Upcoming meetings for your consideration (through June 2017)

7F Users Group: Some new faces, same great program

The technical agenda for the 7F Users Group’s 2017 conference, May 15-19, at the La Cantera Resort & Spa in San Antonio, Tex, is gas-turbine-focused and robust, and offering diversity of subject matter to address the many O&M challenges facing plant management today.

Recall that the program for last year’s 25th anniversary meeting was changed to drill deeper into engine topics, moving in-depth sessions on heat-recovery steam generators, steam turbines, and generators to the Power Users program in late summer where that equipment could be covered in greater detail.

Agenda highlights. Monday (May 15) starts off easy enough: The annual golf tournament is conducted from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in parallel with tours of PW Power Systems Inc’s nearby facility specializing in 7FA component inspection/repair/manufacturing. Busses leave the hotel lobby at 9, 10, and 11; the tours each take about an hour and a quarter.

Remainder of Monday (2 p.m. to 6) is set aside for technical sessions presented by PW Power Systems. Features and benefits of the third-party supplier’s commercial offerings—some of which you may not have associated with PWPS™ previously—dominate the content descriptions for those sessions.

In the editor’s view, a nugget in the supplier’s program of value to virtually all plant O&M personnel, and especially those at plants self-performing maintenance, is the “7F Scrap Clinic.” Given today’s razor-thin margins in the generation business, you likely do not want to scrap repairable components.

Tuesday and Wednesday are the “meat and potatoes” of the meeting, offering perhaps a dozen or more presentations by owner/operators and open discussions on a variety of topics that impact plant performance, safety, etc. You can expect about 250 users to attend these closed sessions, from 8 a.m. to 3:30, p.m., ready to share their experiences—both good and bad.

Sessions running from about one to two hours each focus on the compressor, combustion, and turbine sections of the engine, safety, performance and controls, auxiliaries, and 7F Top Issues and best practices.

The 7F Best Practices Awards program is a collaborative effort between the user group and CCJ. Presentations of the 2017 awards will be made at the conclusion of the Top Issues discussion Wednesday afternoon. Finalists this year are the following plants:

      • Barney Davis Energy Center.

      • Calhoun Power.

      • Effingham County Power LLC.

      • Faribault Energy Park.

      • Green Country Energy LLC.

      • Nueces Bay Energy Center.

      • Nuevo Pemex Cogeneration.

      • Plant Rowan.

      • Rathdrum Power LLC.

      • Thomas A Smith Energy Facility.

      • Vandolah Power.

      • Woodbridge Energy Center.

Special vendor presentations are incorporated into the program from 3:45 to 5 both days, just ahead of a three-hour vendor fair beginning at 5:30. There are two 45-minute supplier sessions, each with three companies presenting in parallel. It’s virtually impossible not to find at least one topic of interest. Here’s a rundown:

Tuesday, Session 1:

      • Repair of platform cracks on 7FA.03 first-stage buckets, Dr Warren Miglietti, ProEnergy

      • 7FA diffuser-duct insulation and liner system upgrade to improve reliability and performance, Lester Stanley and Scott Olson, HRST Inc, and Jeff Wilkinson, Alliant Energy

      • Benefit of stacking inlet cooling technologies for power augmentation, Chris Mieckowsi, Stellar Energy

Tuesday, Session 2:

      • Emergent generator repairs required because of increased cyclic duty, Jamie Clark, AGT Services

      • 7F product offerings for enhanced operational flexibility, Dr Peter Stuttaford and RuthAnn Rawlings, PSM

      • Impact of GT upgrades and increased cycling requirements on catalyst systems, Andrew Toback, Environex Inc

Wednesday, Session 1:

      • Machinery protection and monitoring, Jim Fenton, Alta Solutions Inc

      • Mitigating the impact of weather conditions on GT operations, Adam Jeffries, AAF International

      • 7F turning-gear design, operation, and maintenance, Tim Connor, Koenig Engineering Inc

Wednesday, Session 2:

      • Advanced ultrasonic inspection methodologies for aft compressor-wheel cracking, Kevin McKinley, Veracity Technology Solutions

      • The changing landscape for combined-cycle operation, David Cicconi, Emerson

      • Condition-based maintenance of the generator, bus, and transformers, James Timperley, Doble Engineering Co

The OEM owns Thursday and Friday. Program arrangement this year mirrors that of 2016 with appropriate subject-matter breakout sessions. This avoids the mesmerizing effect of a seemingly endless parade of speakers that one can experience with a single-platform format, the old standard. The new format allows users to drop out of a session without disrupting other attendees and return invigorated, not having had to listen to a presentation of little or no interest.

Thursday begins with a two-hour general session, half of what it was last year, and transitions to five 45-minute breakout sessions with 15-minute breaks between. Each breakout period features presentations on four topics arranged in parallel. A 45-minute feedback session closes out the classroom activities with both users and the OEM participating. The busy day ends with a three-hour product fair from 6 p.m. to 9.

The Thursday breakouts promise a blend of information of value to users with less than three years in the industry as well as those with a decade or more of experience. Topics include the following:

      • Compressor, including lessons learned from flat-bottom inspections.

      • Combustion, including an update on DLN 2.6+ fleet experience and NOx spikes.

      • Turbine, including experience with AGP and repairs of cracked third-stage buckets.

      • Exhaust-frame enhancements.

      • Rotor-life-management best practices and latest life-extension results.

      • Accessories and controls, including best practices and troubleshooting recommendations.

      • Electrical systems, including maintenance best practices and impacts of cyclic operation.

      • Digital solutions, including analytics for improving reliability.

      • Repair operations: New service shop network for keeping owner/operators involved throughout the repair process.

      • 7F.05 and beyond, including fleet experience, best practices, information-sharing with Dot-05 users, and technologies in development.

Important to note is that several of the 45-minute presentation/discussions are offered twice, so you have a couple of opportunities to attend sessions of greatest interest.

7F Grad School is the theme for Friday’s program. The grad-school idea was introduced by GE last year and was well-received. Subject matter is broader than offered in the Thursday program and allows attendees the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of “why things are the way they are.” It’s also a way to decompress from the onslaught of technical material received the first four days of the conference and gain valuable perspective.

Program arrangement is the same as for the Thursday program except that there are only three breakout sessions on Friday before the meeting concludes shortly before noon. Here are the topics:

      • Market dynamics for engineers and the impacts they have on operations. Factored into the presentation/discussion are the effects of renewables, fuels and their prices, energy storage, expiring PPAs, etc.

      • Controls 101. Demystifying modern control systems for the mechanically inclined.

      • Repairs 101: Session will answer such questions as, “Why are you proposing to do that to my parts? Can I weld single-crystal buckets? How firm are the recommended intervals?” and any that you want answered.

      • Aeromechanics 101 includes an overview of airfoil design, blending considerations, the hazards of running with cracked airfoils, etc.

      • “Make my plant better” is a strategic discussion session involving plant-level considerations, uprate opportunities, and oft-overlooked mods capable of maximizing site performance.

      • O&M zeroes in on outage planning and execution best practices, inventory management, minimizing variable costs, etc.

CTOTF™, April 23-27, 42nd Spring Conference and Trade Show, Orlando, Fla, DoubleTree by Hilton. Chairman: Jack Borsch, Lake Worth Utilities.

501D5-D5A Users. June 6-8, 20th Anniversary Meeting, Napa, Calif, Napa Valley Marriott. Chairman: Gabe Fleck, Associated Electric Cooperative Inc.

V Users Group, June 12-15, 2017 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tenn, Renaissance Nashville Hotel. To register or for more information, contact Kelly Lewis, conference coordinator.

Frame 6 Users Group, June 18-22, Annual Conference & Vendor Fair, San Antonio, Tex, La Cantera Hill Country Resort and Spa. Co-chairmen: Jeff Gillis, ExxonMobil Research & Engineering Co, and Sam Moots, Colorado Energy Management.

T3000 Users Group, June 20-22, 2017 Conference, Atlanta, Ga, Hilton Atlanta/Marietta Hotel and Conference Center. Chairman: Bob Lake, FPL. To register or for more information, contact Elizabeth Moore, event coordinator.

Cycle Chemistry and FAC, June 27-28, training workshop conducted by Dr Barry Dooley, Structural Integrity Associates Inc. Hilton Embassy Suites, Cincinnati, Ohio.

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