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60 Years of Turbo Expo OPEN ACCESS

[+] Author Notes
Lee S. Langston

Professor Emeritus. Mechanical Engineering, University of Connecticut

Mechanical Engineering 137(03), 52-53 (Mar 01, 2015) (2 pages) Paper No: ME-15-MAR-5; doi: 10.1115/1.2015-Mar-5

This article presents success and failure stories of turbo expo. For the first three score years, the International Gas Turbine Institute’s (IGTI) Turbo Expo has been the pre-eminent gas turbine conference. The IGTI Turbo Expo in June 2015 will be the 60th gathering—surely a record in longevity and vitality for a single technology conference. The inaugural all-gas turbine meeting had 25 exhibitors, 6 technical sessions with a total of 17 papers and an attendance of 750. On May 8–10, 1944, ASME’s 17th National Oil and Gas Power Conference was held in Tulsa. The technical program consisted of four sessions; three on diesel engine technology and one on the newly emerging gas turbine. As the international gas turbine community grew, the number of papers sponsored increased to the point that it was obvious a separate meeting was needed. Projects and services developed, produced, and financed by IGTI have increased since 1979, supported by a staff of five to seven. One of the global areas for booming markets – and future technology – is Asia. As a reflection of this, IGTI will be holding Turbo Expo 2016 in Seoul, South Korea.

For the last three score years, the International Gas Turbine Institute’s Turbo Expo has been the preeminent gas turbine conference. Our upcoming IGTI June 15 19, 2015 Montreal Turbp Expo will be the 60th such gathering – surely a record in longevity and vitality for a single technology conference.

Our very first, then called the First Annual GasTurbine Conference and Exhibit, was held April 16-18, 1956 at the Hotel Statler in Washington, DC. This inaugural all gas turbine meeting had 25 exhibitors, 6 technical sessions with a total of 17 papers and an attendance of 750. Now fast forward 59 years to our Düsseldorf Turbp Expo in 2014. It had over 1200 reviewed papers delivered in 332 technical sessions over a five-day period. Exhibit displays were offered by over 100 companies to some 3000 attendees. We fully expect Montreal to mirror these Dusseldorf numbers, reflecting the sixty year growth of the Turbp Expo technical community and the gas turbine industry itself.

On May 8-10,1944, ASME’s 17th National Oil and Gas Power Conference was held mid-continent (wartime) at the Mayo Hotel in Tulsa, OK. The technical program consisted of four sessions (a total of ten technical papers); three on diesel engine technology and one (two papers) on the newly emerging gas turbine. As Mechanical Engineering magazine reported: “Demonstrating the technical interest aroused by the gas turbine, the first new prime mover in 50 years, a capacity crowd of approximately 250 attended the first technical session which was devoted to that subject.” In anticipation of this intense interest in new gas turbine technology, on May 7,1944, the Executive Committee of the Oil and Gas Power Division voted to forma ten member Gas Turbine Coordinating Committee (GTCC) to provide “...coordination and dissemination of new technical information on the gas turbine through periodic meetings and the presentation of technical papers.” This newly formed GTCC, with R. Tom Sawyer of the American Locomonve Company as its chairman, was the start of IGTI.

As the international gas turbine community grew, the number of papers sponsored increased to the point that it was obvious a separate meeting was needed.

The first one was held in Washington, DC., in 1956 as mentioned above, with succeeding annual meetings taking place in other U5 cities. In 1966 Zurich was chosen as the first European site for the gas turbine conference. Not long after, the annual meeting developed into its present schedule of locating in North America and Europe in alternate years.

As the gas turbine conference increased in size in the years after 1956, it became more and more apparent that a separate ASME staff was needed to take over the administration and operation. In 1978, Donald D. Hill became Director of Operations and set up his office and staff in Atlanta. In 1986 it was made an institute of ASME – the Internationa! Gas Turbine Institute.

Projects and services developed, produced and financed by IGTI have increased since 1979, supported by a staff of five to seven. The Atlanta office had been iGTl’s headquarters and hub of its international activity. Last March the ASME Board of Governors voted to close the Atlanta office, and it has been moved to new offices in Houston.

What do the next 60 years hold for IGTI? During the last 60 TURBO EXPO years, through the efforts of many thousands of engineers (many of them IGTI participants), gas turbines have come to dominate aircraft propulsion and now enable unmatched thermal efficiencies to be achieved in electric power plants. With energy a central concern in modern society, gas turbine technology will continue to be innovative, with Turbp Expo as a forum.

One of the global areas for booming markets – and future technology – is Asia. As a reflection of this, IGTI will be holding Turbp Expo 2016 in Seoul. South Korea.

This will not be IGTI’s first venture in Asia. In the past we have held technical conferences in Beijing, Jakarta and Singapore. For the last three years there has been an IGTI sponsored annual gas turbine conference in India.

The first of these was the 1985 Beijing International Gas Turbine Symposium and Exposition – the very first such Western- sponsored gas turbine conference in China. Art Wennerstrom, now retired Wright- Patterson Air Force lab director and past IGTI board chair, was a key organizer of this very early IGTI China meeting. He worked closely with Prof. Chung-Hua Wu. a fellow of the Chinese Science Academy. During pre-conference discussions, PRC government officials asked Don Hill how many Chinese attendees IGTI wanted. The number agreed upon was 25,000! As a session organizer and session chair at this Beijing conference I didn't count the many Chinese going through the exhibit area – but there was always a long, long queue outside, all during the exposition, composed mostly of aviation and power plant personnel from all over China.

The future of gas turbines and IGTI is bright. I urge you all to participate in the start of IGTI’s next 60 years.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME
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