Sensoplan recently celebrated the opening of their new high speed balance bunker at Hohentengen, Germany and it promises to be a highly beneficial service facility for combined cycle power plants.
Speaking to Power Engineering International, General Manager Gunter Ebi says the new facility will offer a more comprehensive service and much quicker turnaround in repair times for rotor equipment used in gas (and some coal fired) combined cycle plants.
“The combined cycle market currently suffers from a very cyclic operation mode and the reason for that is that they only come into operation for a couple of hours a day. This causes a lot of wear and tear on their units; they have not been designed for that kind of cyclic service.”
The state-of-the-art technology in the facility offers a high degree of flexibility for emergent trouble shooting and repairs, with heat runs simulating true operating conditions.
“We can combine a speed run with thermal load through feeding the excitation into the rotor and doing thermal runs, monitor vibration, monitor operations and demonstrate to the customer what the rotor is doing under those conditions.
Because of the size and capability we have here we can serve virtually all two pole rotors up to a maximum weight of 100 tonnes. We can do that with generator shaft strains of three bearings, not just two as most others, and also we can do that up to a speed of over 4,320 which is an over speed test for 60 HZ ROTORS, typical for the US and Middle East markets.”
Another key distinguishing feature of the bunker is how much quicker the entire process of servicing rotor equipment takes.
Previously Sensoplan shipped the rotors to Sweden, where a unit resembling the new facility could perform the task. Gunter Ebi says that the new bunker means saving between 10 days and two weeks of transportation time.
“On top of that we own the schedule and can determine the balancing and heat run slots according to our needs rather than follow the needs of an external facility."
In recent times a noticeable emphasis on gas power generation has come from individual governments and utilities and it was a motivation factor for developing the facility from the winter of 2010, to its eventual opening at the end of last month.
“That was certainly the focus of making this investment,” agrees Ebi.
In his speech at the official opening of the bunker, Karl Fessended VP GE Power Generation Services expressed his pride at the comprehensive nature of the new facility and what a leap forward it represented.
“In 2005 for a typical generator major overhaul with rotor rings-off inspection we had to source more than 90 per cent of the parts and services, today, in comparison, we are able to supply some 70 per cent in-house.
I am confident that with the continuous commitment of our owner GE we will close the remaining gap to 100 per cent in the near future.We are really proud to be able to offer our generator overhaul services on a true one-stop-shop basis, meaning not only from a single source, but also from a single location.”
Already the team are servicing a 77 tonne rotor and also have three other rotors ready and waiting for a slot in the bunker. The total capacity per year of the facility together with the rotor shop is in the range of 25 rotors.
While its location means European markets should take up sizeable chunk of its business Sensoplan are aiming at the Middle East, North Africa and the Far East as well.
They also build spare rotors for the US market and the process includes balancing and thermal runs at the bunker, located close to the German-Swiss border, before shipping.
While acquired by GE in 2010, Sensoplan primarily serve the non GE generator market.
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