Power generating plants with inadequate maintenance programs will invariably be unable to compete in today's very competitive industry. For this reason, power plants are implementing a variety of technologies to reduce the costs of maintenance and to increase plant reliability and efficiency.
Oil analysis can be a very effective tool in determining its condition. Even though the primary focus should be on monitoring for wear, determining the condition of the oil through analysis is still important. By analyzing the oil it is possible to establish the oil's condition and its ability to continue protecting the equipment. An oil analysis program will indicate any changes in viscosity, oxidation and depletion of additives in the oil. It will also show if any contaminants are present.
Lubricating oil contamination is a major problem and if not controlled can lead to catastrophic failures of power plant equipment. Some of the contaminants in lubricating oils include gases, liquids such as water, and solid particulates. Gases decrease viscosity and promote foaming that in turn reduces the lubricating properties of the oil
To minimize undesirable properties in the oil, additives are often used. Antioxidant additives are added to increase the life and storage of oils, while antifoam additives help to reduce foaming. Other additives include: anti-wear, extreme pressure, pour point depressants, corrosion and rust inhibitors, de-mulsifiers, detergents and dispersants.
Equipment critical to power plants are: