Power Engineering Machine Building

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Power Engineering Machine Building


the branch of machine building that manufactures prime movers and attendant equipment for producing various energy carriers (such as steam and gas) that serve as the working fluid of heat engines.

The principal products of the branch are steam turbines, hydroturbines, gas turbines, equipment for atomic and geother-mal electric power plants, steam-gas turbine installations, internal-combustion engines (except for motor vehicle, aircraft, tractor, and locomotive engines, which are manufactured by the corresponding branches of industry), steam power units, gas-turbine compressors and pumps, steam generators, steam boilers, equipment for industrial and domestic power engineering, and forced-draft equipment. Other products manufactured include automation equipment for regulating fuel combustion processes and boiler supply, gas feed to gas turbines, the pressure in steam mains, the temperature of superheated steam, and the speed of turbine units.

The economic importance of power engineering machine building lies in its role in creating a technical basis for power engineering. With respect to the design features of power equipment produced, the branch comprises the manufacture of machines and heat-exchange equipment. The manufacture of machines, in turn, is divided into the fabrication of turbines (steam turbines, hydroturbines, and gas turbines) and reciprocating engines (internal-combustion engines and steam power units).

The industrial production of various types of power engineering equipment began in the late 18th century. Steam engines and boilers were made in Great Britain in the 1780’s, hydroturbines in France in the 1830’s, internal-combustion engines in France and Germany in the 1880’s, and steam turbines in Great Britain in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

Steam engines and boilers were first manufactured in Russia in the early 19th century, and the industrial production of internal-combustion engines was initiated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1907 the St. Petersburg (now Leningrad) Metal Works built the country’s first steam turbine, which had a power of 200 kilowatts. However, the industry as yet had no specialized enterprises. The need for power engineering equipment was met to a large extent by imports; in particular, 92 percent of the steam turbines for electric power plants came from abroad (1916).

Development of power engineering machine building was tied to implementation of the GOELRO plan. During the years of industrialization, machine-building factories producing power engineering equipment were renovated, expanded, and assigned specialized production programs; new plants were also built. The largest enterprises specializing in turbine manufacture are production associations: the Leningrad Metal Works, the Neva Machine-building Plant, the Urals Turbine Engine Plant (Sverdlovsk), the S. M. Kirov Kharkov Turbine Plant, and the Kaluga Turbine Plant. Power equipment for atomic power plants is manufactured at the Izhora Factory (a production association), the Volga-Don Atomic Power Engineering Machine-building Plant, and the Podol’sk Machine-building Plant. Boiler equipment is made by the production association Krasnyi Kotelshchik (Taganrog), the Barnaul and Biisk boiler plants, and the Belgorod Power Engineering Machine-building Plant. Diesel engines are produced at the Dvigate’ Revoliutsii Plant (Gorky) and the Russkii Dizel’ Plant in Leningrad.

Soviet power engineering machine building has recorded many major achievements, including the creation of equipment for supercritical steam parameters—24 meganewtons per m2 (MN/m2) pressure at a temperature of 560°C—and of power units rated at 300, 500, 800, and 1,200 megawatts (MW). A single-shaft steam turbine manufactured in 1970 for the Slaviansk State Regional Electric Power Plant is rated at 800 MW for a steam pressure of 24 MN/m2 at 545°C. In 1964 the world’s largest mixed-flow hydroturbine, rated at 508 MW, was built for the Krasnoiarsk Hydroelectric Power Plant, and in 1977 a 640-MW hydroturbine was built for the Saian-Shushenskaia Hydroelectric Power Plant. A 100-MW gas-turbine installation was produced in 1968, and turbines for district heat supply rated at 100, 215, and 300 MW went into production in 1951. Turbines rated at 1,200 and 500 MW for a steam pressure of 13 MN/m2 at 510°C have been created for a highly flexible power unit at the Kostroma State Regional Electric Power Plant. The growth of production of the principal types of power equipment is shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Production of the principal types of power engineering equipment in the USSR
1 Except motor vehicle units
Turbines (thousand units) ...............
Turbines (gigawatts) ...............1.214.616.218.919.0
Steam boilers generating more than 10 tons of steam per hr (thousand tons of steam per hr) ...............4.453.248.355.653.2
Diesel engines1 (million hp) ...............0.313.616.518.618.9

In other socialist countries power engineering machine building is developing at a high rate. Power equipment for fossil-fuel-fired steam power plants is manufactured in the German Democratic Republic, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia. One of the largest enterprises for the manufacture of power equipment is the K. Marx Magdeburg Plant in the German Democratic Republic. Steam boilers and turbines rated at 60–500 MW are produced in Czechoslovakia. In the 1970’s there has been increasing cooperation among the member countries of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON) in the production of equipment for atomic power plants.

In the capitalist countries, power engineering machine building is most developed in the USA, Japan, and the countries of Western Europe (see Table 2).

Table 2. Production of the principal types of power engineering equipment in selected capitalist countries
 USAJapanCommon Market countries
Steam turbines (gigawatts)25.9533.012.1712.022.8837.0
Hydroturbines (gigawatts)
Steam boilers (thousand tons of steam per hr)96.580.

In the USA power units produced for fossil-fuel-fired steam power plants are rated at 660, 800, 880, 900, 950, 1,205, 1,220, and 1,300 MW for steam with supercritical parameters of 24.7 MN/m2 pressure at 538°C. Other countries also manufacture power units with various ratings: in Great Britain, 500, 550, and 660 MW; in the Federal Republic of Germany, 371 and 600 MW; in France, 250 and 600 MW; and in Japan, 150,250,450,500, and 600 MW, including units designed for supercritical steam parameters. The Federal Republic of Germany, France, Italy, Great Britain, the USA, and Japan manufacture power units rated at 560, 900,1,000, and 1,100 MW for atomic power plants. Power equipment for fossil-fuel-fired steam, hydroelectric, and atomic power plants are produced by several large companies: in the USA, by General Electric Company, Westinghouse Electric Corporation, and General Atomic; in Great Britain, by Babcock and Wilcox, Ltd.; in the Federal Republic of Germany, by Kraftwerk Union, and Brown Boveri; in Italy, by Franco Tosi and Fiat; in Canada, by Canadian Vickers, Ltd.; in France, by Alstom and Framatom; and in Japan, by Mitsubishi Electric, Toshiba, and Hitachi.


Materialy XXVs”ezda KPSS. Moscow, 1977.
Kozlov, I. D., and E. K. Shmakova. Sotrudnichestvo stran-chlenov SEV v energetike. Moscow, 1973.
50 let turbostroeniia na LMZ, 1924–1974. Edited by P. S. Bochkov. Leningrad, 1976.
Energetika SSSR v 1976–1980 godakh. Moscow, 1977.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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