Machine Condition Monitoring

Project ID: 1719
Principal Investigator: Jim DeHaan
Research Topic: Improved Power Generation
Funded Fiscal Years: 2017, 2018 and 2019
Keywords: None

Research Question

How can Reclamation further utilize condition monitoring data acquisition systems to reduce its largest expense, operation and maintenance costs, while simultaneously ensuring and enhancing plant sustainability, reliability, and operation?

Need and Benefit

Given Reclamation's aging facilities, a deregulated market, the increased demand for additional ancillary services due to the integration of wind power, new NERC/WECC requirements, today's tight budgets and shrinking staff, current O&M practices are not optimal. Time-based maintenance, in general, is inefficient, labor intensive, and results in some equipment being under maintained. Predictive maintenance has been ineffective due to the overwhelming volume of data to be monitored and the inability to condense this data into a meaningful format. This research effort seeks to reduce O&M costs, increase plant availability, and preserve Reclamation's infrastructure by providing current and relevant information on the present condition of plant equipment. This is accomplished by the in-house development of a machine condition monitoring system.
This project has already shown that it can meet the needs at our powerplant facilities. It has provided a great platform to implement generator vibration monitoring which was recommended in Power Equipment Bulletin (PEB) 42. Several plants have already expanded it to include monitoring for rough zone, monitoring power system transients, turbine cavitation, airgap monitoring, and trending exciter operation. These types of monitoring help prevent wear and increase time between maintenance by reducing destructive operation of machines under adverse conditions. The MCM system's flexibility and expandability allow it to meet both current and future monitoring needs. Although substantial investment has been made in this system, over
$500,000 thus far, cost savings have already been realized. Grand Coulee was able to delay an unscheduled outage of Generator G-21 in part due to the data this system provided. Cost savings for this event alone are worth several million dollars.
A secondary benefit is the system can lower cost by reducing field office and TSC travel. By enabling remote monitoring of data, the machine condition monitoring system provides the opportunity to collect at least some of the data normally collected through site visits and to collect data over

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Bureau of Reclamation Review

The following documents were reviewed by experts in fields relating to this project's study and findings. The results were determined to be achieved using valid means.

Machine Condition Monitoring (final, PDF, 4.5MB)
By Jim Dehaan
Report completed on September 30, 2020

This research product summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.

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Last Updated: 6/22/20