provider companies.

First gas turbine shipped

Two other noteworthy developments coincided with the plant expansion celebrations at Charlotte, N.C., on Nov. 16, 2011. First product out from the new factory is an SGT6-5000F gas turbine destined for the La Caridad I combined-cycle power plant located in Sonora State, Mexico. Siemens is building that 250-megawatt (MW) CC power plant as a turnkey project for Minera México—a subsidiary of Grupo México, the country's largest mining company and one of the world's largest copper producers.

Besides the gas turbine, other major Siemens equipment going to La Caridad I include SST-900 steam turbine, electric generators, HRSG, and complete electrical and SPPA-T3000 instrumentation and control equipment. Scheduled for commercial operation in summer 2013, La Caridad I will supply electric power to Minera México’s copper mines.

Also announced at the plant ceremonies was the signing of another agreement to supply a second 250-MW combined cycle power plant to Grupo México for its La Caridad 2 project, located adjacent to La Caridad Unit 1. Equipment to be supplied for this power plant is much the same as for Unit 1, with another SGT6-5000F gas turbine as the key element. Commercial operation of La Caridad 2 is expected in spring 2014. Siemens’ role comprises full turnkey supply of both plant units, which includes plant engineering, procurement, and construction.

In a larger view, Siemens has had a long history of providing electrification and power plant technology to Mexico. In fact, the first series of turnkey CC power plants built in Mexico was supplied by Siemens.

U.S. market

The U.S. electricity market is the world's largest, comprising one-fifth of both global demand and power plant capacity. Power plant solutions from Siemens provide a third of the U.S. power supply, according to the company. "We consider the U.S. a very attractive market, and we will play an important role in covering U.S. and worldwide demand for clean, affordable, and dependable energy," Suess added.

Some 10,000 employees make up Siemens Energy Sector’s workforce in the U.S.—representing about 17% of total employees spread over all 50 states.

Frank J. Bartos, PE, is a Control Engineering contributing content specialist. Reach him at 



Ref. 1 – “Siemens gas turbine breaks 60% efficiency barrier”[tt_news]=50563


No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.