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Maintenance costs and availability are two of the most important concerns to a gas turbine
equipment owner. Therefore, a well thought out maintenance program that optimizes the
owners costs and maximizes equipment availability should be instituted. Parts unique to a
gas turbine requiring the most careful attention are those associated with the combustion
process, together with those exposed to the hot gases discharged from the combustion
system. These are called the combustion section and hot gas path parts, and they include
combustion liners, end caps, fuel nozzle assemblies, crossfire tubes, transition pieces,
turbine nozzles, turbine stationary shrouds and turbine buckets. Additional areas for
consideration and planning, though longer term concerns, are the lives of the compressor
rotor, turbine rotor, casings and exhaust diffuser. The basic design and recommended
maintenance of gas turbines are oriented toward:
Maximum periods of operation between inspections and overhauls
In-place, on-site inspection and maintenance
Use of local trade skills to disassemble, inspect and re-assemble gas turbine components
In addition to maintenance of the basic gas turbine, the control devices, fuel-metering
equipment, gas turbine auxiliaries, load package, and other station auxiliaries also require
periodic servicing. The primary maintenance effort involves five basic systems: controls and
accessories, combustion, turbine, generator and balance-of-plant. Controls and accessories
are typically serviced in outages of short duration, whereas the other four systems are
maintained through less frequent outages of longer duration.

As with any power equipment, gas turbines require a program of planned inspections
with repair

or replacement of damaged components. A properly designed and

conducted inspection and preventive maintenance program can do much to increase

the availability of gas turbines and reduce unscheduled maintenance. Inspections and
preventive maintenance can be expensive, but not as costly as forced shutdowns.
Nearly all manufacturers emphasize and describe preventive maintenance procedures
to ensure the reliability of their machinery, and any maintenance program should be
based on manufacturer's recommendations. Inspection and preventive maintenance
procedures can be tailored t o individual equipment application with references such
as the manufacturer's instruction book, the operator's manual, and the preventive
maintenance checklist.

Inspections range from daily checks made while the unit is operating to major
inspections that require almost total disassembly of the gas turbine. Daily inspections
should include (but are not limited to) the following checks:
1. Lubrication oil level
2. Oil leakage around the engine
3. Loose fasteners, pipe and tube fittings, and electrical connections
4. Inlet filters
5. Exhaust system
6. Control and monitoring system indicator lights
The daily inspection should require less than an hour to perform properly and can be
made by the operator. The interval between more thorough inspections will depend
on the operating conditions of the gas turbine. Manufacturers generally provide

guidelines for determining inspection intervals based on exhaust gas temperatures,

type/ quality of fuel utilized, and number of starts.

Minor inspections should be performed after about 3000-6000 hours of operation, or

after approximately 200 starts, whichever comes first. This inspection requires a
shutdown for two to five days, depending on availability of parts and extent of repair
work to be done. During this inspection, the combustion system and turbine should be
checked. The first minor inspection or overhaul of a turbine forms the most important
datum point in its maintenance history, and it should always be made under the
supervision of an experienced engineer. All data should be carefully taken and
compared with the turbine erection information to ascertain if any setting changes,

















recommendations or help to establish maintenance trends for particular operating


When the established time for major maintenance approaches, a meeting should be
arranged between the operating department and the manufacturer's engineer to
discuss and arrange for the date of turbine outage. A short time before taking the
turbine out of service a complete operational test should be made at zero, onehalf,





be made

maximum loads,


These tests





will serve as a means of comparison

immediately after the







with identical tests that

unit is overhauled. The operational tests

should end with an over-speed trip test to indicate whether attention should be

given to the
specific data




will also serve together






with the logged operational data or case

history (which should be reviewed with the manufacturer's engineer) to determine the
focal point or items requiring special attention or investigation.
1. Increase or change in vibration
2. Decrease in air compressor discharge pressure
3. Change in lube oil temperatures or pressure
4. Air or combustion gases blowing out at the shaft seals
5. Incorrectly reading thermocouples
6. Change in wheel space temperatures
7. Fuel oil or gas leakage
8. Fuel control valves operate satisfactorily
9. Hydraulic control oil pressures changed
10. The turbine governor hunts''
11. Change in sound level of gear boxes
12. Overspeed devices operate satisfactorily
13. Babbitt or other material found on lubricating oil screens
14. Lube oil analysis shows corrosion factor increase
15. Change in pressure drop across heat exchangers
16. Turbogenerator reaches rated load at design ambient and exhaust temperature

The major maintenance program carried out on a Gas turbine includes:

Borescope Inspection

Borescope inspection is carried out because of the following benefits it can provide in
the maintenance program:
1. Internal on-site visual checks without disassembly
2. External periods between scheduled inspections
3. Allows accurate planning and scheduling of maintenance actions
4. Monitors condition of internal components
5. Increased ability to predict required parts, special tools, and skilled manpower
A borescope inspection is done every year that is every 8,000 hours of operation as part
of the annual inspection. It is a way of examining the internals of the gas turbine by
snaking a fiber-optic cable inside the turbine casing without going through the trouble
of opening up the turbine and looking at its internals directly. Besides doing the
borescope inspection, the OEM maintenance technician during this annual inspection also
checks every alarm and shut down device to see if it is working properly. He also checks
all major fluid levels and filters. In general, an annual or semiannual borescope inspection
should use all the available access points to verify the safe and uncompromised condition of
the static and rotating hardware. This should include, but is not limited to, signs of
excessive gas path fouling, symptoms of surface degradation (such as erosion, corrosion, or
spalling), displaced components, deformation or impact damage, material loss, nicks, dents,
cracking, indications of contact or rubbing, or other anomalous conditions.
At Combustion Inspection or Annually, Whichever
Gas and Distillate Occurs First
At Combustion Inspection or Semiannually, Whichever

Heavy Fuel Oil

Occurs First

Borescope inspection programming

During BIs and similar inspections, the condition of the upstream components should be
verified, including all systems from the filter house to the compressor inlet. The application
of a borescope monitoring program will assist with the scheduling of outages and
preplanning of parts requirements, resulting in outage preparedness, lower maintenance
costs and higher availability and reliability of the gas turbine.

The compressor is upstream from the combustor and, as such is not subject to hot
combustion gases, but only to the ambient air drawn in to be compressed before it flows
into the turbines combustor. Essentially, the only maintenance needed for the
compressor is that done every 32,000 hours (about 4 years), as part of a total shop
overhaul and rebuilding of the entire turbine.

Hotsection inspection
Hot section inspection is an examination of those parts of a turbine that are exposed to
the hot gases created when compressed intake air is mixed with natural gas or other
fuel inside the combustor and ignited by lighters. In other word, the hot sections are
mainly the combustor (i.e. the combustor chamber) and the turbine section and any
other components exposed directly to flame or to hot combustion gases. This hot section
inspection is done every 16,000 hours (about every two years). The inspection involves
opening up the combustor and turbine section; carefully examining walls, linings, turbine
blades, and vanes etc; replacing any worn or damaged components; then reassembling
and starting up the system. The hot section inspection is usually thorough than the
borescope inspection since it involves opening up the turbine and examining it directly.

Both the service technician and the turbine owner are able to see the internals of the
turbine directly and what its actual condition is. During a hot section inspection, the
turbine technician replaces damaged turbine blades, vanes and any other components
showing wear. Upon completion of the inspection and of any needed repairs, there is a
guarantee that the turbine will be good for another 16,000 hours of operation.
Typical hot gas path inspection requirements for most gas turbines are:

Inspect and record condition of first, second and third-stage buckets. If it is determined
that the turbine buckets should be removed, follow bucket removal and condition
recording instructions. Buckets with protective coating should be evaluated for
remaining coating life.

Inspect and record condition of first-, second- and third-stage nozzles.

Inspect and record condition of later-stage nozzle diaphragm packings.

Check seals for rubs and deterioration of clearance.

Record the bucket tip clearances.

Inspect bucket shank seals for clearance, rubs and deterioration.

Perform inspections on cutter teeth of tip-shrouded buckets. Consider refurbishment of

buckets with worn cutter teeth, particularly if concurrently refurbishing the honeycomb
of the corresponding stationary shrouds.

Check the turbine stationary shrouds for clearance, cracking, erosion, oxidation, rubbing
and build-up.

Check and replace any faulty wheelspace thermocouples.

Enter compressor inlet plenum and observe the condition of the forward section of the

Visually inspect the compressor inlet, checking the condition of the IGVs, IGV bushings,
and first stage rotating blades.

Check the condition of IGV actuators and rack-and-pinion gearing.

Enter the combustion wrapper and, with a borescope, observe the condition of the
blading in the aft end of the axial flow compressor.

Visually inspect compressor discharge case struts for signs of cracking.

Visually inspect compressor discharge case inner barrel if accessible.

Visually inspect the turbine shell shroud hooks for sign of cracking.

Visually inspect the exhaust diffuser for any cracks in flow path surfaces. Inspect
insulated surfaces for loose or missing insulation and/or attachment hardware in

internal and external locations. In E-class machines, inspect the insulation on the radial
diffuser and inside the exhaust plenum as well.

Inspect exhaust frame flex seals, L-seals, and horizontal joint gaskets for any signs of
wear or damage.

Combustion Inspection
The combustion inspection is a relatively short disassembly shutdown inspection of fuel
nozzles, liners, transition pieces, crossfire tubes and retainers, spark plug assemblies, flame
detectors and combustor flow sleeves. This inspection concentrates on the combustion
liners, transition pieces, fuel nozzles and end caps which are recognized as being the first to
require replacement and repair in a good maintenance program. Proper inspection,
maintenance and repair of these items will contribute to a longer life of the downstream
parts, such as turbine nozzles and buckets. In a gas turbine, the combustion liners,
transition pieces and fuel nozzle assemblies should be removed and replaced with new or
repaired components to minimize downtime. The removed liners, transition pieces and fuel
nozzles can then be cleaned and repaired after the unit is returned to operation and be
available for the next combustion inspection interval. Typical combustion


requirements for gas turbines are:

Inspect and identify combustion chamber components.

Inspect and identify each crossfire tube, retainer and combustion liner.

Inspect combustion liner for TBC spalling, wear and cracks. Inspect combustion system
and discharge casing for debris and foreign objects.

Inspect flow sleeve welds for cracking.

Inspect transition piece for wear and cracks.

Inspect fuel nozzles for plugging at tips, erosion of tip holes and safety lock of tips.

Inspect all fluid, air, and gas passages in nozzle assembly for plugging, erosion, burning,

Inspect spark plug assembly for freedom from binding; check condition of electrodes
and insulators.

Replace all consumables and normal wear-and-tear items such as seals, lockplates, nuts,
bolts, gaskets, etc.

Perform visual inspection of first-stage turbine nozzle partitions and borescope inspect
turbine buckets to mark the progress of wear and deterioration of these parts. This

inspection will help establish the schedule for the hot gas path inspection.
Perform borescope inspection of compressor.

Enter the combustion wrapper and observe the condition of blading in the aft end of
axial-flow compressor with a borescope.

Visually inspect the compressor inlet, checking the condition of the IGVs, IGV bushings,
and first stage rotating blades.

Check the condition of IGV actuators and rack-and-pinion gearing.

Visually inspect compressor discharge case struts for signs of cracking.

Visually inspect compressor discharge case inner barrel if accessible.

Visually inspect the last-stage buckets and shrouds.

Visually inspect the exhaust diffuser for any cracks in flow path surfaces. Inspect
insulated surfaces for loose or missing insulation and/or attachment hardware in
internal and external locations. In E-class machines, inspect the insulation on the radial

diffuser and inside the exhaust plenum as well.

Inspect exhaust frame flex seals, L-seals, and horizontal joint gaskets for any signs of
wear or damage.

Verify proper operation of purge and check valves. Confirm proper setting and
calibration of the combustion controls.

After the combustion inspection is complete and the unit is returned to service, the
removed combustion hardware can be inspected by a qualified field service representative
and, if necessary, sent to a qualified Service Center for repairs. The removed fuel nozzles can
be cleaned on-site and flow tested on-site, if suitable test facilities are available.

The Combustor
The Combustor is the heart of the gas turbine system. Control system keeps the
temperature of the combustor stages within normal operating limits, a measure that

extends the life of the hot section inspection components. The combustor is essentially a
trouble free component of the turbine.
Gear box unit










Maintenance technicians collect baseline performance data on the gearbox unit and on










temperatures and pressures. As equipment ages, there are changes in these variables;
they tend to drift away from the baseline that was established when the equipment was
new. An increase in the vibration levels of the generator or gearbox for instance very
likely indicates a problem with the bearings.

Maintenance technicians will also analyze oil circulating through the bearings in the
gearbox, in the generator and in the turbine. They are looking for metal particles
suspended in the oil and signs that the oil have been breaking down due to overheating
an indication that something is wrong with the bearings. This is all part of predictive
Lubricating Oil
Changing the lubricating oil depends on how hot the oil get during service and how often
lubricating oil filters are changed. Synthetic oils are used in gas turbine systems, and
that can last for years.

Shaft bearings
Shaft bearings will typically last between six and eight years, the need to be replaced.
With periodic bearing replacement, an electric generator can typically last for 20 or 30

years. The bearings are the most vulnerable component of a generator. Actual bearing
lifetime will depend on how cool the oil circulating through them is kept. Some bearings
are lubricated by a splash system, with oil in a reservoir splashing up to keep metal
surfaces coated. In a better system, oil is actually pumped through the bearings, cooled,
filtered, and then re-circulated through the bearings in a continuing cycle.
HEPA Filters
High-efficiency particulate air or HEPA filter is a type of air filter used in gas turbines
that must be changed periodically. The HEPA filter keeps the turbine cleaner, resulting in
higher power output. Changing the HEPA filters is one of the most important thing an
operator must do to maintain the gas turbine system. The overall lifetime of a gas
turbine system is greatly affected by the physical environment it is placed in. Without an
effective air-filtering system, particles in the air over time would reduce the turbine
efficiency and potentially damage the gas turbine system. Poor air filtration could cause
foreign object damage (FOD). Good air filtration system prevents damage from
occurring thereby increasing the lifetime of the equipment.

Major Inspection
The purpose of the major inspection is to examine all of the internal rotating and
stationary components from the inlet of the machine through the exhaust. A major
inspection should be scheduled in accordance with the recommendations in the owners
Operations and Maintenance Manual or as modified by the results of previous borescope and
hot gas path inspection. The work scope involves inspection of all of the major flange-toflange components of the gas turbine, which are subject to deterioration during normal
turbine operation. This inspection includes previous elements of the combustion and hot

gas path inspections, in addition to laying open the complete flange-to-flange gas turbine
to the horizontal joints.

Removal of all of the upper casings allows access to the compressor rotor and stationary
compressor blading, as well as to the bearing assemblies. Prior to removing casings, shells
and frames, the unit must be properly supported. Proper centerline support using
mechanical jacks and jacking sequence procedures are necessary to assure proper
alignment of rotor to stator, obtain accurate half shell clearances and to prevent twisting
of the casings while on the half shell. Typical major inspection requirements for all
machines are:

All radial and axial clearances are checked against their original values (opening and

Casings, shells and frames/diffusers are inspected for cracks and erosion.

Compressor inlet and compressor flow-path are inspected for fouling, erosion, corrosion
and leakage.

Visually inspect the compressor inlet, checking the condition of the IGVs, IGV bushings,
and first stage rotating blades.

Check the condition of IGV actuators and rack-and-pinion gearing.

Rotor and stator compressor blades are checked for tip clearance, rubs, impact damage,
corrosion pitting, bowing and cracking.

Turbine stationary shrouds are checked for clearance, erosion, rubbing, cracking, and

Seals and hook fits of turbine nozzles and diaphragms are inspected for rubs, erosion,
fretting or thermal deterioration.

Turbine buckets are removed and a nondestructive check of buckets and wheel dovetails
is performed (first stage bucket protective coating should be evaluated for remaining
coating life). Buckets that were not recoated at the hot gas path inspection should be
replaced. Wheel dovetail fillets, pressure faces, edges, and intersecting features must be
closely examined for conditions of wear, galling, cracking or fretting.

Rotor inspections recommended in the maintenance and inspection manual or by

Technical Information should be performed.

Bearing liners and seals are inspected for clearance and wear.

Inlet systems are inspected for corrosion, cracked silencers and loose parts.

Visually inspect compressor and compressor discharge case hooks for signs of wear.

Visually inspect compressor discharge case struts for signs of cracking.

Visually inspect compressor discharge case inner barrel if accessible.

Visually inspect the turbine shell shroud hooks for sign of cracking.


Steam turbines are utilized in numerous industries to drive boiler fans, boiler feed and
water pumps, process and chiller compressors, blast furnace blowers, paper mill line
shafts, sugar mill grinders, and generators in a variety of industries and applications.











design/construction to large, highly complex designs/arrangements consisting of

multiple sections and multiple shafts.

Specifying the desired maintenance and overhaul intervals for steam turbines, therefore,
has to take into account the design/construction of the turbine as well as the industry
and application utilizing the turbine. Besides the configuration and industry associated
with the steam turbine, the infrastructure for monitoring, operations and maintenance
including specific practices, and steam quality can have a major effect on the reliability
of steam turbines regardless of the industry or application. Regardless of the size,
number of casings, steam conditions, and arrangements, it is essential that steam
turbines have effective monitoring, operating and maintenance procedures/practices.

Equipment Monitoring
To effectively manage the health and performance of steam turbines, there are a
number of turbine parameters which should be measured, monitored and/or displayed
on a continuous basis. How much information is monitored is a function of the steam

turbine design and application, but with todays modern steam turbines, the following
parameters should be monitored:
Speed (RPM) and load (kW/MW, or shaft horsepower (SHP))
Steam turbine inlet pressure and temperature
Steam turbine 1


stage pressure and temperature (these are the conditions

downstream of the first/large impulse stage before remaining HP section blading, as

HP turbine outlet (or cold reheat), IP turbine inlet (or hot reheat), and IP turbine
outlet/LP turbine inlet (or crossover) pressures and temperatures for reheat and
multiple shell turbines only
Steam turbine rotor/shell differential expansions (as applicable for large turbines)
Steam turbine shell and steam chest temperatures/differentials (lower and upper half
thermocouples installed in HP and IP turbine sections for large turbines)
Admission and extraction pressures and temperatures (as applicable)
Extraction line thermocouples to detect water induction (as applicable)
Water and steam purity at the main steam inlet and condensate pump discharge
Sealing steam and exhauster pressures (as applicable)
Steam turbine exhaust pressure and temperature
Lube oil and hydraulic fluid supply pressures and temperatures

Cooling water supply pressures and temperatures for the lube oil and hydraulic fluid

Journal bearing and thrust bearing metal temperatures (or drain temperatures, if
applicable) for the turbine and gearbox (as applicable)
Bearing vibration seismic, shaft rider, or shaft x-and-y proximity probes
measurements for all turbine and gearbox (pinion) bearing locations (as applicable)

Monitoring of these and other parameters is typically done in conjunction with todays
modern turbine digital controls and plant control room systems. These systems will also
handle the starting sequence, synchronizing, loading, speed governing, alarms, and trip
logic for the turbine, gearbox (if present), generator, and any supporting systems. These
systems also provide the electronic portion of the protection (i.e., turbine overspeed) for
critical turbine and generator parameters. For older units there may be an analog
control system which provides limited protection along with mechanical/electrical devices
on the unit. There usually is a limited display of monitoring parameters. For even older
units, all operation will be manual with only a gage panel to monitor a few turbine
parameters. Vibration monitoring is done periodically using hand-held instrumentation.
These older units are dependent solely on the knowledge of the operating staff, the
presence and use of written operating procedures, and the mechanical/electrical devices
on the unit for protection. All of these issues are important for every unit but the
consequence is higher with older, outdated units. Because the amount of equipment
monitoring may depend on the complexity of the steam turbine, the minimum
acceptable turbine parameters that should be monitored by turbine type/size are
indicated below:
Recommended Steam Turbine Monitoring Parameters by Turbine Size/Type

Steam Turbine Parameters

to be Monitored Continuously
Speed (RPM)
Power (MW or SHP)
Steam Turbine Inlet Pressure
Steam Turbine Inlet Temperature
Steam Turbine 1 Stage Pressure
HP Turbine Outlet, IP Turbine Inlet, IP
Turbine Outlet/LP Turbine Inlet
Pressures and Temperatures



<100 MW





Admission Steam Inlet Pressure and

Temperature (As applicable)
Extraction Steam Outlet Pressure and
Temperature (As applicable)
Turbine Exhaust Steam Pressure
Turbine Exhaust Steam Temperature
Sealing Steam Pressures
Sealing Seal Exhauster Vacuum
HP and IP Turbine Shell/Steam Chest
Rotor/Shell Differential Expansions
Rotor Eccentricity
HP and IP Stress
Extraction Line and Drain Line
Lube Oil Supply Pressure
Lube Oil Supply Temperature
Lube Oil Sump Level
Bearing Metal or Drain Temperatures
Bearing Vibration (Seismic, Shaft
Rider, or Proximity Measurements)
Thrust Bearing Wear/Temperatures
Hydraulic Fluid Pressures/Temperatures
Cooling Water Supply Pressures and
Temperatures for Lube Oil and
Hydraulic Fluid Heat Exchangers
Water and Steam Purity Monitoring
Control Valve Position (%) Indication
Admission and Extraction Valve
Position (%) Indication






















Water and Steam Purity Monitoring

Contaminated steam is one of the prime causes of forced and extended maintenance
outages and increases in maintenance costs. Contaminants can be introduced into
steam from a variety of sources but can generally be categorized into two categories:
( 1 ) inert or deposit forming and (2) reactive or corrosion causing. The sources of
contamination include the following:
Water treatment chemicals for the boiler or condensate system
Condenser leaks
Demineralizer leaks
Chemical cleaning of the boilers

Process chemicals such as residues from black liquor in paper mills to

polymers used in chemical plants
Makeup water which may have rust, silica and other chemicals
Corrosion products from condenser tubes and condensate piping

The principal cause of small to moderately large steam turbine contamination is

mechanical carryover from the boiler system. These can result from:
Over steaming
High water levels
High drum solids
Separator problems
Rapid load changes
Chemical contamination

Water Induction Monitoring

Significant turbine damage can occur to a steam turbine when cool water or steam flows
back into the turbine. When this happens during operation, steam turbine nozzle and/or
bucket vibration increases and increases the potential for these components to break in
the vicinity of where the cool water or steam is being introduced. Similarly, if the cool
water or steam backflow occurs during starting, it can thermally distort the steam
turbine rotor during the start and may cause major seal rubs and severely damaged
blades. If the water or steam induction occurs during a shutdown after the circuit
breaker has been opened, the turbine can and does overspeed to destruction. For the
small to moderately large steam turbines, the following is suggested as the minimum

basic requirements to detect and reduce the probability of water or cool steam
Test extraction non-return valves (NRV) daily to ensure proper operation
Install and monitor thermocouples on the controlled and uncontrolled extraction
lines to detect drops in temperature that may be indicative of a potential water
induction incident
Ensure sealing steam drains and casing drains are free, that valves installed
downstream of drains are in the proper position, that drains are not manifolded
together to restrict flow, and that the drain lines actually drain downward
Ensure that feed water heater (if present) levels are kept at required levels and
that level detector alarms are added to alert the operator of a problem
Ensure steam header low point drains, main steam stop and T&T valve drains,
control/extraction valve drains have valves in the proper position for draining and
that the drain lines do drain downward, not upward
Ensure a spray control valves close on boiler fuel and turbine trips and that there
is a block or shutoff valve in series with the spray control valve to ensure there is
no leakage into the turbine
Monitor the difference in thermocouple readings (if present) on the upper and
lower halves of the turbine shell. A large difference between halves and/or a
cooler lower half could be indicative of water induction

Condition Monitoring
While continuous monitoring of steam turbine parameters is important, use of that
information to detect changes in equipment health and condition in advance of possible
failures is equally important. As such, the steam turbine parameter data can be used for

historical recording, for trending of turbine readings, for calculating turbine performance,
and for detecting changes in vibration signatures (level, phase angle, frequency
changes, orbit changes, etc.) with time. Consequently, if the data is collected and
analyzed properly, changes in state or leakages between or within components can be
detected and utilized for assessing turbine life issues. These analyses may be done offline or may be accomplished on-line with intended goal of detecting changes in health
before failure so that corrective actions can be taken in timely and cost effective

The U.S. Electric Power Research Institutes (EPRI) vision of an effective enterprise online condition monitoring system is shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1 Electric Power Research Institute Vision of On-Line Steam Turbine Monitoring
(Courtesy EPRI)


Achieving high steam turbine reliability and availability levels requires conducting the
proper maintenance and inspections in a timely manner. Whether it is a computer-based
maintenance management (CMM) system or machinery record cards is not important.
What is important is that there is a system in place to schedule and track completion of
maintenance tasks and that there is some feedback from the maintenance to adjust the
periodicity and scope of tasks. In addition, because much work is outsourced today and
few spares are maintained at plants, it becomes necessary to ensure that there are
procedures for controlling contractor work. There is also a need to establish preplanning
procedures for unscheduled outages when mobilization of resources and parts needs to
be accomplished on a crisis schedule. As a minimum, maintenance documentation and
practices for steam turbines should include the following:
Technical manuals and service bulletins available, complete and current

Maintenance management system in place and followed (computerized or manual


Lock-out/tag-out procedures available and followed

Contractor control procedures available and followed
Emergency preplanning procedures for major unscheduled events available and

Management of Change procedure in place and followed for making controlled

changes to all maintenance procedures and practices.

There are a number of industry approaches and sophisticated software for establishing
maintenance programs for steam turbines and their supporting equipment. These
approaches include running to failure, preventive maintenance (PM), reliability centered
maintenance (RCM), and other variations that utilize failure causes and the value of the

hardware in establishing maintenance priorities. Regardless of the system or approach,

what is important to insurers is that the maintenance tasks and frequencies should
be prioritized towards the portions of the steam turbine that have the highest risk the highest probability and consequence of failure. This usually means protecting
the steam turbine from overspeeds, water induction, loss of lube oil, corrosive
steam, and sticking valves that could cause major damage to the turbine in either
the short or long term.

While other maintenance may be important, insurance

priorities should be on the failure mechanisms and events that could result in major
steam turbine damage.
Steam Turbine Maintenance Frequencies and Tasks
Maintenance Task
Daily or Less
1. Conduct visual inspection of the unit for leaks (oil and steam), unusual
noise/vibration, plugged filters or abnormal operation
2. Cycle non-return valves
Weekly or Less

1. Trend unit performance and health. Hand-held vibration readings should be taken
from the steam turbine and gearbox if permanent vibration monitoring system
2. not
emergency backup and auxiliary lube oil pumps for proper operation
3. Test the main lube oil tank and oil low pressure alarms
4. Test the simulated overspeed trip if present
5. Cycle the main steam stop or throttle valve
6. Cycle control valves if steam loads are unchanging
7. Cycle extraction/admission valves if steam loads are unchanging.

Monthly or Less 1. Sample and analyze lube oil and hydraulic fluid for water, particulates, and
2. Deferred weekly tests or valve cycling that experience has indicated sufficient

reliability to defer them to a one month interval.

1. Conduct visual inspection and functional testing of all stop, throttle, control,
extraction and non-return valves including cams, rollers, bearings, rack and
pinions, servomotors, and any other pertinent valves or devices for wear, damage,
2. Conduct visual Inspection of seals, bearings, seal and lubrication systems (oil
and hydraulic), and drain system piping and components for wear, leaks, vibration
and any
kinds of
thermal of
or all
protection, and control systems. Includes checking alarms, trips, filters, and backup
lubrication and water cooling systems

4. Test the mechanical overspeed for proper operation annually unless the primary
system is electronic and has an OS test switch. For that system, electronic
overspeed simulations should be conducted weekly while mechanical and electrical
overspeed tests should be conducted every 3 years. For electronic systems without
an OS test switch, an overspeed test should be conducted annually.
5. Conduct visual inspection of gearbox (if installed) teeth for unusual wear or
damage, and gearbox seals and bearings for damage.
6. Internally inspect non-return valve actuators for wear
Minor Outages

1. Conduct visual inspection or borescope of turbine nozzle block/inlet stages (HP

Every 2-4 Years

and IP) and exhaust stages for FOD, corrosion, mechanical damage, and other
damage. The inspections may be conducted more or less frequently, based on the
condition of the parts.
2. Internally inspect main stop/T&T, control, admission, extraction, and NRV valve
internals for wear, seat leakage, and damage. For large machines, it may be
advantageous to do valves on the right side of the turbine during one minor outage
and the left side during a subsequent minor outage.
3. Open, inspect, and check alignment of gearboxes with turbine/generator
4. Calibrate all alarms, trips and protective system sensors/instrumentation
5. Inspect foundations, slides, and anchoring hardware for wear.

Major Overhaul

1. Conduct major overhauls of line shaft turbines and gearboxes every 3 years


2. Conduct major overhauls of steam turbines installed in reliability-critical and

Every 3-9 Years

process-critical applications every 5-6 years

3. Conduct major overhauls of steam turbines in general service with no specific
service or risk factors every 5-8 years
4. Conduct major overhauls of combined cycle steam turbines every 6-9 years in
conjunction with combustion turbine hot gas inspections or complete overhauls,

Major Overhaul

Conduct major overhauls for large fossil steam turbines every 9-12 years on a

Outages Every 9- case-by-case basis based on the following factors of influence:

12 Years


Past history of problems


Generic problems based on industry experience with specific or similar models


Operational incidents since the last major overhaul


Conditions found and extent of NDE and repairs conducted (or not conducted)

at the last major overhaul


Unit performance and condition monitoring capability


Water and steam purity monitoring capability


Turbine water induction protection provided

Special Outages Conduct special inspection outages or workscopes in conjunction with major overhauls
to assess the remaining life of rotors/shells with very high operating hours, rotors
manufactured with older materials/processes, and rotors/shells subjected to extended
periods of operation with high steam temperatures and pressures. The purpose of the life
assessments are to determine the suitability of continued operation and remaining
life of units subjected to long term creep, fatigue, or stress corrosion damage.