At all power plants, staying on top of maintenance is complicated and challenging, but it’s also essential for efficiency and safety. Power plants require comprehensive, organized maintenance procedures to ensure that downtime is minimal, and workers stay safe. Despite this, many plants place planned maintenance on the back burner, performing maintenance mainly when there is an equipment failure. Preventive and predictive maintenance is often seen as too expensive, and as a result, it’s neglected or limited.
As your simple cycle gas plant ages, the cost of maintaining plant equipment in operating condition increases. Some equipment becomes obsolete, making it harder and more expensive to repair or replace. Without a thorough maintenance plan, maintenance expenses increase, and the availability and reliability of the plant decrease.
It’s hard to determine the right level of maintenance for a power plant to be as efficient as possible. Spending too little time with maintenance often results in having higher maintenance costs long-term, though saving money at the front end. Conversely, spending too much time with planned maintenance may result in significantly higher costs, which may outweigh the reduction in unplanned outages. Striking the right balance requires optimizing maintenance options for your power plant.
Maintenance Options for Simple Cycle Plants
There are three types of maintenance strategies to consider for your power plant. They are reactive, preventive, and predictive. They are based on different, but equally important approaches.
Reactive maintenance is failure based. This type of maintenance is only performed when equipment fails. Reactive maintenance is typically expensive because equipment failure can cause operations to be interrupted. This can lead to lost revenue in addition to the cost of repairs.
Preventive maintenance is different than reactive maintenance in that it is done in scheduled intervals before there is an equipment failure. It uses regularly scheduled inspections and tests to determine when repairs or replacements of components are needed in key pieces of equipment. Typically, preventive maintenance is performed based on specific time frames, or intervals, reducing the risk of premature equipment failure and downtime. Preventive maintenance is most effective when the life span of equipment is known because it allows a more accurate time frame for inspection to be determined and used. With an optimized preventive maintenance schedule, plant efficiency is improved, and maintenance costs are lower than those of reactive maintenance.
The last type of maintenance is predictive, which is a condition-based form that uses computers and smart instrumentation to allow plant maintenance engineers to efficiently schedule maintenance. As technology advances, more power plants are opting for this type of maintenance and its benefits. Predictive maintenance utilizes design data, maintenance histories, diagnostic data, performance histories, and operating logs to “predict” the condition of equipment and take action accordingly.
Predictive maintenance has been found to help lower maintenance costs and improve equipment reliability and availability by identifying weaknesses before failure occurs, preventing unplanned downtime, and reducing expenses for parts and labor because less maintenance is needed.
Which Type of Maintenance is Best for Power Plants?
Your simple cycle power plant is best served by a combination of maintenance types. Every piece of equipment doesn’t require a preventive or predictive maintenance program. In some cases, the expense of preventive maintenance is more than the cost of reactive maintenance and minimal downtime is acceptable to make necessary repairs. However, equipment that directly affects the required output of a plant would be better served by a preventive maintenance program, which will help maintenance engineers prevent unplanned downtime and save the power plant money.
The benefits of using a maintenance program that utilizes various maintenance strategies include:
- A reduction in equipment downtime
- It helps meet all compliance and regulatory requirements
- It helps ensure effective and safe operations
- The life span of equipment assets is extended
- Lower costs for maintenance, repairs, and equipment and parts replacements
SVI Dynamics Helps Simple Cycle Plants with Maintenance Needs
Preventive maintenance is a major factor in the consistent operation of simple cycle gas power plants. At SVI, we are committed to helping you meet the maintenance needs of your plant to ensure it runs as efficiently and safely as possible. When you allow our expert team of technicians and engineers to evaluate the performance of plant equipment on a regular maintenance schedule, we can often prevent unexpected outages due to equipment failures by identifying and mitigating weaknesses before they become a problem.
Many simple cycle gas plants are still using original exhaust system equipment that was engineered and constructed at least a decade ago. At SVI Dynamics, we can inspect and analyze your plant’s equipment and performance, which will allow us to come up with a maintenance strategy that prioritizes efficiency and safety.
For more information about the inspection services SVI provides, please contact us with your questions today.