Gas Turbine Maintenance: Understanding Borescope Inspections

Gas Turbine Maintenance: Understanding Borescope Inspections

The demand for reliable energy supply is increasing. But there is a big concern among turbine users: unplanned downtime. If you’re one of those users, you’ll want to invest in regular turbine inspection exercises.

Gas turbine inspection is more complex than other manufacturing or industrial procedures. Currently, there are two types of gas turbines: aero-derivative engines and heavy frame engines. These gas turbines operate at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit against steam turbines at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. With such higher temperatures, a borescope inspection is necessary to avoid any damage.

Without boroscopic inspection of gas turbines, it will be difficult to identify any problems with the machine. Further, the extreme temperatures pose an immediate danger to everyone in the area. As such, a borescope is a vital tool for inspecting turbines.

Borescopes Inspection of Gas Turbines

When inspecting a turbine, it is advisable to use a borescope. The tool helps the inspector to view inner parts of a machine, which are impossible to see with the naked eye. Further, the device prevents any form of damage to the turbine during the inspection exercise.

A typical borescope will have flexible and rigid length options. It will also have a lighting system and an optical system. All these are vital in viewing the projected image.

The Types of Borescopes

There is a difference in optical relay results in different models of borescopes, which include the following:

A Rigid Borescope
It’s the cheapest borescope for inspecting turbines. The reason? They’re not flexible. The turbine support team will only use them on areas with direct access. The borescope transmits the image which displays through an eyepiece. Using a rigid borescope ensures durability and image clarity.

The Flexible Borescope
It’s commonly known as the fiberscope. It uses fiber-optic lenses at the end of the device. The flexible borescope doesn’t relay the best quality images, but they’re ideal in areas that are hard to reach.

The Semi-Flexible Borescope
This acts as a middle ground between the flexible and rigid borescopes. Yes, the semi-flexible borescope will have a better image and cost less than flexible borescopes. It is ideal when inspecting areas that require minimal manipulations. These include catheters and inside small tubes.

Benefits of Borescope Inspections

There are other methods for inspecting turbines. However, a borescope is preferred because of its numerous benefits which include:

  • Ease of Use: The different types of borescopes, both flexible and rigid have a straightforward design. With this, the support team can easily manipulate them to give the best image
  • High-Quality Images: A rigid borescope provides high-quality images. The flexible cameras are also great. Some borescopes can notice an imperfection as small as 0.0001 when inspecting turbines.
  • Excellent Coverage Area: Borescopes can reach distant areas and cover greater depths with great accuracy.

Why are Gas Turbines Inspections Important?

Natural gas is the leading source of energy in the United States. Thanks to gas turbines, power plants can handle this energy resource effectively. Even though gas turbines are highly efficient, they’re susceptible to regular wear and tear. If something goes wrong, it may jeopardize the entire process and ruin the energy plant.

That’s why it’s important to schedule for regular maintenance checks. A physical inspection is important as it allows you to see the external parts up close. However, you cannot tell whether the internal components are okay or not with your naked eye. As such, you need to engage a professional borescope service.

If you notice any problem work on it immediately. Even the slightest issue can damage your turbine or pose safety threats to your employees. Don’t let this happen.

Inspecting turbines play a vital role in enhancing a safe and productive work environment. As such, you must engage the right provider to offer turbine support services and inspections. You want a support service that enjoys a positive reputation in the industry. Hiring the right turbine inspection service saves you time and money.

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