TURBINE MAINTENANCE: ARE YOU GETTING TO THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM?
When turbine failure occurs, it can be easy to implement actions that provide a short-term fix, but fail to address the underlying problem. Whether it is blocked filters, bearing failure or issues with turbine oil condition, fully investigating the problem is important to achieve effective repair or maintenance.
Here, we share three examples and explain why further investigation is usually necessary.
1. Switching filters when one becomes blocked
Switching filters when one fails is good, standard practice. However, failure to investigate the underlying issue can have a lasting impact.
If the oil coolers are becoming blocked with sludge and soft deposits that then form varnishes and lacquers on surfaces or in the reservoir, this can compromise the life of any fresh oil added to the system.
Understanding what is causing the sludge and deposits is important to avoid such problems. Special filters may also be used to clean up the oil and dirt-resolving fluid can be used to clean the turbine before an oil change.
2. Scraping deposits off a journal bearing and then restarting the unit
Simply removing deposits from the bearing is inadequate. Experience shows that when there is a high level of deposition on the bearing, there are also likely to be deposits in the coolers and sludge in the reservoir.
Sludge and deposits can compromise the life of any fresh oil added to the system, so the use of special filters to clean up the oil and dirt-resolving fluid to clean the turbine before an oil change are recommended.
3. Replacing the oil because the old one has darkened
Relying on colour as an indicator of oil condition is less appropriate with today’s state-of-the-art oils that often contain antioxidants that form coloured compounds.
Darkening alone is not necessarily an indicator of a failing oil. A colour change may simply mean that the antioxidant system is working.
If the oil has darkened, look at your routine oil condition monitoring results; if the viscosity, acid values and flash point are within the specifications, the oil does not need replacing.
To help you better understand what actions can help avoid costly and disruptive problems in your turbine, this Shell Lubricants white paper ‘Challenges during the life of your turbine oil’ offers insights and tips.
In the paper, you will find:
- Insights on how the operations of today’s power generation turbines impacts turbine oil condition and performance
- Tips on selecting the right turbine oil
- Advice on effective turbine oil management, including monitoring and oil analysis
- Recommendations for effective turbine repair and maintenance
Enter your details to download the paper.