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ACE Clearwater Enterprises

Ace Clearwater custom manufactures complex metal forms, components and welded assemblies for the Aerospace and Power Generation industries.


United States

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19815 MAGELLAN DRIVE  :::  TORRANCE, CA  90502  :::  310 538 5380

Ace Clearwater custom manufactures complex metal forms, components, and welded assemblies for the Aerospace and Power Generation industries. Our employees operate from three facilities that combine more than 700,000 sq. ft. within a 10 sq. mile radius in Southern California — Our people stand out as the best problem-solving team in the business. Founded in 1949, ACE continues our long history of dedication to continuous improvement in all areas of Engineering, Forming, Bending, Welding, Machining, Waterjet, and Assembly. Our certifications include ISO 9001:2008, AS9100C, NADCAP Accredited N.D.T., and Welding MIL-I 45208A

Products & Services
KC-135 Air Warming Exchangers

Complex Forms, Difficult Assembly. Precision Built – Another Success for ACE.


  • Multiple forms required high precision
  • Deep shapes challenged our expert Welding team
  • Special tooling made joining sections faster, more accurate
  • ACE in-house capabilities sped manufacturing process
  • Time to manufacture greatly reduced

This highly complex air distribution duct is a great demonstration of the capabilities at ACE. It required many technical innovations in order to be manufactured. The base metal of these units is aluminum. That requires a highly skilled TIG welder who joins the pieces with the corrected amount of filler metal. Dozens of complex custom welds require craftsmanship and broad experience working with the metal.

18 separate pieces make up each unit. They start in our drop hammer facility. Then, each individual part is trimmed on our 5-axis laser or our large-bed water jets and sent to welding/assembly for construction. Each “finger” has a flared base that pairs it with another, and a small “cap” piece for a stubbed end. Once the assembly is complete, a precision-machined base from our machine shop is applied.

Each hole on the fingers is precisely placed to match the ducts to which it connects on the Boeing KC-135 refueling air tanker. It utilizes exhaust-warmed air to be recycled to other areas of the aircraft to prevent freezing in certain compartments. Because of the attachments it must make to other components, measures must have no more than 1/1000 of an inch variance. Once complete, these units are sent to an outside source for powder-coating, thoroughly inspected and shipped with all documentation to our customer.

GE POWER Generation Gas Turbine Transition Ducts

City-size Power Plant Gas Turbine Ducts. Extreme, Heated Forced Air Powers the Blades.


  • Inner Ducts Channel Superheated, Compressed Air 24/7
  • Thick Inconel Maintains Duct Wall Integrity
  • Outer Impingement Sleeves Perforated with Precisely Placed Holes and Tubes for Cooling
  • Specifications Require Extreme Tolerances for Extreme Conditions
  • Each Turbine Requires 8 to 12 Identical Ducts, Replicated Flawlessly in Our Shop

Power is the key word for these massive transition ducts and impingement sleeves, which channel huge amounts of superheated, compressed air from large combustion chambers into turbines. These systems were developed by GE based upon their jet engine technologies for aircraft. Blades inside these turbines both draw air into the system and compress it to mix­­­ with natural gas and ignite, forcefully blow through the ducts onto a second set of blades which spins the first set and also spin a core shaft which powers the generator, creating enough power for a city. Larger turbines like these generate around 500,000 horsepower, and 500 megawatts of electricity.

Our thick-walled Inconel ducts are constructed and welded to handle tremendous heat and pressure, 24/7. They are sheathed with sleeves which provide a uniform space surrounding the duct and have holes specifically spaced out to draw ambient air inside and circulate to cool the system.

The combustion (gas) turbines in many natural-gas-fueled power plants are complex machines, but they basically involve three main sections:

  • The compressor, which draws air into the engine, pressurizes it, and feeds it to the combustion chamber at speeds of hundreds of miles per hour. It is known as the cold section.
  • The combustion system, typically made up of a ring of fuel injectors that inject a steady stream of fuel into combustion chambers where it mixes with the air. The mixture is burned at temperatures of more than 2000 degrees F. The combustion produces a high temperature, high pressure gas stream that enters and expands through the turbine’s transition duct section. With the following turbine, it makes up the hot section.
  • The turbine is an intricate array of alternate stationary and rotating aerofoil-section blades. As hot combustion gas expands through the turbine, it spins the rotating blades. The rotating blades perform a dual function: they drive the compressor to draw more pressurized air into the combustion section, and they spin a generator to produce electricity.
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