Presentations by owner/operators dominate Generator UG program

The second annual meeting of the Generator Users Group (GUG), today organized under the Power Users Group umbrella, was conducted in parallel with the annual meetings of the Combined Cycle Users Group (CCUG) and Steam Turbine Users Group (STUG) in San Antonio, Aug 22-25, 2016.

Recall that the GUG was launched in late 2015—a collaborative industry effort initiated by IEEE Fellow Clyde V Maughan, president, Maughan Generator Consultants, with major support from NV Energy, which hosted the first meeting at its Beltway Complex and Conference, and Duke Energy. The steering committee formed to assure success, chaired by Duke’s Kent Smith, continues to guide the group.

CCJ ONsite’s coverage of GUG’s second annual meeting begins in this issue and concludes in next week’s publication. Summaries of user presentations, compiled by Maughan, follow after this introduction; presentations by consultants and suppliers are aggregated separately.

Two points to keep in mind as you read through this material:

    • The GUG’s mission is to provide a forum for owner/operators of electric generators at coal-fired, nuclear, and combined- and simple-cycle gas-turbine plants to share experiences, best practices, and lessons learned on design, installation, O&M, and uprate/upgrade. Expected outcomes are improved safety, maintainability, availability/reliability, and efficiency, as well as the transfer of industry knowledge from experienced engineers to those wanting to gain hands-on know-how.

Although CCJ ONsite focuses on serving gas turbine users, the editors suggest you not bypass the few summaries of nuclear and coal-fired plant experiences incorporated by Maughan because they offer valuable lessons learned to all generator users.

    • Several of the user presentations summarized here were made by members of the steering committee—Chairman Smith, John Demcko, PE, of Arizona Public Service Co, Dave Fischli, PE, of Duke Energy, and Leopoldo Duque Balderas of COMEGO (Mexico)—illustrating the depth of knowledge of the GUG leadership and the value of participation in this annual meeting. Follow the website for details on the 2017 meeting at the end of August as they are made available; first posting is expected in April.

User presentations made at the GUG’s second annual meeting and summarized in this issue are listed below; links provided enable quick access to the topics of greatest interest to you.




Users wanting to dig deeper into each of these areas can access the presentations of interest on the Power Users website. You must be registered to participate in the forum, a relatively simple process if you’re not already signed up.

Stator rewind

As built, McGuire Nuclear Station was equipped with two 1450-MVA, 4-pole generators. featuring water-cooled stators. Within five years of COD in December 1981, both units had been de-rated by about 140 MVA because of operating problems that included end-iron overheating.

There have been numerous maintenance events over the years, including these:

    • Stator rewedged in 1998.

    • Field rewound in 2007 because of shorted turns and thermal sensitivity.

    • Increased oxide fouling in the stator bars.

    • Three chemical cleanings conducted in a 10-year period.

    • Cracking of aluminum shields in the main lead box.

    • Three elevated EL CID indications of about 170 mA each that were slowly increasing between inspections.

A life-extension study was performed in 2010 and it was decided to reuse the generator fields on both units because they had been rewound recently. Relative to the two stators, engineers decided to do the following:

    • Purchase a replacement stator with the winding designed for 1550 MVA.

    • Convert parallel rings from hydrogen- to water-cooled.

    • Upgrade the stator cooling-water (SCW) system to include alkalizer injection for controling pH to address oxide fouling problems.

    • Replace the HV bushings with 1550-MVA capability.

After installing the new stator on one unit, the old stator was shipped to the OEM’s factory and rewound with upgrades for use in the other generator.

Site acceptance tests of the new stator included ultrasonic measurement of flow in stator cooling-water hoses, EL CID testing of core, and DC hipot. During the site acceptance test the EL CID test failed, with readings as high as 169 mA detected. A loop test conducted to validate EL CID readings was terminated within three minutes because it failed to meet test temperature criteria. Core repairs on the new generator were required.

Numerous problems were identified with the hose water flow on the SCW system, including near-stagnant flow in six parallel rings. The latter is particularly important in that immediate gross overheating of the rings likely would be accompanied by complete winding failure. Corrections of the hose problems identified were complicated and expensive in dollars and outage time.

Dave Fischli is the generator program manager for Duke Energy’s fossil generation fleet

Issues in hydrogen-cooled machines

The serious problems discussed in this presentation involved a nine-year-old hydrogen-cooled generator rated 193 MVA, 13.8 kV. Its bar design is shown in Fig 1. During a routine maintenance outage, engineers found all the tube-to-copper resistance readings satisfactory, generally above 1000 ohms, with the exception of the bottom tube in the top coil, slot 22, which read 81.8 ohms. The ends of this tube were cleaned and dried and mica inserted, but the reading did not improve.

OEM guidelines were the following:

    • Less than 500 ohms, investigate.

    • Less than 100 ohms, change the affected bar.

Further investigations—including the removal of series blocking and groundwall insulation—did not reveal the cause of low resistance or improve the low value. The bar was removed from the winding and sent to a non-OEM laboratory for investigation. No additional understanding was found by the initial investigations. Electrical tests revealed the short likely was located from 7% to 10% of the way from the exciter end. Stripping of the groundwall revealed severe localized overheating locations.

After disconnecting the copper grounding strip shown in Fig 2, the tube-to-copper resistance value increased to more than 50 Mohms. This is a complex bar cross section, not well understood. It is clear that the low resistance values were caused by gross overheating, burning (which resulted from circulating currents caused by a short between the copper strip and a strand), and the resulting carbonization of insulation components. However, the root cause of the short remains unknown.

Leopoldo Duke Balderas has many years of powerplant O&M and engineering experience



Connection-ring vibration monitoring system

Intermountain Power Project (IPP) went online in 1986/1987 with two hydrogen-cooled generators rated 991 MVA, 26 kV. By the 1990s, leaks had started in the generator windings and both units usually failed leak tests after 1994. A global strand header repair was performed on Unit 2 in 1996 and on Unit 1 in 1997. Leaks continued even after the epoxy repair, with the leaks usually found at joints in the connection rings (Fig 1).

Plant management decided to rewind both generators, including replacement of the connection rings and use of the OEM’s new vertical strand header braze procedure. Unit 2 was rewound in fall 2010, Unit 1 in spring 2011. In December 2011, Unit 1 suffered a massive winding failure, attributed to a failed bolted joint in the neutral connections in the dome. (A similar joint that had not failed is shown in Fig 4.)

Immediately after Unit 1 failed, Unit 2 was taken offline. The flexible connections were examined and arc indications found after only six months of service (Figs 2, 3). The replacement connection rings included additional bolts on the lower tang (Fig 4). But the root cause of Unit-2 arc indications and of Unit 1 failure was use of improper bolting techniques for the stainless steel bolts.

IPP personnel remained concerned with whether the problem had been fixed—in particular because there was no advance warning for the failure. The OEM recommended installation of fiberoptic vibration probes and this was done in January 2012; vibration started to increase in January 2013. Analysis and interpretation of data gathered have not provided definitive results— partially because of little industry experience on connection-ring terminals; plus, weak technical support.

A second vibration probe system has been installed on Unit 1 and a second system will be installed on Unit 2. The trends of the second systems will be compared with the output from the present probes.

Mike Nuttall is assistant superintendent of technical services at IPP

Rotor field ground indications

Grounds in two different excitation systems were discussed by John Demcko, who has an exceptionally broad and deep background in power generation equipment: those with brushless excitation systems and those with collector rings and brushes. The two case studies presented illustrated the challenging complexity of excitation-system diagnostics and maintenance. When we speak of a field ground, the speaker said, what we really mean is an excitation system ground.

The first ground considered was on a brushless system. In spring 2006, a modern brushless field ground detection system, Accumetrics Inc’s earth fault resistance monitor (EFREM), was installed on Combined Cycle Unit 4 at the company’s West Phoenix Generating Station (Fig 1). It replaced an OEM system that never worked properly.

With the Accumetrics system, the field resistance to ground is monitored offline, as well as online, and is telemetered to the plant DCS. Six months after installation, the field ground alarm came in solid while the unit was offline. Since the alarm occurred during heavy rain, engineers decided to dry the system before drawing any conclusions. In 3.5 hours, resistance increased from 12 kohms to 20 Mohms. Better waterproofing and caulking of possible water ingress points thus far has been effective in mitigating the issue.

The second ground was on a collector/brush system. During a normal startup, generator voltage did not build up to nominal rated value. Investigation provided some startling information. First, the field itself had a ground. But there was a station-battery ground as well. The combination of the two grounds allowed part of the field excitation current to bypass a portion of the field turns.

While the field was being rewound, resolution of the station-battery ground was pursued. It was found at a taped connection joint left lying on the steel-deck floor (Fig 2). Over many years, the taped insulation had worn away, resulting in a hard ground.

John Demcko is a senior consulting engineer in Arizona Public Service Co’s Technical Projects Engineering Dept

Experience with Alstom air-cooled generators

System-wide, Southern Company has seven Alstom air-cooled generators rated 313 MVA, 21 kV. There have been significant maintenance and operational issues on these units, including the following:

    • Stator phase-connection conductor fatigue.

    • Stator endwinding voltage grading deterioration.

    • Stator spring-plate fatigue.

    • Stator side-filler migration.

    • Stator frame plate weld failure.

    • Field retaining-ring insulation deformation.

    • Field slot-liner cracking risk.

    • Field-winding pole-connector fatigue.

Only the last was discussed in this presentation.

Initial awareness of the problem came in April 2012 coincidental with the follow-up inspection of a phase-bar blocking modification. Prior fleet-wide inspections offered no clear evidence of pole-connector fatigue. But review of previous inspection photos with a focus on the probable crack-initiation areas showed signs of possible initiation (upset metal). Follow-up inspections over the last four years have shown all previous “possible initiation” sites to have definitive cracks with propagation in progress. Photos shared to illustrate the problem included those here labeled Figs 1-6.

Inspections in April 2013, April 2014, and July 2014 on the unit with most advanced fatigue condition revealed continuing crack propagation on both pole (redundant) connectors. Repair was implemented in December 2014.

Engineers concluded there is a definitive correlation to start/stop cycles. Inspection data show the rate of crack propagation to have some consistency for a given pole connector but it clearly varies from one connector to another. It is expected that pole-connector replacement eventually will be required on all seven generators.

Jeff Phelps, principal engineer, supports Southern Company’s generator fleet

Generator end-plate indications

The Altamira II combined-cycle plant was notified in October 2014 of some findings in the generator-rotor end plates that had occurred at other Mexican plants with similar air-cooled generators. Two months later, inspections at Altamira II revealed several cracks on the rotor end plates for its two gas turbines and steam turbine (Figs 1-3).

The OEM strongly recommended not running the units in this condition because of the risk of catastrophic failure. Before restart, the OEM recommended replacing the rotor end plates at both ends of all three fields. Removal of the retaining rings would be required to do this, and based on the OEM’s experience, destructive removal was likely. To avoid destructive removal of the retaining rings (spares availability was a major concern), the end plates were removed destructively, without touching the retaining ring.

Root cause of this fleet problem was stress corrosion cracking. Recommended preventive action included replacement end plates made of an improved material, application of anti-corrosive paint on the end plates, and the elimination of tapped holes for the rotor baffle assembly around the inter-pole center (the lower set of holes, most easily seen in the center photo).

Eliezer Garza Ortiz, an electrical engineer with an MBA, is the director of Altamira II

Oil-intrusion events

Oil-intrusion events are a fact of life at Duke Energy, a large utility with hundreds of generators in service. To learn more about how others in the electric power industry deal with oil intrusion, GUG Chairman Smith and his Duke colleagues conducted an informal survey. More than three-quarters of those surveyed said they have oil-intrusion concerns.

Next question: “What level of oil intrusion do you consider a concern?” Responses varied:

    • Less than 10 ml weekly concerned no one.

    • Between 10 and 20 ml weekly concerned 26%.

    • From 20 ml weekly to 10 ml daily was of concern to 37% of those surveyed.

    • From 10 ml to 100 ml daily got 21% of the respondents concerned.

    • The remaining 16% were not concerned until intrusion exceeded 100 ml daily.

Smith next summarized the following recent oil-intrusion events in the Duke fleet:

    • Operator error was blamed for the pumping of more than 3000 gal of oil into the generator bushing box on a large water-/hydrogen-cooled machine.

    • During startup, the oil detraining tank on a hydrogen-cooled unit was overfilling and the bypass valve had to be manipulated to control tank oil level. When the unit was being removed from service for repair, tank level increased and oil was pushed into the machine.

    • A large hydrogen-cooled unit consistently required oil clean-up from the machine’s belly but it had no liquid detector alarms. Although there’s no known impact to date, stator re-wedging will be needed.

    • Oil intrusion investigation on a large water-/hydrogen-cooled generator is ongoing. Intrusion was noted during the last rewind; the end-bell mating surfaces were not as flat as expected.

Cleaning was required in each of the four cases cited above. It ranged from minor to extensive and given the complicated internal complexities of the generator, cleaning may never be finished in some cases. Corrective actions, sometimes ineffective or incomplete, can include the following:

    • Enlarge flex-seal grooves and add additional pumping locations.

    • Re-pump flex seals.

    • Machine end bells to achieve better mating surfaces.

    • Replace TiteSeal™ compound with Flex Seal®.

    • Install drain holes in bushings to drain oil from the cooling path of the bushings.

    • Replace seal-ring springs.

    • Correct piping deficiencies.

Kent Smith, a 35-yr utility veteran, is manager of generator engineering for Duke Energy

Stator ground in a GE 390H generator

The subject generator is connected to the steam turbine serving a large F-class combined cycle. Plant began commercial operation in 2004 and ran reliably until 2014, accumulating nearly 45,000 operating hours and 1000 starts. During a startup in fall 2014, the unit tripped on volts/hertz and ground relays.

Visual inspection of the external components revealed no problems, but A phase was grounded. This is a three-circuit winding, and two of the three circuits were grounded. The OEM recommended a full rewind, and each bar was checked using a Megger™ before being removed. The bottom bar in slot 1 was found grounded, with its insulation heavily cut by outside space block (OSSB) migration inward.

Many other bars showed damage from OSSB movement (left and center photos). The core damage at slot 1 is shown in the right-hand photo. Burning is much greater than would be expected from the >5 amps of a single ground and probably resulted from core lamination shorting.

The repairs performed included loosening belly bands, rounding the corner of the compression ring (flange), replacing OSSBs one at a time, adding a punching with master bond coating, reinstalling the compression ring, compressing the core to a higher level (2000 ft-lb increased to 2500), retightening of the belly bands, and rewinding the generator with all-new bars.

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Vendor presentations provide GUG attendees short courses on important, technical topics

At annual meetings of the Generator Users Group (GUG), presentations by consultants and vendors, and participation by engineers from these companies in discussion sessions, are critical to the all-volunteer organization’s success. GUG activities are supported by the electric-power industry’s three major OEMs—GE/Alstom, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas (via MD&A), and Siemens Energy—and several third-party equipment and services providers. The latter group includes AGTServices, Doble Engineering, Environment One Corp, Ethos Energy, IRIS Power, National Electric Coil, Schweitzer Engineering, and Turbine Generator Maintenance (TGM).

Four consultant/vendor presentations at the 2016 meeting in San Antonio, August 22-25, are profiled below; the remainder will appear in the next issue of CCJ ONsite. The links provided enable quick access to the topics of greatest interest to you.

Users wanting to dig deeper into these areas can access the presentations on the Power Users website. You must be registered to participate in the forum, a relatively simple process if you’re not already signed up.

EMI testing

Condition-based maintenance (CBM) is an important goal in the power generation business. The focus is on preventing in-service failures by maintaining equipment only when needed and identifying where maintenance is not necessary. CBM conserves resources, reduces production costs, and minimizes the possibility of damage during maintenance (such as that caused by a rotor drop).

Electromagnetic interference (EMI) is a powerful tool for condition-based maintenance and is useful in diagnostics of both electrical and mechanical problems in the generator system. It has been used for 80 years to locate defects in power lines that cause radio and television interference. Application to powerplant equipment began in 1980.

EMI signals are collected with a split-core radio-frequency current transformer (RFCT) and radiated energy is measured with a simple hand-held instrument. These two techniques permit detailed condition and location identification. Maintenance recommendations can be given with the first test. Trending of numerous tests is not necessary to analyze data but may be helpful for long-term analysis.

There is no interference with plant operations while taking the EMI readings, which are passive and non-invasive. There is no applied signal and no risk whatsoever to equipment operation. The frequency spectrum is taken with an RFCT, typically applied to the generator neutral or a grounding cable, and the output signature can be analyzed on the screen of your personal computer.

The hand-held instrument measures radiated EMI and is simple to understand and use. In Fig 1, a transformer is scanned for radiated EMI. Switchgear typically can be scanned in a few moments (Fig 2). This technique can detect and identify the cubicle where there is deteriorated insulation or loose connections.

Using the RFCT approach, each system defect results in a distinctive radio-frequency spectrum unique to the physical location and type of defect present within that electrical insulation system. More than five-dozen conditions have been identified with this test. Comparison of data collected at two generator loads can determine if loose windings are developing. Substantial basic training is required to interpret the RFCT output curve, and backup interpretation can be obtained from Doble Engineering when interpretation results are uncertain.

Doble’s Paul Spracklen is a rotating-machinery systems expert

Hydrogen safety

Hydrogen is very explosive, colorless, and odorless, as well as difficult to contain. Yet it has been used widely as a coolant for generators since 1938 (today there are over 10,000 hydrogen-cooled generators in service). Hydrogen is used for several reasons:

    • Windage/frictional losses are less than for air.

    • The relative density of hydrogen is four times less than that of air and its heat-transfer characteristics are better.

    • It is 14 times more efficient in removing heat than air.

 Compounding the inherent dangers in handling hydrogen, the generator fleet is growing older, auxiliary hydrogen equipment is ageing, outage intervals are increasing, the workforce is getting younger and leaner, and training programs are not what they used to be. Thus the dangers of using hydrogen as a coolant may be increasing.

A recent newspaper headline stated: “Deadly explosion at ABS powerplant blamed on hydrogen gas.” Damage caused by recent explosions is shown in Figs 1 and 2. There was a death while unloading hydrogen at the plant in Fig 1. The explosion at the Fig 2 plant occurred because of inadequate hydrogen purging procedures. While there were no deaths at that facility, damage was significant.

It is essential for plant personnel to know and understand the hazards associated with hydrogen and that all equipment for handling and storing this gas be certified and maintained in first-class condition (Figs 3, 4). Finally, because purging is inherently complicated, and can be dangerous if performed improperly, all personnel involved must be well trained, non-sparking tools (bronze) must be used, carbon dioxide must be readily available in sufficient quantity, appropriate safety signage must be in evidence in critical areas, and keyed lock-outs must be provided for “air” and “hydrogen.”

E/One’s Steve Kilmartin has more than 30 years of generator experience—including time at an OEM and a major engineering company

Damaged steel: Mechanisms and symptoms

Neil Kilpatrick’s presentation was an hour-long lecture/discussion tutorial covering the following topics:

    • General machine construction.

    • Damage mechanisms in steel, for non-metallurgists.

    • Where different damage mechanisms sometimes are identified.

    • Observable symptoms that might be present, with comments on symptom severity.

This tutorial focused on the generator rotor. Topics included, among others: damper current damage, electrical joint failure, fretting, deposition of decomposition products on visible rotor surfaces, overheating of retaining rings and other forgings, and stationary/rotating rub damage. Material presented on the last topic is summarized below to offer perspective on the depth of coverage and the value of participation in GUG meetings.

Stationary rotating rub failure sequence (refer to the diagram):

1. Contact is established and maintained. Frictional heating occurs over the contact surface and heat flows into both contact elements.

2. A heat-source zone is established. The heat-input plane is the contact area at the interface.

3. Heat flows inward and along the surface.

4. The temperature rise depends on the amount of energy input and the time rate of input.

5. As temperature builds in the hot zone, the metal tries to expand, but the cold surrounding metal is much stronger and more stable and compressional yielding occurs. Increasing hot-zone peak temperature means more compressional yielding; as temperature increases, expansion increases, and strength drops.

6. This kind of rub can result in local metal temperatures in excess of 1300F, with metallurgical transformation to austenite.

7. Some hot metal will be “smeared” by adhesive interaction.

8. When rubbing stops, the hot zone effectively is quenched to the surrounding metal temperature. In typical magnetic rotor steel components, this means that a hardening transformation occurs. But, at the same time, a significant contraction of the former hot zone occurs, and the stress state of transformed metal zone will change to what can be a very high tensile stress.

9. The result is a zone of metal with high tensile stress, additive to normal operating stress, and with a ductility and toughness which tends to be very poor.

10. Intensity of damage tends to correlate with the local volume of damaged metal; high volume relates to more severe damage with increased cracking tendencies.

11. Crack initiation and propagation cannot be predicted, but, clearly, the probability of cracking must be significant.

12. This condition means that the part (rotor forging, blower hub, blower blade, etc) is now capable of erratic and unpredictable behavior.  

Unless this is a superficial condition, repair/replacement likely will be required.

Metallurgical problems are widespread on generators and additional topics include these: braze-joint failure processes, torsional fatigue symptoms and analysis, general rotor overheating symptoms and analysis, coupling-bolt failure modes and analysis, and rub-induced bending analysis and repair.

Neil Kilpatrick recently opened his own shop—GenMet LLC—after accumulating more than 45 years of generator metallurgy experience at Westinghouse Electric Corp and Siemens Energy

Field rewinds, stator-bar insulation diagnosis, high-speed balance

This presentation was divided into three segments, with Keith Collins covering field rewinds and high-speed balancing, and Keith Campbell stator insulation. Collins opened the session with a general summary of cooling methods for field windings. But the focus of his presentation was on the merits of reusing copper versus rewinding with new copper (Fig 1).

The steps for a rewind with existing copper are the following:

    • Visual inspection of the copper.

    • Nondestructive removal and cleaning of copper fit for reuse.

    • Visual inspection.

    • Repairs, if any.

    • Re-annealing and final inspection.

For a new-copper rewind, the steps discussed were these:

    • Procure new copper and verify it meets specs, including shape.

    • Remove the old winding—destructively if necessary.

    • Install the new winding.

The pros and cons of using new copper versus old copper were discussed in detail, with excellent photography illustrating best practices, lessons learned, etc. Much can be learned by accessing the presentation on the user group’s website.

Key takeaways based on MD&A’s experience:

    • New copper isn’t required for a field rewind; nearly all damage to existing copper can be repaired by splicing and/or brazing.

    • If damage is so bad that the use of new copper is suggested, there probably is a bigger problem at hand—such as forging damage.

    • Reverse-engineer coils during rewinds to gather data for future use.

    • If new copper is the path taken, be sure it is procured long before the scheduled outage.

Stator insulation. Campbell took over the speaking duties from Collins and listed these five factors as contributors to insulation degradation: time, thermal, mechanical, electrical, and the introduction of contaminants. Various aspects of stator-bar groundwall insulation degradation were considered and illustrated—including mechanical vibration (Fig 2) and electrical phenomena such as partial discharge and vibration sparking.

High-speed balance. Collins returned to the front of the room and began his second presentation with a backgrounder on the evolution of balance equipment. He recommended high-speed balancing of generator rotors following a rewind with new or existing copper, after the replacement of a major component, and after any machining. Remainder of the presentation offered details on MD&A’s balance facility in St. Louis (Fig 3), which can handle rotors up to about 90 tons, 13 ft in diameter, and 49 ft long. Plus, is has full high-speed thermal test capability to accommodate electrical testing of the rotor at speed.

Information disseminated at the meeting showed only seven high-speed balance facilities in the country in addition to MD&A’s, with most in the East—Schenectady, NY; Richmond, Va; Pooler, Ga; Columbus, Ohio; Charlotte, NC. The other locations: West Allis, Wisc, and Farmington, NM.

MD&A’s Keith Collins is operations manager of the high-speed balance facility;

Keith Campbell is a generator specialist

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REGISTER TODAY: Three of year’s most important meetings for plant owner/operators only a month away

501F Users Group, Doble’s Life of a Transformer, HRSG Forum with Bob Anderson

Things may appear upside down and sideways to those involved in electric-power generation and delivery these days. But while the industry works through a period of turbulent change, the simple fact remains: Central generating plants must continue to operate reliably and efficiently to satisfy the needs of a growing economy.

Three meetings only a month away can help you achieve those goals. But you can only attend two because the 501F Users Group and Doble’s Life of a Transformer™ seminar both take place the week of February 19. The HRSG Forum with Bob Anderson debuts February 28 and runs through March 2. Decision-making is simple because the subject matter among the meetings is separate and distinct.

Conference summaries follow with links to program details, meeting and hotel registration, etc.

Four OEMs among the 100 vendors vying for 501F business in Reno

Attendance at the 501F Users Group meeting is highly recommended for owner/operators of these gas turbines—even personnel with double-digit years of experience. The after-market players are changing and their product/services offerings are evolving—oftentimes faster than you might think. It’s virtually impossible to do the job company management expects unless you keep up with what the suppliers are doing, particularly the OEM and its major competitors.

The user organization, chaired by Cleco Power LLC’s Russ Snyder, has been serving owner/operators for nearly two decades; the 2017 meeting promises to be the most important since the group’s founding. The program highlights hours of user presentation/discussion, four-dozen presentations by third-party equipment and services providers (so-called Vendorama), vibrant vendor fair, evening events, and special closed-session, in-depth presentations to users by industry heavyweights Siemens Energy, Mitsubishi-Hitachi Power Systems Americas, Ansaldo Energia’s PSM, GE Power, and Sulzer.

Snyder told the editors, “All owners of 501F equipment will certainly leave the conference with a better understanding of their options in the marketplace for maintaining their equipment.” Note that this will be GE’s first participation in the conference, made possible by its license from PSM for pre-2016 501F components and technology.

Here are the important links:

    • Chairman’s overview and key contacts. (link)

    • Preliminary agenda. (link)

    • Meeting registration. (link)

    • Hotel reservation. (link)

    • CCJ’s most recent report on the 501F Users Group. (link)

Transformer design, manufacturing, operation, maintenance, testing—from A to Z

Doble Engineering Co’s Life of a Transformer™ seminar offers a multi-level learning experience that addresses the information needs of recent hires with little or no training in high-voltage equipment up to and including those of senior plant personnel. This year’s event will host hundreds of transformer specialists, maintenance strategists, asset managers, substation O&M managers, and plant and corporate electrical engineers, February 19-24, at California’s Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach.

Attendees can participate in sessions from one or more of the following courses:

    • Transformer professional program.

    • Transformer professional program—Advanced training.

    • Transformer maintenance program.

    • Transformer differential protection program.

    • Special one-day laboratory seminar.

Plus, early arrivers on Sunday, February 19, can join a tour of GE’s Transformer Remanufacturing Service Center, Los Angeles, from 2:30 to 6 p.m.

Learning objectives include the following:

    • Become familiar with transformer designs and manufacturing techniques.

    • Write transformer specifications.

    • Interpret factory and field test data.

    • Apply transformer maintenance best practices.

    • Integrate intelligent condition-monitoring technologies.

    • Develop repair, refurbishment, and replacement strategies.

    • Learn how to improve safety and grid reliability.

Most everything you’ll want to know about this meeting can be accessed via the following links:

    • Detailed agenda, including session descriptions and thumbnail biographies of the speakers. (link)

    • Training tracks. (link)

    • Special one-day seminar: Transformer condition assessment using laboratory diagnostics. (link)

    • Meeting registration. (link)

    • Hotel reservation. (link)

    • Read CCJ’s summary of Doble VP Paul Griffin’s user-group presentation, Asset Health Review of Transformer Fleets.

HRSG issues? Here’s where you can the guidance to resolve them

The HRSG Forum with Bob Anderson debuts on the EPRI Campus in Charlotte, NC, Feb 28-Mar 2. Anderson is one of very few people with the technical qualifications, plant experience, interpersonal skills, and discussion leadership to conduct a meaningful forum on heat-recovery steam generators for combined-cycle and cogeneration plants. He has honed his unique skillset over the last decade, participating in interactive user-oriented HRSG meetings in this country, Australasia, Canada, Europe, and elsewhere. Anderson joined Competitive Power Resources, an independent consulting firm specializing in HRSGs and related auxiliaries, upon retirement from Florida Power Corp/Progress Energy after 33 years of service. He held a variety of positions at those utilities, including director of gas-turbine major maintenance and manager of combined-cycle services.

Use the links below to access the conference program. It reflects the gamut of presentations and discussion sessions on HRSGs of importance to owner/operators of generating plants equipped with gas turbines ranging in size from the popular aero models up through the latest H and J machines. The know-how gained by participating in this forum will help users and maintenance professionals be more successful, and their plants more profitable.

Anderson assures attendees will benefit greatly from the expert interaction in Q&A sessions following the presentations and in the discussion sessions he so deftly leads. Plus, he says, they’ll have the opportunity to mingle and chat one-on-one and in small groups at receptions and meals. Other benefits: continuing education credit, complete meeting minutes, copies of presentations, and names and contact information of fellow participants.

Use these links to access program and registration information:

    • Agenda. (link)

    • Speaker bios. (link)

    • Meeting registration. (link)

    • Lodging/directions. (link)

    • Sponsors/exhibitors. (link)

Bob Anderson is a long-time CCJ contributor, having penned his first article in Issue 1 of the COMBINED CYCLE Journal and his most recent in the quarterly’s current issue, Number 50. The editors selected a few articles he has either written or contributed to recently to provide background on key subjects that will be addressed at the meeting.

    • Keep heat in cycling HRSGs to mitigate thermal fatigue. (link)

    • Attemperators: HRSG enemy No. 1. (link)

    • Ultrasonic flowmeter differentiates between water and steam in HRSG drain lines. (link)

    • AHUG: Sharing HRSG knowledge globally. (link)

    • Mining data to identify problems and improve performance takes perseverance and know-how. (link)

    • Understanding thermal transients and how to make SH/RH drains operate effectively. (link)

    • SPECIAL REPORT: HRSG assessments identify trends in cycle chemistry, thermal transient performance. (link)

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