Knowledge shared by the OEM important to 7EA owner/operators

The OEM’s engineering team will take the podium after the morning break on Day One of the 2016 7EA Users Group meeting at the Hershey Lodge Conference Center, Hershey, Pa, October 31-November 3. GE engineers will present on a wide variety of topics before the session closes at 5 p.m. Although no formal program is yet available, several presentations likely will update ones made last year in Santa Fe, possibly some of the ones profiled below. You can dig deeper by accessing the PowerPoints at

      • The OEM’s focus is on total plant solutions: gas and steam turbines, generators, HRSGs, pumps, valves, piping, consumables, and everything else. GE wants customers to view it as a one-stop shop for equipment and services required by powerplant owner/operators.

      • The company’s power services and repair network is touting its ability to provide so-called smart repairs, defined as repair scope and cycle flexibility to meet a given plant’s specific needs. Engineering focus is on mature-fleet technology to provide a better customer outcome. Enhanced and transparent communications are part of the promise, too—including more thorough and timely repair reports. A new customer portal, MyDashboard, provides up-to-date information on your jobs in GE shops.

      • A focal point of a presentation on next-generation repair solutions was scrap reduction. Mentions included a radial seal replacement for shrouds to improve performance and a new bucket-tip repair procedure.

      • A brief commercial in the presentation on repairs with “news” value: GE wants to be your first choice for repairs, regardless of whose components they are and/or who repaired them in the past. Also, the company now is offering certified refurbished parts as an alternative to new.

      • LifeSight, a wire-free strain/creep sensor permanently affixed to the surfaces of parts, such as compressor blades, indicates strain beneath the sensor. Data are retained for trending. Users might want to investigate this new offering given increasing emphasis on the digital transformation of electricity and the need for viable diagnostics/prognostics solutions.

      • A lack of 7EA jacking provisions was found to contribute to exhaust-frame slippage. Indications of case slippage include displacement of seams at the four-way joint. Not checking the torque of axial bolts prior to breaking the horizontal joint also is a contributor to vibration. Attendees were referred to TIL 1819-R2 and GEK 131700.

      • Inlet bleed heat (IBH) has a half-dozen functions—including compressor surge protection and extended turndown operation. Issues often are related to valves installed outside. Rust and corrosion typically impede proper operation. Recommendation: Have spares on-hand given the long lead time for these components. IBH is not normally arranged for anti-icing service. To get this capability some controls work might be necessary.

      • OpFlex was described as reliability improvement software with the objective of avoiding trips through runbacks, timers, counters, trends, etc. It also enables extended turndown and fast starting.

      • Compressor bleed/extraction valves were said to be experiencing high failure rates. More reliable replacements are nearing commercial availability attendees were told. Recommendations: Install valves tilted away from the GT casing and install heat shields. In particularly hot areas, consider relocating valves outside the enclosure. Plus, service valve actuators every two years.

      • Mark V controls are still supported by GE. The OEM offers health checks, revitalization, upgrades, migration to Mark VIe technology, etc.

      • Rotor-in inspection was introduced to the group. The speaker said the big benefit is a seven-day reduction in the outage cycle. He said about 30% to 40% of the labor hours associated with a conventional rotor inspection is spent removing/replacing components to gain access. No inspection process is eliminated users were told.

      • Other benefits of the rotor-in inspection alternative: higher availability, eliminates risks associated with heavy lifts over plant components, eliminates scaffolding for rotor removal, less heavy equipment onsite, fewer interfaces with other contractors, less laydown required for storing parts, etc.

      • Outage planning lessons learned: Define scope a year in advance; develop realistic schedules based on your site and plant needs—for example, one shift or two; identify contingency plans for parts, labor, shipping, storage, schedule, etc. A reminder: Replacement shrouds likely are not pre-drilled so be prepared to line up a local machine shop for this effort.

      • Upgrades. The latest performance improvement package (PIP) is the 7E.03, which offers increased output, better heat rate, and other benefits. The speaker recommended users evaluate firing-temperature and sealing upgrades to get more from existing assets.

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