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Vibration Monitoring of C-1 Steam Turbine

(Jan ~ June, 2016)

In January, 2016 CVCM was asked to investigate the cause of
fluctuating vibration levels of bearings # 3, 6 & 7.
In the earlier meeting at PAEC HQ, M(E) and CVCM/ DNPER
had maintained that there was no need to shutdown C-1 plant
since turbine vibrations were well within acceptable limits
This viewpoint was also endorsed by M(P)
CVCM was asked to perform on-line vibration monitoring of
turbine structure and bearings # 3, 6 & 7 for trending/fault
Vibration data collection was started in March using state-ofthe-art monitoring equipment. Analysis report issued in April
Real-time monitoring was then started and results reported on
May 05

Initial Findings Vibration Pattern

The blade pass frequencies of C-1 & C-2 were determined to
detect any blade wear.
The vibration signals at bearing# 3, 6 & 7 displayed a periodic
fluctuating pattern of bearing vibrations as follows:
Brg#3: Signal remained relatively high for 4.2 second
duration followed by a lower magnitude signal for 0.8s
Brg#6 displays exactly opposite behavior; signal high for
0.8s followed by low signal for 4.2s
Vibrations at Brg#3 & 6 are relatively out of phase.
Vibration fluctuations at Brg#7 were quite stable

Initial Findings Vibration Magnitudes

For all times the vibration mag levels remained below 1/5 th
of alarm level.
There was no change in the vibration amp & frequency of
the bearings during the four-month period Feb - May, 2016.
It was observed that the variation in fluctuation pattern
decreased with increase in load.


Major Significant Results

Max vibration displacement magnitude occurred at running
speed of the rotor (3000 rpm). [rel. small at blade frequencies]
Time signal recorded with the Proximity Probes appeared
relatively stationary than signals from Absolute Sensors.
It was observed that vibration frequency of turbine structure
and all bearings always occurred at ~ 50 Hz at all times.
There was a strong doubt that vibration signals were
contaminated with the 50 Hz line-frequency signal (ground
loop interference)
This is a serious condition since it may mask true magnitude
of turbine vibrations and may lead to turbine damage.

Significant Results (contd.)

CVCM asked C-1 to check isolation between Electrical and I&C
grounds as well as between signal common and signal ground.
C-1 informed that the task could not be done due to risk of damage
and plant shutdown.
CVCM devised a unique method to check
ground loop interference
in vibration signals by recording vibration signals during turbi
ne coast-down
The data recorded and analyzed during plant shutdown showed that
turbine vibration frequency has no interference from line frequency
The cause of fluctuating vibration signals required further

No significant change in blade stiffness/wear was observed by blades
vibration frequency measurements during six-month monitoring.
Periodic fluctuations in the vibration magnitude at bearing 3 and 6 are
Possible reason is due to reduced damping of the blades which
occurred as a result of blades removal from the turbine.
Since injection of ground loop interference has been ruled out by realtime measurement, it is therefore possible to monitor true vibrations
Turbine vibrations are very small and stable, which indicates that
there is no significant deterioration in turbine performance with time
C-1 may comment on the behaviour of other turbine parameters.

Forty-Eight Case Histories of Intriguing Machinery Problems

Analysis of the problem determined that the vibration was the
result of the two gaps in the first-stage blade group going in and
out of the active steam arc. The solution was to put the turbine
into full arc operation, where all the valves open evenly and
accept the throttling losses at low loads. When this was done, the
2 vibration disappeared, and it was possible to run the turbine
until the new blades could be installed. This case illustrates why
it is necessary to understand how a machine works to diagnose a
problem and come up with a solution (see Figure 1).