Unique cutaway gives Southern Star team a greater perspective on how our engines work

Southern Star’s Training Center in Hesston, Kansas features a first-of-its-kind GMV-TF natural gas engine with a cutaway of a power cylinder. This unique engine allows trainees to see all the components involved in a power cycle.

“You can see the piston, the exhaust, the intake port, the fuel injection valve, and the spark plug. We can rotate the engine and watch it go up and down,” explained Junior Cerecero, Pipeline Technical Training Specialist.

Junior came up with the idea for a cutaway on the unit so that Southern Star team members could see the inner workings of the engines on our system to gain a greater knowledge of how to operate and perform maintenance on them.

The Cooper Bessemer GMV Four Cylinder Turbo Flow was originally built back in the 1950’s and was used at Southern Star’s compressor station in Tonganoxie, Kansas before coming to the Hesston Training Center. The process of moving the unit started in October 2020. It was disassembled in Tonganoxie, refurbished, and brought to the Training Center.

Junior Cerecero leads the basic engine class which utilizes the 55,000-pound engine at Hesston’s Training Center. The class helps team members across Southern Star’s multi-state footprint gain experience and confidence for the inspection work they perform on the job.

“The training starts in the classroom. We go through a complete power cycle, explaining how it works from the time the piston hits bottom dead center to the time it hits top dead-center. Then, we go out to the engine and look at its components. Some people have never seen one before and they leave the training center knowing they can work on it,” Junior said.

As part of the class, a full overhaul of a GMV-TF power cylinder is performed, giving team members the opportunity to see what it’s like and to practice the tasks they’ll perform in the engine room.

“We have a safe, noise reduced, controlled environment, allowing us to train without a lot of distractions,” Junior explained. “That makes the Training Center an ideal place to perform hands-on, precise training. Everybody gets a turn at it, and everybody gets to work with it hands-on, this professional training is being performed in an environmentally friendly atmosphere, with the most cost effective and economical way possible.”

Southern Star is utilizing this first-of-its-kind engine and other cutting-edge training tools to make our team members more educated and more prepared for their jobs. This improves the safety and performance of individual team members and our operations as a whole.