The operation of a steam turbine is elegant in its simplicity. Water is heated through various methods to generate steam; the steam rotates the generator turbines, which convert the mechanical energy to electricity. However, the steam turbine itself is a piece of mammoth machinery with incredible complexities and tiny intricacies in its build. Each interconnected component necessitates unique monitoring conditions to ensure that the steam turbine works safely.
Without scheduled steam turbine testing and inspection, the equipment is prone to frequent breakdowns. The downtime can be inconvenient for your customers, leading to a massive loss in revenue. You may need to take up a more proactive approach to protecting assets in your powerplant. NDE steam turbine testing optimizes the inspection process.
Challenges That Traditional Steam Turbine Testing Presents Technicians
It is a huge understatement to say that steam turbines go through a lot. Operating at rotation speeds of 3000-3500rpm, with extreme pressures and temperatures of up to 30MPa and 600° C. With the unit running an hour after hour to generate enough electrical energy for the grid, the different components may develop cracks and other issues in the long term. This calls for rigorous steam turbine testing.
However, the inspections may become a challenge due to:
Complex Geometries Of The Steam Turbine
The steam turbine components have different curve angles and attachments. The blades serrations are extremely complex. Traditionally, the technicians may have to disassemble the unit for a complete inspection. It creates issues relating to labor, downtime, and the risk of the wrong reassembly.
Downtime Results To Lost Revenue
Traditional steam turbine testing and inspections took large amounts of time, resulting in less power production. Complications during the inspection may increase the downtime. You may need a steam turbine testing model that is quick and efficient.
The Benefits Of NDE Technologies For Steam Turbine Testing And Inspection
1. Optimized Inspections
Traditionally, steam turbine inspection would have extended turnaround times, grounding the equipment for longer periods. NDE allows for quick, effective evaluations without having to take apart the mammoth turbine systems. Probes from technologies such as borescope inspections can take high-definition images of areas previously inaccessible unless through disassembly. You can extend the life service of your turbine while reducing the net downtime for the inspection.
2. Increased Testing And Inspection Scopes
Portable instrumentation in NDE makes it easier for technicians to maneuver and reach tight quarters on the steam turbine. In legacy steam turbine testing examples, the coverage was 60% for exterior hooks and as low as 40% for interior hooks. With integrated imaging software, the probes from NDE inspections can generate high-quality images and easy-to-understand reports on potential issues and the repairs needed.
3. Increased Cost Savings
NDE inspections and testing have the potential to generate monetary savings for your powerplant through cost reallocation. You can significantly reduce the amount of downtime, keeping your power production up for longer periods. You can focus your preventative maintenance resources on other areas that are most needed.
NDE approaches for your steam turbine testing, and inspection can help your power plant save more money, reduce disruptions and optimize your testing procedures. To organize for an NDE steam turbine inspection, reach out to Advanced Turbine Support.