Hydropower is a controllable renewable energy source with great potential to enable the transition towards a decarbonised economy but for the most part repair and maintenance is the biggest job on any Hydropower plant. Due to extreme working conditions and operational processes associated with the Hydropower industry, plant equipment is constantly exposed to multiple types of wear on an ongoing basis. High cavitation, erosion and vibration-related wear occurs on the scroll casing, guide vanes and runner blades, that necessitates wear protection management.
To mitigate the range of wear challenges Hydropower plants face, our Welding Alloys technical experts have designed specialised cladding wires, a range of weld cladding equipment and proven restoration processes.
To illustrate the extent of wear these turbines experienced, customer data showed that due to the harsh conditions, the turbines at the Santo Antonio Dam were losing 1kg of metal, caused by cavitation, daily. Simply put, turbine repairs would require 1.5 tons of specialist welding wire to complete the job, adding significant costs to an already costly operation.
During our wear audit and analysis of the products and environment, we concluded that the wire used to repair the turbines was not tailored and suitable for combating cavitation and erosion, hence the substantial metal losses. On closer analysis, we discovered that the water pressure on the turbine blades was extremely high and a significant contributing factor to the excessive wear experienced.