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Best Practices in Turbine Outage Planning: Preparing in Advance
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Best Practices in Turbine Outage Planning: Preparing in Advance

Written by ATC Government & Turbine

Turbine generator maintenance requires a strategic planning approach for systematic outages. Best practices for outage planning necessitates a focus on three aspects:

  1. Pre-outage planning  
  2. Execution
  3. Evaluation

We will discuss pre-outage planning below, and subsequent posts will provide details on execution and evaluation.

Pre-Outage Planning

Safety, reliability, and cost are three critical elements of power generation. Planning is essential for all three, and is vital for improving performance between outages to ensure reliable operations—and thus improved profitability.

Collecting past history and performing data analysis will guide actions taken during the outage. No one likes surprises when it comes to turbine maintenance and repair. The pre-outage planning should include:

  • Complete outage history review
  • Full visual inspection of components and auxiliaries 
  • Comprehensive outage schedule
  • Detailed scope-of-work targeting equipment and outage needs
  • Recommended parts/spare parts list and inventory review

Outage History & Visual Inspection

You’ll need to allocate one-and-a-half to two years for outage planning, including a full review of prior outage reports, outage work history, and inspection results. This also necessitates on-site interviews with maintenance and operations personnel, and developing a thorough understanding of any chronic component concerns.

Additional analysis should include a review of past recommendations, digital images and results from visual inspections, and anything related to each component’s original list of recommendations. A review and evaluation of all technical advisories enables the plant to analyze spare parts availability and prioritize parts replacement during the planned outage.

A full review of operational data should identify and benchmark all abnormalities. These include an evaluation of startup events and paying special attention to instrumentation variables such as vibration, bearing temperature, differential expansion, etc. You should also take advantage of the opportunity in this stage to gather benchmark data for use in your post-outage report. Additionally, it’s important to review duty cycles and examine evidence for damaged areas impacted by low-cycle fatigue.

Outage Schedule & Scope of Work

A maintenance timeline—taking into account maintenance policies, service factors, and contractual obligations—should be developed for each unit in service and shared with all parties involved in determining outage readiness. The timeline becomes part of the scope of work along with other equipment and outage needs:

  • An evaluation of all technical advisories and notes for applicability.
  • A review of any punch list items that might be open from the previous maintenance or installation.
  • An evaluation of potential upgrades.

Parts & Inventory Review

In addition to a maintenance timeline, you’ll need to be prepared with a list of parts and personnel. Parts availability is a major factor, so you should be prepared to forecast particularly troublesome procurement, e.g., routing parts off-site for repairs, transportation rules of various states and municipalities, etc. Management resources, and everything from heavy equipment down to rigging slings can also be a major factor. Be prepared, outages can quickly stretch all your resources.

Pre-outage planning is a best practice in managing turbine outage, or as Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Future posts will discuss outage execution and post-outage evaluation.

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