April 18, 2024
Gas Turbine

Gas Turbine Maintenance, Repair And Overhaul (MRO) Is Critical For Reliable Power Generation


Gas turbines play a crucial role in power generation worldwide. However, to ensure reliable and efficient power output, gas turbines require regular maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO).

Planned versus Unplanned MRO

MRO activities can be broadly classified into two categories – planned MRO and unplanned MRO. Planned MRO refers to the maintenance, repair and overhaul works that are scheduled in advance as part of the asset management plan. This includes activities like planned inspections, servicing, component replacement and engine overhauls carried out during planned outage windows. On the other hand, unplanned MRO involves the repair works that need to be carried out in case of unexpected breakdowns or failures. Unplanned outages can lead to loss of generation and revenue. Hence, carrying out thorough planned MRO is crucial to minimize unplanned breakdowns.

Importance of Reliable MRO Partners

Power generators rely on external service providers for carrying out various Gas Turbine MRO In The Power Sector activities. It is thus important to partner with reliable MRO firms who have extensive experience and capabilities. Experienced MRO firms have in-depth knowledge about Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) specifications and standards. They use specialized tools, well-trained technicians and genuine spare parts to ensure repairs are carried out as per OEM guidelines. This helps improve asset reliability and maximize plant uptime. MRO partners should also have a strong global service network and inventory management system to ensure timely spare part delivery and support.

Risk-based MRO Approach

A risk-based asset management approach is followed by many utilities to strategize MRO planning and budgeting. Comprehensive risk assessment of all critical gas turbine components is carried out to understand failure modes, rates and impacts. Based on failure probability and consequence, a risk rating is assigned to each part. Higher the risk, higher is the priority for MRO. This helps utilities focus MRO spending on high risk areas to achieve optimum reliability. Advanced risk models use real-time sensor data to continuously monitor component health and recalibrate risk profiles.

Embracing Digitalization and Automation

The gas turbine MRO industry is embracing new technologies like Industrial IoT, artificial intelligence, analytics etc. to drive digital transformation. Condition monitoring systems equipped with various online sensors continuously monitor operating parameters and detect early signs of degradation. The data is analysed using predictive maintenance techniques to forecast future faults. Drones and robots are used for inspecting hard-to-reach areas safely. Advanced digital twin platforms provide virtual simulation of assets to evaluate “what-if” scenarios for informed decision making. Use of augmented/virtual reality assists in training and remote maintenance. Such technologies improve visibility, predictability and overall effectiveness of MRO programs.

Spare Parts Management and Inventory Optimization

Ensuring availability of right spare parts at the right time is critical for minimizing MRO downtimes. Utilities maintain appropriate inventory of high movement spares based on factors like lead time, cost, consumption rate and criticality. Over the years, 3D printing is gaining traction for on-demand manufacturing of customized spare parts. It facilitates decentralized local inventory and reduces logistics time. Spare parts are tracked using barcoding and RFID technologies throughout their lifecycle from warehouse to installation on sites. Analytics help achieve optimized inventory levels by demand forecasting, consumption analysis and obsolescence management.

Challenges of Ensuring Resource Adequacy

Gas turbines undergo periodic major overhauls where they are removed from the plant to offsite workshops for intensive inspection and repairs. Coordinating such heavy Gas Turbine MRO In The Power Sector activities while meeting the demand-supply balance poses challenges. Utilities need to carefully schedule major overhauls during low demand periods and ensure adequate reserve capacity is available from other generating units. They also need to factor in risks of delays due to repairs taking longer than anticipated. Collaboration with MRO partners and flexible long term service agreements help address such resource adequacy issues.

Stress on Safety and Quality Assurance

Safety of personnel is the top priority during gas turbine MRO works involving hazardous tools, heavy lifting and working at height. MRO partners have well-defined safety protocols and train technicians to strict standards. Quality assurance systems ensure all repairs, replacements and tests are conducted as per pre-defined processes and leave no room for rework. Final inspection and commissioning is done under full load conditions before returning units to commercial operations. Proper change management and documentation protocols are followed for configuration control. All these measures together help achieve target MRO turnaround timeframes safely and defect-free performance after repairs.

With gas turbines being workhorse generating assets, carrying out efficient MRO assumes utmost strategic importance for power generators. A risk-based predictive maintenance approach supported by advanced technologies is the way forward. Close cooperation among utilities, OEMs and experienced MRO service providers holds the key to maximizing asset reliability in the increasingly complex power generation landscape.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it.