Safety – Procedures & Administration: MEAG Wansley Unit 9

In-house infrared surveys allow more timely, effective assessments

MEAG Wansley Unit 9
Owned by Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia
Operated by GE Contractual Services 503-MW, gas-fired, 2 × 1 combined cycle located in Franklin, Ga
Plant manager: Keith Feemster
Key project participants: Ken Burton, maintenance technician; Tim Williams, maintenance manager

Challenge.

Annual preventive maintenance activities to perform infrared surveys on high voltage electrical busses (4160 V) and equipment have inherent safety issues that include accidental contact with live electrical components and possible exposure to an arc flash.The infrared surveys require the opening of cubicle doors on HV electrical control centers. The opening of these cubicle doors would have to be scheduled during planned outages when electrical loading was not typical. A contractor would have to be scheduled for these tasks and was generally unfamiliar with the site’s equipment and procedures.

Solution.

As a part of the site’s continuous improvement culture, personnel are encouraged to recommend areas where safety and quality can be improved. As the result of a recommendation to perform the infrared surveys in-house, the site purchased an infrared camera along with software needed for completion of the surveys.

The site also purchased and installed infrared viewports on the HV electrical cubicles and equipment to allow safe inspection of these areas. Site technicians completed a Level 1 infrared certification course which enables them to operate the camera and evaluate the captured infrared images.

Materials and training needed for implementation are:

  • Infrared Camera and software, $17,995.
  • Spyglass lens for camera, $5,650.
  • Viewports (arc flash protection level), $150 each.
  • Level 1 certification course, $1,800.

Results.

Infrared surveys now are conducted at any time without the delay or cost of hiring a contractor or scheduling equipment outages. The installed viewports allow surveys to be conducted without the opening of electrical doors. This eliminated the potential for arc flash along with exposure to live electrical components.

The camera can be used on multitude of equipment. In addition to identifying poor electrical connections and devices, we have been able to identify hotspots on our HRSGs, piping insulation breakdown, and loose mechanical components. Since our site technicians, who have an inherent knowledge of the equipment are conducting the assessment, we can better identify both maintenance actions and priorities.