Power Generation

Effective contamination control practices are crucial for maintaining fluid cleanliness in the power generation industry, as they can significantly enhance the performance and lifespan of equipment like load tap changers, gas engines, and pumps. This is essential to avoid costly downtime and ensure uninterrupted power supply.

Coal Fired Power Plant

Coal-fired power plants typically operate continuously for several years before undergoing shutdowns. These shutdowns can be planned for maintenance or occur unexpectedly, with the latter being the ones plant managers strive to prevent. Unscheduled shutdowns incur significant expenses, resulting in substantial losses in equipment, time, and plant output, emphasizing the critical importance of proper maintenance for these plants. Therefore, maintaining machinery at a consistently high reliability level is imperative to minimize unnecessary shutdowns.

Coal Fired Power Plant

Conveyors operate in harsh, wet, and rugged environments, often subjected to heavy particulate and water contamination. The driving gearbox and the backstop are the primary oil-lubricated components. The gearbox transfers the load to another location, while the backstop securely holds the conveyor in place when it stops under a load. Failure of either of these components could lead to plant shutdowns or compromise safety.

Pulverisers operate in a harsh environment and are highly susceptible to significant particle contamination. These units play a crucial role in coal-fired power plants by pulverizing coal into fine dust for efficient heat generation in blast furnaces. According to the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), an average of 1% of plant availability is compromised due to pulveriser-related issues. EPRI’s findings attribute 53% of pulveriser problems to oil contamination and excessive leakage in the drive train. Many coal pulveriser designs lack proper filtration in their lube circuits. Those with filtration often use coarse options like 40-micron cleanable mesh or 200-micron cleanable stacked disk filters, which struggle to cope with the high ingression rate, leading to contamination levels surpassing ISO code 30/30, especially in older designs. This heightened contamination significantly reduces the lifespan of bearings, gears, pumps, and seals, necessitating premature replacement or rework. Downtime of coal pulverisers can severely impact overall plant availability and reliability.

ID fans function in environments prone to dirt and moisture, making them susceptible to particle and water contamination. The primary oil-lubricated components include the dry sump circulation system and fan bearings. The dry sump circulation system is responsible for lubricating the fan bearings. Contamination of the lubricant in this system significantly diminishes the lifespan of the fan bearings, leading to increased downtime, reduced availability, and a lower Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).

Maintaining lubrication systems for steam turbines is straightforward: prevent the entry of dirt and water, and if they do infiltrate, remove them. Given the large oil reservoirs and extended service life of turbine oil, proactive monitoring and management of oil health are crucial. Additionally, attention should be given to the Electro-Hydraulic Control (EHC) system, which poses significant challenges due to the nature of the fluid it typically employs.

Both systems require preventive measures to avert, monitor, and address moisture and particle contamination. Implementing desiccant breathers, offline filtration systems, and vacuum dehydrators proves beneficial for these systems.

Generators function in environments prone to dirt and moisture, potentially encountering moderate levels of particle and water contamination. The primary oil-lubricated components include the dry circulation sump and bearing housings.

Contamination of the lubricant in the dry sump circulation system can lead to the transfer of contaminated lubricant to the bearing housing, ultimately reducing bearing lifespan. Bearings are highly susceptible to contamination, leading to premature fatigue and equipment failure.

Transformers are exposed to environmental elements that result in significant particulate and water contamination. The transformer relies on transformer oil for cooling purposes. Ensuring the transformer oil remains dry and preserving its dielectric charge is crucial for optimal performance.

Cooling tower gearboxes operate in a particularly challenging lubrication environment. They are situated in an extremely wet setting and can be challenging to access if not properly configured. The driving gearbox and water circulation pump bearing housings are the primary lubricated components. Failure of the gearbox would result in the cooling tower fan being unable to function, leading to ineffective dissipation of hot air from the tower. Similarly, failure of the water circulation pumps would impede proper cooling processes.

Every plant should be equipped with a dedicated lube room situated in an area with minimal particle and dirt presence, and where maintaining a consistent temperature is feasible.
The lube room serves as the primary storage space for new oil, housing storage drums and drum racks. To ensure the quality of the oil, it’s essential to filter it before use, either by employing storage units with built-in filtration or utilizing a filter cart to cleanse oil in drums. Additionally, these units should be equipped with desiccant breathers for optimal storage conditions.
In addition to oil storage, the lube room is also the designated area for housing transfer pumps, valves, filter carts, portable storage containers, and an array of lubrication-related supplies such as grease guns, oil cans, unused filters, cleaning materials, and absorbent substances for spill clean-up. Organizational efficiency is crucial in managing these items.
Moreover, the lube room serves a broader purpose beyond oil storage and transfer—it is a space where a company can establish and uphold a culture of effective and meticulous oil handling standards.

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