Overview

This U.S. steel mill has an annual capacity to produce five million tons of steel and supplies for a variety of industries.

The challenge

Identify and resolve abnormal vibration detected on the plant’s steam turbine unit, which necessitated an unplanned shutdown. 

The solution

An inspection revealed several bucket covers that had detached and caused damage to the steam path. The solution featured installing a new row of buckets, repairing diaphragms, bearings, and the turbine shell, as well as a steam path alignment. The work was performed on site to minimize the mill’s downtime from production.

Outcomes

Keeping the customer’s needs in focus

6

outage days eliminated

$30,000

in production revenue generated daily

$180,000

minimum saved by reducing the outage cycle

5 million

tons of annual production capacity

"

The entire GE team communicated with us very well throughout the process,” a senior manager of the customer team said. “They understood the need to return the unit to service as soon as possible, and identified options that helped make that happen. Cost will always be a consideration, but beyond that, the value in expertise and attention to detail is a strong consideration. GE typically supplies this for us, including this time.

content-burns-harbor.jpg

While repairs of this nature can be done at GE service shops, the mill needed to resume its production operations as soon as possible, and asked for a quicker solution. Our team responded with a strategy to make the repairs on site in parallel to installation of the new buckets and other maintenance activities. This approach helped minimize risk to the project schedule—a timesaving decision given the limitations the COVID-19 pandemic placed on repair shops and interstate travel. Eliminating these processes shaved at least six days off of the project. For a major steel producing facility like this one, every day of downtime can translate to ~$30,000 of loss production revenue. 

Additionally, the early inspection likely prevented a cascade effect that could have resulted in more, even catastrophic, equipment damage. Had the bucket cover issue not been identified so early, it could have caused more bucket, diaphragm, steam path, and even rotor damage. This breadth of impact to the unit could have translated to millions of dollars in repair and replacement costs, in addition to a longer outage cycle that would have kept the mill from operating for months longer.

Featured Video

Modernizing industrial plant equipment

Our team collaborated with the LaTuque industrial mill in Quebec, turning back the clock on its boiler assets with upgrades to support the facility’s 24-hour, 350-day-a-year production schedule.