Proper maintenance, repair, and overhauling practices can significantly affect the performance level of gas turbines. Gas turbines are widely used in industrial applications and typically consist of an air compressor, a combustor, a gas generator turbine, and a power turbine. The nature of the turbine itself causes degradation that must be addressed on a regular basis. This maintenance or repair is detailed work done by highly skilled professionals during a scheduled overhaul session. The length of time the turbine is out of service is significant and certainly affects the longterm production and generation schedule. Any successful attempt to limit the amount of time the turbine is out of service is a worthy goal, if not always practical.
It is Century Elevators’ mission to safely position personnel and their tools effectively, efficiently and safely so we may perform the tasks at hand. This is never as essential as when repairing delicate machinery. Century Elevators, located in Houston, is a provider of elevators, hoists, and platforms for use on industrial and commercial job sites. We were contacted by TurboCare, a global turbine maintenance, and repair company owned by Siemens, one of the largest OEMs in the world. We were asked to provide a solution that would address the problem of safely and efficiently accessing the turbines while in maintenance and repair mode.
Century Elevators had to contemplate the requirements of the job site with the understanding that safety was first and foremost the priority. The perimeters were simple in that the personnel had to have close access to the equipment to perform the work and be positioned at the most ergonomically optimal location.
Furthermore, whatever solution we arrived at, we must travel up and down the exterior of the turbine without having any contact with the turbine whatsoever and must be able to “open” or “rotate” to allow transitioning of the turbine. Additionally, this must be able to accommodate turbines of varying height and width. The solution became clear. We would deliver a custom engineered work platform that would comply in all respects to the requirements of the newest ANSI/SAIA A92.10 standard.
Ultimately, Century Elevators designed the Maintenance and Repair Platform (MRP) 3500. The MRP is a square platform with an octagonal opening with a standard diameter of eight feet that travel on two masts at a speed not to exceed 39 feet per minute. This particular model is modular with the center opening adjustable down to six or four feet in diameter. The platform itself has a work deck of 25 inches for personnel to perform the maintenance and repair work. Although this platform can climb as high as required by the nature of the structure, standard lifting height is 25 feet with a maximum capacity of 3,500 pounds.
The rack and pinion driven gas turbine MRP 3500 fully wraps the turbine allowing safe access for all personnel without making contact with the turbine itself. It runs on 480-volt, three-phase, 100-amp service and is adjustable to accommodate the turbine by either a step-down access plank or a bi-swing hinged section.
Walter Manning, president of Century Elevators, said, “The MRP 3500 was first utilized here in Houston and made a significant impact on the efficiency of the work being performed. Ultimately the machine paid for itself on the first project and we quickly received an order for more units. “Working directly with the end user of the platform allowed us to design an incredibly precise machine capable of accomplishing the specific goals required by the unique nature of turbine maintenance.”
Century Elevators is accepting orders for the MRP 3500.