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How milling machines can help improve power plant efficiency

Posted by Alan Hillier on Jan 5, 2016 10:00:00 AM


    

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Ensuring the profitable long-term operation of a power generation plant requires optimising the machinery used to help achieve maximum plant availability, equipment reliability and reduced forced outages. But how can this be achieved?

Typical power plant maintenance programmes can vary, but can be as follows;

  • Preventive maintenance
  • Predictive maintenance 
  • Scheduled maintenance
  • Major refurbishments

In each of the above scenarios a need for on-site machining can arise, not just for repair but also to ‘retrofit’ machinery to help meet today’s new laws and efficiency standards.  

The maintenance manager is often responsible for overseeing equipment purchases and the information below aims to help those with this challenge by explaining typical applications where milling machines can provide a solution.

 

Applications within the power generation sector

Milling machines can been used for many different purposes in the power generation sector. Recent projects and items we’ve encountered include; the resurfacing of mounting plates on skids, coal crushers, turbine mountings, CNC milling in nuclear power stations, stay vane machining in hydro plants, refurbishing heat exchangers and making turbine split lines.

Let’s take a closer look at two very different applications in more detail;

 

Machining equipment mounting plates

It is very common for plant equipment in power and petrochemical plants to be installed on ‘skids’. These are metal base frames designed to provide a secure and steady base for machinery such as turbines, pumps, compressors and pipework.

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Plant equipment mounted onto a skid.

 

To ensure trouble free and efficient operation of plant equipment, items attached to skids should be level and securely fastened. But with much of the equipment still in operation within power plants being more than 40 years old, these have naturally been subject to wear and tear, vibration, heat distortion, and natural movement of the supporting floor.

 

To help resolve the above problems, a gantry milling machine can be used to resurface the equipment seatings and to carry out other operations such as drilling and tapping. These machines are available in either 2 or 3 axis configurations and are also accompanied with a variety of milling rail sizes. For more complex projects the machines can be operated via a CNC control unit. 

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A Mirage 2 axis milling machine mounted onto a gantry

 

Machining of stay vanes in a hydro power plant

One very different application to the above was on a project where Mirage was asked to help out at a hydro power plant.

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Stay vanes are a key component within a Francis turbine.

A vital section within a hydro plant is the turbine area (used to convert the pressure energy of the fluid into momentum energy) this contains ‘stay vanes’ which direct the water flow at specific angles to the runner blades inside the turbine.

Our customer wanted to increase the efficiency of the stay vanes by machining the vane surfaces to help improve the flow of the water. The machine chosen for this application was a vertically mounted 3 axis milling machine, which was used with a number of different sized milling rails. The project was a success with the customer reporting a 3% increase in efficiency.

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Mirage milling machine used on a stay vane project.

Find out more about our range of milling machines which are available for sale or rental by downloading our Linear & Gantry Milling Buyer’s guide.

If you would prefer to discuss your maintenance projects right away call us on +44 (0) 1332 291767 or email sales@miragemachines.com

 Download the Linear and Gantry Milling Machine Buyer's Guide

Topics: milling, gantry milling machine, power plant maintenance, machining skids

   

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