Large scale equipment for power generation, manufacturing, mining, and similarly sized functions are structurally important to the global economy. They turn raw materials into the energy and other products that help keep the economy running.
Consider the gas-turbine electric plant. These installations can involve multiple instances of large scale gas turbines like those manufactured by General Electric and Siemens, and they can supply power for thousands of homes and many jobs. Keeping these turbines running, continuing to turn gas into electricity, requires precise manufacturing. Bearings, blades, and shafts must be perfectly balanced in order for continued power generation, but strict maintenance schedules for addressing corrosion, fatigue, and wear are also required.
As precisely as these giant machines are made, the extreme conditions of highly compressed gas and the continuous runtime requirements of power generation invariably lead to some components failing to function appropriately. Extreme temperatures, high pressure, corrosive environments, and many other factors lead to costly interruptions in power. Nevertheless, these machines are intended to run for long periods of time, and interruptions in power generation for either maintenance or repair are very expensive. Continue reading