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1 Alternator is one of the principle equipments in the power plant besides the prime mover, steam generator, etc. Power plants are broadly classified under two heads, i.e. conventional utility power plants and captive power plants (CPP). 1.2 Conventional utility power plants generate power in bulk and feed to large interconnected power supply network. Captive power plants are installed by the industries to meet in-house power requirements. Though, the industry having CPP may also some power from the utility grid to meet eventualities such as failure of power generation from CPP. 1.3 Hence, the alternator is one of the most critical equipments in any power supply system. Continuous availability of this critical equipment obviously requires adherence to rigorous preventive maintenance schedule. 1.4 The alternators of rating from few kilowatts to 500 kW are found installed today. Depending on the capacity of alternator, the maintenance practices and schedule are decided. 2.0 TYPES OF ALTERNATORS 2.1 Generally, the alternators are classified as follows based on the construction of rotor. i. ii. Storage • • • • • Do not remove plastic cover Clean, dry, covered storage with leveled surface Prevention of rainwater accumulation Avoidance of corrosion due to moisture / dust combination Vibration free environment – protect bearings against induced standstill vibrations Salient pole rotor alternators – available rating up to 10 MW Cylindrical rotor alternators – above 10 MW
Pre-commissioning Checks • Checks in stores – Choose correct motor – Visual inspection – physical soundness – Change of grease – prolonged storage – Insulation resistance • Foundation
– Perfectly leveled (shims if necessary) – Rigid – Isolated from induced vibrations • Drive / transmission Element – Dimensions – checks – Dynamic Balancing – Mount carefully (use appropriate tools) – Heavy blows to be strictly avoided to protect bearings – Lock the drive element suitably • Before connecting ensure – Free unobstructed air supply for cooling – Free passage of hot air – Terminal box interior is clean (no cable remains etc.) - Check insulation resistance of cable using suitable megger before connecting – Tight and firm cable connections with proper air clearances, minimum 10mm for 415V – Sealing of unused conduit entry holes and proper assembly of gaskets and covers • Before starting ensure – Shaft free to rotate – Supply system okay – Motor protecting system okay – Earthing provided (both inside terminal box and on motor body) Commissioning Checks • Running on no load – Check direction of rotation – Check terminal voltage – Check no load current – Check mechanical noise, if any – Check vibration level – Check bearing noise, if any • Load motor gradually, if possible on load check – Full load current – Motor speed – Noise level – Vibration level – Motor / bearing temp, (if possible) Similar monitoring of driven equipment, with respect to its characteristics, should also be done in the initial period.
Maintenance of Motor
Electric motors “TEFC” in particular are robust, however periodic inspection and overhauling lengthen the life of the motors in no small way, as the motors are dynamic equipment. Maintenance Preventive –Planned –Low down-time cost –Carried out at ease & in-line with production schedules –Best available methods adopted achieving best results – economical in the long run Preventive maintenance • Preventive maintenance can be divided into two parts – Periodic checkups of motors while running – Periodic servicing of motors • How to go about these tasks – Classify the motors depending upon their importance and criticality to the running plant – Depending upon criticality, fix up monitoring cycles for motors • What should be observed – Full load current – Voltage and frequency variations – Vibration level (both motor and equipment) – Bearing health Recording of these readings helps in identifying the deviations from the normal trend – Periodic cleaning of cooling air paths – Observance of motor re-greasing cycles - Occasionally checking cable terminations in cable connection box and other fasteners’ tightness. In case the termination is found black or cable insulation heated, make termination again after cutting blackened portion. - Replace terminal plate if found heated due to heating of termination. Overhauling of motor • Overhauling of motor – Windings and bearings to be serviced properly for good and long service from the motor – Remove bearing carefully • Look for – Any grease contamination before cleaning with thinner – Blackening, overheating – Damaged or cracked cages – Dent marks, scratches on rolling elements or races – Markings indicating eccentric loading – Sufficient grease quantity inside bearing Break-down –Forced type –High down-time cost –Carried out under pressure and tension –Emergency method adopted, often quality of work short of best possible.
Bearings • • • • • Replace bearings if any defects noticed Replacing a doubtful bearing is always economical in the long run Always procure the bearings from a genuine / authorised source Adhere to the correct radial clearance as per original bearing Mount the bearing by heating it to approx. 80°C (Special bearing heating tools are 80° also available). • Never hammer the bearing • Thing coat of grease on shaft and bearing housing helps to a great extent in easy assembly • Use correct type of grease – Lithium Base Grade – 2 – Grease should be clean, free from impurities – Do not mix greases from different bases – Fill up grease in the bearing, as also the inner bearing cover – to about one-third of the available volume – Clean the grease nipples and grease pipes thoroughly – Fill up grease pipes before assembly with grease While assembling the components apply a thin coat of holdtite on spigots to maintain the quality of motor enclosure General Precautions • Clean all mounting surfaces with thinner – apply thin coat of black graphite for sealing • Always mark the various components of the motor to avid mix-up of parts of other motors • Apply a fresh coat of paint particularly for motors in corrosive atmosphere Windings • Check condition of connecting cables and brazed joints • Look out for discolouring of overhangs: (black spots indicate overheating) • Clean windings with dry compressed air • Measure winding resistance using Low Resistance Measurement Instrument for all 3-phases in case of HT motors and high rated LT motors after overhauling. Compare readings with those obtained during pre-commissioning checks or at manufacturer’s works. Abnormal deviation clearly indicates either shorting of coils or opening of coil wires in winding. winding. General Precautions – Check soundness of brazed joints in brazed rotors – Look out for looseness of end lamination teeth – particularly in rotor (hammer them in position if necessary and retain with the help of caulking rotor bars)
– If cores are segmented – clean them – Clean all cooling air paths and perforated screen – Check tightness of mounting fixing bolts – Clean cooling fans (particularly blades) – Check condition of gaskets (cracks, hardness etc.) – replace if necessary • Rotor components normally are “interference fit” – use correct pullers – mechanical or hydraulic • Avoid hammering • Always support the rotor with crane or hydraulic jack • Protect open windings from moisture and dust • For slip ring motors – Check rotor windings similarly – Clean slip rings (check surface finish) – Replace carbon brushes if worn out – Check spring pressure
Drying of windings • Normal moisture ingress – For motors provided with space heaters, switch on heaters for 8-10 hours. Check for improvement after every 2 hours – For smaller motors where space heaters are not available, supply windings with 24V 1Ø supply. 1Ø • If it is noticed that motor is submerged in water or large ingress of water has taken place, dismantle motor and heat in oven and revarnish thoroughly and dry other parts also. • While dismantling and assembling motors use proper tools Standby spares • Cage motor - set of bearings • Slip ring motors - set of bearings, - carbon brushes • Spare rewinding kit – Advisable if there are a number of identical motors at same site.
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