Unlocking the power: Exploring steam turbine reliability and performance with Sulzer

Learn about the future of power generation with key insights from Sulzer’s Andrianto Hapsoro and Alan Cumberbirch.

The relentless demand for increased power production, coupled with the need for flexible load operations driven by grid requirements and the pursuit of energy security, has cast a spotlight on the challenges faced by operators of steam turbine drivetrains. This heightened operational environment intensifies the risks of wear and tear, ultimately escalating unexpected outages.

Industry experts Andrianto Hapsoro, Head of Engineering at Sulzer, and Alan Cumberbirch, Electromechanical Services Business Advisor at Sulzer, shed light on the critical aspects of steam turbine operations at the “Elevating Power: Advancing Steam Turbine Technology for Reliability and Performance” webinar, held by Asian Power in partnership with Sulzer last 22 November 2023.

Andrianto started off with an overview, having talked about central steam turbine pain points as well as compelling case studies from real-world projects. He identified some of the most critical issues arising from steam turbines, such as rubbing, corrosion, and more, tapping on Sulzer’s vast accumulated experience of dealing with such machines for the past 20+ years within APAC. Alan likewise delved into some of the most common turbogenerator challenges, like deteriorating grading tapes, partial discharge, and more. 

Additionally, Andrianto and Alan shared compelling case studies related to the mentioned technical pain points, revolving around salvaging unexpected equipment failures back to reliability whilst offering practical insights into Sulzer's approach to repairs and maintenance. These presentations showcased how effectively addressing the root causes of technical pain points ensures optimal performance and reliability.

Andrianto recommended strategies such as monitoring clearances during overhauls, ensuring steam quality, and employing advanced anti-erosion coatings. Critical spare parts availability, particularly operational spares, emerged as another crucial factor in preventing unexpected outages, with a specific emphasis on maintaining spare coils on site for generators to swiftly address winding failures and minimise downtime.

The ISP (Independent Service Provider) approach was also discussed as a competent and cost-effective alternative to OEM’s (Original Equipment Manufacturer) solutions, providing retrofit repairs and fast responses. The advantages of choosing an ISP were explored, including cost-effectiveness, retrofit repairs, fast response times, and the ability to operate independently of OEM-specific constraints. With this, Sulzer emphasised its commitment to continuous engineering design improvements, ensuring reliable and efficient solutions beyond OEM specifications and constraints.

Additionally, the webinar also delved into successes in reverse engineering, such as the re-manufacturing of an entire stator core that resulted in significant cost savings and equipment life extension.

Most importantly, Alan reiterated the advantages that an independent service provider has, as opposed to relying on conventional OEM options. Sulzer, as an ISP, offers quick response times, reliability, cost-effectiveness, and a proven track record in the APAC region, with more than 1500 turbines serviced for the past 20+ years.

Sulzer also has the capacity to assist regional and global power producers through well-equipped workshops, transportable tooling, and equipment. Its experienced team of engineers and operators operates from strategically located service centres across the region.

The “Elevating Power: Advancing Steam Turbine Technology for Reliability and Performance” webinar provided a comprehensive overview of the challenges faced within the industry and offered practical solutions to enhance steam turbine reliability. Attendees gained valuable insights into strategies for minimising downtime, extending equipment lifecycles, and implementing effective repair and maintenance practices.

Discover valuable strategies for minimising downtime, extending equipment lifecycles, and implementing effective repair and maintenance practices. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the challenges in the industry and practical solutions for enhancing steam turbine reliability, watch the webinar here

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