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Preventative Maintenance In Power Plants Using Borescopes

The need for reliable power generation has never been greater.

Consumption is increasing rapidly with predictions that by 2030, global electricity use will double, equipment is increasingly complex and economic pressures are significant – all of which add up to daunting challenges for the power generation industry.

Even though budgets are tight, power plants need to maintain the highest levels of reliability and availability.  Costs and downtime have to be kept to a minimum which is why early detection of equipment faults is so crucial.  Preventative maintenance is vitally important in helping to keep the industry on its feet and therefore any investment in inspection tools and technologies requires careful thought.

High-quality video borescopes have proven their worth time and again when it comes to handling complex maintenance and inspection challenges and power plant operators around the world have found that the value and return on investment these devices deliver certainly allay any uncertainty around the investment.

Portable, hand-held articulating video borescopes are the optimum way of inspecting restricted access areas like turbine blades, generators, gearboxes, diaphragms, nozzles and fuel lines and identifying signs of damage from erosion, corrosion or foreign objects.  This borescopic inspection allows technicians to inspect the internal conditions of the power plant and capture high quality real-time images and video, enabling them to make informed maintenance planning decisions.

Most importantly however, these tools play a crucial preventative maintenance role, helping technicians to analyse, detect and predict the likely maintenance requirements of equipment. Without preventative maintenance, the power industry would have to react to problems rather than prevent them and would be significantly affected by the cost, inconvenience and repercussions associated with unplanned outages and equipment failures.

Using information accumulated by a video borescope, technicians can prevent problems from occurring and avert potential damage, thereby improving the reliability, performance, uptime and longevity of equipment.

Predictive maintenance is another area where video borescopes play an important role.

Predictive or condition-based maintenance enables problems to be identified and fixed before they cause significant damage.  For example, a borescope could be used to inspect the internal condition of a piece of rotating machinery in a power plant and if the visual record highlighted an area of concern (for example machine degradation or signs of corrosion), technicians would be able to schedule corrective maintenance before the machine failed.

Technicians can also use the information to pre-order parts or schedule third-party intervention for an appropriate time to ensure there is minimal disruption during shut-down or maintenance.

Major inspections can be extremely time-consuming and costly, and therefore borescopic inspections which allow quick inspections of critical internal components are invaluable.  What’s more, the findings can be documented and saved, enabling engineers to monitor and review information and take action when changes or deterioration are noticed.   Borescopes are also invaluable tools for technical audits, providing vital information to substantiate any equipment purchasing decisions.

Borescopes also play a key diagnostic role in corrective maintenance, where action has to be taken to fix a problem.

Equipment failures are a reality in the power generation industry, regardless of how thorough the preventative maintenance programme.   Fast and accurate troubleshooting of faults is critical to minimise downtime and a borescope is an essential asset in this regard.  These portable, flexible units can be deployed instantly, enabling quick and reliable inspection and delivering quality information to help engineers fix the problem with minimum disruption and cost.

A borescope is sometimes seen as a sizeable investment, but when viewed in the context of the contribution it makes to the power plant’s ability to meet its operating objectives as well as industry regulations, it’s clear that it delivers value and ROI beyond expectations.

If one considers how dependent the long-term lifecycle and reliability of a power plant is on accurate, relevant and timely information – the critical importance of a high-quality video borescope becomes very evident.  It’s a smart investment which ensures that your components and your plant go the distance and perform efficiently.

To learn more about video borescopes and the key role they play in power plant maintenance procedures, get in touch with us.  At Nexxis we show our customers how to deliver the best solutions to their projects through true collaboration.

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