Why Turbine Maintenance Needs Alignment
Preserving turbines in optimal working condition and prolonging their lifespan is achieved through diligent turbine preventive maintenance. In industries heavily reliant on machinery, this type of maintenance guarantees that potential issues are addressed early, preventing them from escalating into significant problems that result in expensive interruptions. Meanwhile, consistently conducting alignment assessments is crucial to avert unplanned turbine repair work.
Why Does Misalignment Cause Issues?
Essentially, the entire issue lies in misalignment,
which is the leading cause of failure for turbines and other rotating machinery. Improperly aligned shafts result in heightened vibration, rotor distortion, and a domino effect of issues that culminate in early bearing failure and diminished seal longevity. As misalignment is a progressive problem, ignoring it can ultimately lead to complete equipment breakdown and the necessity for replacement. For that reason, prioritizing turbine preventive maintenance is fundamental in addressing this concern.
Precision Shaft Alignment for Turbine
Turbine preventive maintenance must incorporate accurate shaft alignment as a key aspect. Diligently observing components and conditions enables equipment operators to decrease the frequency of unforeseen turbine repairs. Key monitoring elements encompass flow rate, vibration, lubrication & lubricant, rotor speed, load, power, noise levels, and auxiliary system functioning. Recognizing shifts in these factors can assist in identifying early signs of alignment issues.
On the other hand, various causes can lead to shaft misalignments in turbines, such as alterations in thermal growth, piping stress, or misalignment during installation or overhaul.
Turbine Preventive Maintenance: Striking a Balance!
Alignment is critical to turbine preventive maintenance, ensuring the motor shaft’s centerline aligns with the drive shaft’s centerline. There are two primary types of misalignment: parallel or radial, further categorized as vertical or horizontal, and angular, also classified as vertical or horizontal. Misalignment may be caused by offset, angular, or a combination of both factors.
In parallel misalignment, the motor and drive shafts either move away from each other vertically while remaining on the horizontal plane (parallel vertical misalignment) or horizontally while staying parallel on the horizontal plane (parallel horizontal misalignment). Angular misalignment occurs when the shafts are at angles to one another, either on the vertical plane (angular vertical misalignment) or the horizontal plane (angular horizontal misalignment).
Although turbine preventative maintenance could cause an interruption in operations, the cost savings that occur from the subsequent decrease in the number of turbine repairs are considerable. There are two primary methods for performing alignments: static and dynamic.
During this turbine preventive maintenance, equipment alignment typically occurs when the machine is inactive. Addressing soft foot problems, significant misalignment, and restoring the system to optimal tolerance levels are best accomplished during this static alignment phase.
During this type of turbine preventive maintenance, shaft alignment is conducted while the machinery remains in operation. This is favored among the two alignment methods since it allows technicians to observe alterations, thermal expansion, and shaft displacement as the equipment functions. The machine’s transition from a “cold-to-operating” state is determined and incorporated within the alignment parameters by implementing dynamic alignment. Eventually, this contributes to establishing precise tolerance differences, facilitating proactive monitoring.
Regardless of the method used for attaining alignment, remember that most machines have stringent requirements regarding the tolerant range of alignment deviations. This highlights the importance of accurate shaft alignment in turbine preventive maintenance and restoration efforts.
Select Laser Alignment is the company to call for precise alignment and preventative maintenance on your turbines and other rotating equipment. Our focus is restoring and maintaining your rotating machinery’s optimal operation. Contact us if you want to find out how we can assist you.