Understand the best practices for steam turbine maintenance and operation

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Steam turbines are known to play a pivotal role in power generation sector as they generate the force required to rotate power generators. And in a country like India, their maintenance is a big concern due to the increasing power demand. There are many steam turbine repair companies in the country that provide adequate maintenance services for steam turbines. Let’s understand the best practices for optimal steam turbine maintenance.

Steam Quality

In order to make the turbine function smoothly and incessantly, the quality of steam must be of supreme. Condensate setup in the steam supply enhances turbine steam rates, decreases the steam turbine efficiency, and causes erosion of steam turbine components (governor valves, blading, and nozzles). Insulating the steam supply lines and components (valves, casing, etc.) helps prevent steam from releasing latent energy, which causes condensation to occur in the steam system.

To avoid this, all steam supply lines must be carefully designed with necessary condensate removal elements such as right sized steam line drip pockets and steam trap stations. The steam valves must be highly reliable, and should follow a minimum Class VI shut off.

If quality steam supply quality is a concern, a mechanical coalescing separator should be used before the turbine inlet to avoid low-quality steam, captured with condensate, from entering the turbine.

Pipe Expansion and Contraction

Steam pipes must be carefully examined, analyzed, designed, and precisely installed to ensure there will be no unnecessary forces being put to the turbine flanges. Steam piping may apply forces from four sources:

•    Pipe dead weight
•    Thermal expansion
•    Thrust
•    Spring rate caused by different types of expansion joints

Sometimes, thermal expansion may also cause the movement of the turbine’s flanged connections. Therefore, there should be high focus on this part during pipe designing. There must be adequate space for expansion and contraction in the pipes to overcome any thermal expansion.

Supply and Exhaust Line Sizing

Steam pipes should always be designed in such a way to allow full-line steam pressure at the turbine inlet at optimum capacity. The supply line size needs to be measured not only for the pressure, but also to contain the pressure drops due to length of pipe and system elements, including valves and fittings. This is because any kind of pressure loss in the supply line will directly affect turbine performance.

For any power generation capacity, steam turbine maintenance services are imperative. And it is necessary that only reputed steam turbine repair companies look after this job. This will ensure that turbines function optimally without any loss of power and for longer times.

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