It doesn’t take much to impact the performance of a gas turbine. With a combination of sensitive components and extreme highs of pressure and temperature, small problems can snowball into disasters if you’re not paying attention.
Fortunately, we can reveal the seven secrets that will help you avoid those small problems in the first place, keeping your turbine running smoothly and efficiently…
1. Check your tech
When it comes to gas turbines: gas goes in, electricity comes out. Simple! As long as your turbine is following this rule, you can sit back and relax, right? Wrong!
Even modern turbines should be inspected annually, with six-monthly checks advised for older equipment. To supplement these thorough inspections, it’s wise for operators to carry out a quick daily check for obvious issues. That way you’re likely to notice small problems and can deal with them before they become too big (and expensive!) to handle.
2. Plan the maintenance, maintain the plan
Create a regular maintenance routine which sets out specific tasks and when they should be completed. Daily tasks might include: quick surface inspection; check fluid levels; monitor temperature and flow rate. A weekly job could be inspecting for specific problems e.g. leaks. Monthly, you should be changing filters and reviewing the turbine’s performance to check for unexpected changes.
By creating and sticking to a maintenance schedule, you will avoid issues developing or at least notice them in time to take action.
3. A clean compressor is a happy compressor
Regularly washing foulants from your gas turbine compressor should definitely feature on your maintenance plan. This helps you sustain performance levels and avoid unnecessary damage to delicate equipment through corrosion and erosion.
A quick guide to effective compressor cleaning is:
- Use specialist equipment purposely designed for the task.
- Use demineralised water and the correct cleaning chemicals for your site’s specific environment.
- Follow a cleaning routine which includes on-line and off-line washing. Daily on-line washes can be carried out during normal operation while off-line cleans remove any stubborn residues.
4. Timing is everything
The great thing about creating a maintenance plan is that you can schedule off-line work for quieter times. Instead of urgently shutting down the turbine and carrying out repairs at the peak of production, pick a time that suits you best. This will minimise the impact of downtime and keep your turbine in tip-top condition.
5. Use the right kit
If you haven’t updated your maintenance kit or methods for a while, it could be worth seeing what’s new on the market. For example, installing an observation window to see the inner workings of your gas turbine compressor will let you instantly see what’s going on. You may spot a nozzle out of place or foulants building up that you would never have noticed otherwise. You could even invest in robotic testing/boroscope inspections for hard-to-reach areas, increasing safety for your staff.
6. Bring in the professionals
Nobody knows your turbine better than you, but it may still hold some secrets best revealed by a generator testing company. Now and then, it’s a good idea to ask a professional to diagnose any issues with equipment you may not have noticed or can’t quite pinpoint.
7. Write it all down
Finally, keep detailed records of turbine performance and any maintenance carried out. This will provide you with a whole host of valuable information such as: any dips in productivity; performance related to specific maintenance; the need for unexpected/repeated repairs, allowing further investigation; timeline of maintenance, avoiding unnecessary repetition of tasks; and an insight to how your turbine works to help external mechanics or new staff instantly familiarise themselves with the equipment.
When you think about it, the seven secrets to gas turbine care aren’t really secrets at all; they’re mostly about knowing your turbine, careful ownership and getting well ahead of any issues. However, it’s definitely worth using these ‘secrets’ as your guide while you go about your business. This way you should prolong the life and maximise the efficiency of your equipment.
Get in touch
At Rochem, we are long-established experts in the field of gas turbine compressor cleaning which, as we now know, is an essential part of turbine maintenance. Our chemicals and equipment help engineers around the world keep their sites running smoothly and safely. Get in touch to see how we could help you, too.