Open discussion sessions offer the opportunity to get answers to your questions

Open discussion forums are highly valued by attendees but they can be challenging, particularly when there’s a high percentage of first-timers in the room, which is typical of user-group meetings these days as plant managers try to get recent hires trained and involved quickly. 

The 7EA steering committee has to select discussion topics that they believe of interest to the group and if these don’t self-ignite, committee members have to light the fire and keep it burning with their input. Sometimes burning wet hay is easier.

So, you say, why not ask the attendees what they want to talk about. Sounds logical, but the reality is that users with many meeting notches on their belts might ask colleagues one-on-one, and those attending for the first time often are reluctant to raise their hands in a room full of strangers.

It’s a given that owner/operators pride themselves on developing solutions to knotty problems. The 7EA Users Group committee solved this one by placing a large white board at the front of the meeting room, asking those with questions and discussion topics to write them on the board during breaks. They did, but not all the topics proved fruitful.

Last year, committee members Pat Myers and Jason Hampton led the discussion sessions, with the latter feeding questions/topics on the white board to Myers, who had the mic. Hampton jotted down attendee notes for follow-up and put other topics on the board as they arose during the discussion.

A wide variety of discussion topics was brought to the floor during the meeting—some general enough to be of interest to many attendees, others very specific and seemingly beyond the experience, knowledge, and/or interest of most users in the room. Here’s a sampling:

      • Fifth-stage patch ring. Not viewed as an issue.

      • Shaft rotation on loss of hydraulics. Two users reported ratchet failure because of hydraulic issues but a discussion never got going.

      • Torque-converter maintenance best practices. Not much was said. Seems like many users just expect problems with torque converters no matter what they do.

      • Exhaust-plenum issues (sagging and warping). Welding solutions were highlighted.

      • Exhaust-duct liner failure. Inspect and maintain regularly.

      • Sticking fuel-oil check valve. One user reported spending more testing than it cost to replace valves. Another suggested buying repair kits and rebuilding the valves.

      • Generators generated much interest and discussion. Individual users reported the following:

· Six generator failures in the last five years. Five of the six were hydrogen-cooled.

· Owner/operator of 15 air-cooled units reported issues with rotors and J straps.

· Same rotor failure occurred twice because of high time on turning gear.

· Re-blocking experience reviewed for a high-hours unit with normal wear and tear.

· Ground faults attributed to water in-leakage.

· Inspection/testing for peaking units: Only doing quarterly partial-discharge testing, not making any inspections.

· Borescoping: not many doing this.

· Greasing was reported by several attendees.

· Rotor insulation slipping and covering cooling-air holes. Result: Unbalance condition.

· Thermal sensitivity issues and shorted turns contributing to vibration problems. Three machines required rewinding.

The discussion forums strategically positioned on the program for the 25th annual 7EA Users Group meeting at the Hershey Lodge Conference Center, Hershey, Pa, Oct 31-Nov 3, 2016 may identify some of these same talking points, plus many others. Get your questions answered by writing them on the white board at the front of the meeting room and participating in the discussion they generate.

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