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A Steam Turbine and Generator Atop Another

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Unique installation of two steam turbines.

The attached photo is of the HP section of a vertical compound steam turbine taken during a major overhaul. There were three of these units manufactured for Henry Ford and installed in the Ford Motor Company Power Plant inside the River Rouge Complex in Detroit, Michigan. The units were each rated at 110 Mw and went into service in 1931, 1936 & 1939. Unit designations are HHA / K1. They were made with the HP turbine mounted above the LP turbine. The generator had a single casing with two stator cores, one on top of the other. They were built this way because of size limitations in the powerhouse. There was just enough room at the back of the generator to remove the generator rotor, turning it as it was almost out of the stator. The lack of lay down space meant putting everything on flatbed rail cars and moving them out of the building.

Henry Ford and specified that he wanted 3 - 100 MW units in his power plant. Only cross compound units were capable of generating 100 MW at that time. The size limitations caused GE to originally refused to supply the units say there wasn't enough room. Henry Ford told GE that if they couldn't build them, he would find someone that could. At that GE reconsidered and met the space requirements by putting the HP turbine on top of the LP turbine instead of along side of it.

The powerhouse was originally a showplace with polished tile floors and walls. The turbine lagging had chrome plated strips at the bolting joints with chrome plated bolt head. The slot in the bolts in the vertical joints all lined up vertically and horizontally in the horizontal joints. Handrails along the stairs up to and around the hp turbine were chrome plated and highly polished. The valve control was a polished brass ships wheel. Henry Ford was very proud of the plant and had people that did nothing but keep everything clean and polished.

The photo shows John Lovelace (GE Field Service Engineer 1970 - 1978) holding a taper gage while taking wheel clearances as Jack Lewis (GE Field Service Engineer and member of Turbine Constructors Hall of Fame, 1950 - ?) looks on. This picture was taken in 1971 during a major overhaul. Because of the lack of space at the powerhouse, the HP section was taken to the Detroit Service Shop and disassembled there, repaired and reassembled, then taken back to the powerhouse. Jack Lewis was running the overhaul and I was following the HP work in the Service shop. During the overhaul the first stage wheel was removed for a pinned bushed wheel modification to reestablish shrink fit on the rotor. - John Lovelace

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Last modified Saturday, Mar-18-2006 05:21 PM
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