AWARE Boiler Tube Failures (BTF)
Boiler tube failures continue to be the number one cause of forced outages at power generating stations. Great strides are taken to identify where tubes are wearing so that preventative actions can
be taken to avoid failures during peak operation, but failures still continue to occur. To operate at peak capacity, a plant needs to find ways to avoid tube failures, as well as to recover from them
quickly when they caused forced outages.
When a tube failure occurs, personnel must quickly identify the material and/ or stock number as well as the weld procedure to be used. With the AWARE BTF module, this
information is available from any computer on the intranet with just a few mouse clicks. In most cases, it can all be identified in less than a minute. While accessing that information, personnel can
also see the previous inspection findings, UT readings, and other tube failures for the relevant component. This past information may be required to determine what type of repair should be done to
avoid another forced outage in the future.
While reviewing the information, personnel can document the current tube failure and enter whatever information is known at the time. If required, a weld traveler can be generated for the welder.
When the unit returns to normal operation, the rest of the information can be entered, and if an R-1 form is required, can be printed directly from the system.
Having quick and easy access to the right data at the right time allows plant personnel to perform their job functions more
efficiently and return the unit to full operation in shorter time. The AWARE BTF module impacts the bottom line by enabling a faster recovery, and thus reduces the duration of forced outages.
Forced Outage Avoidance
A key indicator of where & when future leaks are going to occur is the past history of tube leaks at an individual unit, or across a fleet of similar units. The
AWARE BTF module provides the tools necessary to record, view, and report tube failures and display them on plant specific interactive AutoCAD drawings. Analysts quickly see tube failures for a
specified date range displayed on a drawing with color coding for failure cause, description, repair type, repair status, unit, etc. This visual analysis tool, along with the powerful reporting &
trending functions allow engineers to have better insight into what condition the boiler is in, and how the equipment is aging.
UT readings and wastage rates are often used to predict where future tube failures will occur, so the AWARE BTF module has been designed to manage this data as well. Users can take readings and
upload them into the system and calculate a wastage rate over a specified window in time. Both measurements and wastage rates can be displayed on the drawings, and color coded symbols are
automatically applied to highlight potential trouble spots.
By reviewing past failures, inspections, and UT measurements, analysts can better predict what trouble spots are likely to lead to forced outages. This enables better decisions to be made about where
to spend limited maintenance dollars, and insure that the greatest bang for the buck is achieved. The AWARE BTF module impacts the bottom line by enabling engineers to make the right decisions reduce
the frequency of forced outages.
Contribution to Outage Planning
The AWARE BTF module allows engineers and planners to determine where to focus attention during planned outages, and also provides quick access to the data
necessary to get back online quickly after forced outages induced by tube failures. When failures are documented in the system, often a recommendation is made to re-inspect, or make a more permanent
repair during the next planned outage. These recommendations automatically appear in the Outage Planning screen to prompt planners to create the necessary work orders for the appropriate outage.