Precision Laser Alignment Reduces Turbine Downtime
The Client’s Critical Issue
Sometimes the Dimensional Engineering team is called upon to validate the designs of turbine engines that have long been in use, as part of the equipment’s scheduled maintenance. We recently helped fine-tune the performance of a steam turbine at a power plant in Odessa, Texas. The goal: to keep the turbine operating smoothly for many more years to come.
The Dimensional Engineering Solution
The turbine was disassembled and the alignments of all stationary internal components were assessed and adjusted. Particularly urgent was the need to ensure that all stators were precisely aligned as per the equipment’s design. Taking digital measurements made this possible.
The Dimensional Engineering team used laser tracking to conduct an iterative process of measure, assess, and adjust from stage to stage to stage. We could work far more quickly – and be far more confident of their measurements’ accuracy – than if we had performed this work purely by hand. The recalibrated components were then reassembled to run with optimum efficiency.
The Value We Provided
You can liken this project to automobile maintenance: The better tuned the engine, the longer the car will stay on the road. In the same way, there’s no reason a well-tuned turbine engine can’t keep performing as it was designed for as long as the useful life of its parts.
This was the first time the OEM used laser trackers to perform a diaphragm alignment within a turbine engine. They were very pleased with the results.
Using laser trackers and 3D scanners for turbine alignment is a Dimensional Engineering specialty.