Why sampling turbine oils is vital?

Everyone knows keeping electricity flowing 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year is vital in keeping the nation safe. If the lights suddenly went out that may be an inconvenience for some, a loss of income to others and worse still result in loss of life saving equipment.

Despite advances in renewables, at time of writing over half all electricity in the UK still comes from burning fossil fuels, which in turn leads to rotation of steam or gas turbine blades that generate powerstaion electricity.

For 3 years I looked after the largest gas turbine in the world through oil analysis services and also regularly flew out to deliver on site training to the engineers responsible for maintaining these huge pieces of equipment.

The thing that was nice to find when meeting the team was the engineers needed no convincing of the value of oil analysis in keeping these turbines running. They had had failures in the past and knew full well how costly these failures could be.

The turbine manufacturers all recommend regular oil sampling as a mandatory requirement and some now insist on a minimum of a monthly sample. So why is turbine sampling so important?

The reason is that 1 in 5 powerstation forced outages (I.e. not planned and will likely incur a fine for non delivery of power) are caused by turbine faults/failures. What is more a study by a major turbine OEM found a whopping 95% of all turbine failures are related to the lube oil system. Hence you can see why they are so insistent on regular oil sampling to prevent such failures.

If you work in a powerstation and are maintaining turbines you most likely already do oil sampling anyway, but if you are still considering whether it is worthwhile continuing to do so then this little infographic should help remind you.

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If you are trying to maximise your oil sampling for your power lube oils and need help then click the chat button on the bottom right corner of the screen and get support now.