• Coal mill pinion shaft bearing problem detected at a coal power plant

    On January 31st, the GE SmartSignal solution detected an increase in mill drive end pinion shaft bearing temperature. Bearing temperature increased to greater than 80°C (176°F), while the normal operating temperature range is 50°C–60°C (122°F–140°F). Due to the rapidly degrading trend, a high priority notification was sent to the customer by GE’s Industrial Performance & Reliability Center (IPRC) Rapid Response Team.

What did GE's analytics software find?

On January 31st, the GE SmartSignal solution detected an increase in mill drive end pinion shaft bearing temperature. Bearing temperature increased to greater than 80°C (176°F), while the normal operating temperature range is 50°C–60°C (122°F–140°F). Due to the rapidly degrading trend, a high priority notification was sent to the customer by GE’s Industrial Performance & Reliability Center (IPRC) Rapid Response Team.

 

What was the underlying cause?

Upon investigation, the site discovered coal built up around the bearing due to a coal leak, causing the elevated bearing temperatures.

 

What was the value to the customer?

After being notified by GE's Rapid Response Team, the site performed an online cleaning of the area. After the initial cleaning, the IPRC reported continued temperature increases. A proper cleaning was performed while the mill was offline and the bearing temperature returned to normal operating conditions. If the elevated bearing temperatures were allowed to continue, bearing damage or a coal fire could have occurred. This would have resulted in the mill shutdown for repairs and loss of production.

 

"On January 31st, mill bearing temperature (blue) began to deviate from expected values (green) and reached greater than 80°C (176°F). After initial cleaning online and additional cleaning offline, actuals returned to expected values."

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