Mig welding machines suit advanced fabrication of high-alloy materials

ESAB is launching the Origo Mig 4001i welding machines for efficient welding of high-alloy materials in demanding applications.

Depending on the control panel used, these compact, versatile machines are suitable for MIG, MAG, pulse MIG and MMA welding, plus carbon arc gouging.

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Typically the 400A Origo Mig 4001i machines will be used for advanced fabrication in mild steel, stainless steel or aluminium, and the prefabrication of nickel-based alloys. Customers have a choice of air- and water-cooled models to suit different applications and duties.

ESAB’s TrueArcVoltage system, in combination with an ESAB PSF torch, ensures that the weld is always created at the correct voltage, regardless of any voltage drop in the cables à‚— even when long cables are used to give a working radius of up to 35 m. Without the TrueArcVoltage function, connection cables up to 50 m in length can be used.

As well as being highly capable, the Origo Mig 4001i machines are also extremely robust. For example, they benefit from a rugged galvanised steel chassis, a power source based on high-reliability IGBT technology and a CAN bus that reduces wiring to a minimum.

A further feature is the integral ESAB LogicPump (ELP) that automatically circulates cooling water when a water-cooled torch is connected to Origo Feed 3004/4804w, Aristo Feed 3004/4804w or Yard Feed 2000w wire feed units.

Customers can choose between the Origo MA23 and MA24 control panels, for simpler applications, and the Aristo U6 and U8 panels for sophisticated applications. The U8, for example, gives users access to over 200 preinstalled synergic lies, making it very quick and easy to set the welder correctly.


BP Solar International picks Comverge data acquisition and deployment solutions for stored energy

Comverge, a provider of smart grid demand response and energy efficiency solutions, has announced that BP Solar has selected the US firm to develop data acquisition and deployment solutions.

Comverge’s recently announced Apollo integrated demand response platform, advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) enabling technology and information command center technology will be used. The award is part of BP Solar’s DOE-sponsored project known as the Solar America Initiative: Reaching Grid Parity Using BP Solar Crystalline Silicon Technology.

The new contract with BP Solar calls for Comverge to integrate its advanced metering infrastructure technology using its advanced PowerPortal In-Home Display. Developing interfaces that provide solar production and other system information, BP Solar will have the option to integrate demand response using ZigBee-enabled intelligent thermostats and digital control units. Onsite systems data will be acquired and communicated offsite for performance monitoring, control, utility and customer information portals.

Robert M Chiste, chairman, president and CEO of Comverge said:”We are pleased to be chosen by BP Solar for this important development initiative. We believe that the selection of Comverge is tangible recognition of the value of our integrated clean energy AMI-enabled and solar power solutions, including our recently announced Apollo Platformà‚® and PowerPortal In-Home Display.” Chiste continued: “It is becoming generally recognized that, because of the uneven nature of solar and wind generation, demand response programmes can act in concert with these alternative energy supplies to ‘level’ capacity. This relationship with BP Solar is an important step in Comverge’s strategy to facilitate the integration of alternative energy solutions as part of the nation’s drive toward energy independence.”


Software to revolutionize offshore wind

New software is set to revolutionize the selection of sites for offshore wind energy by providing accurate data on wind speed and direction for the first time.

Windscan, developed by renewable energy and environmental consultancy Atmos Consulting, will provide accurate, site-specific data for the last 20 years on offshore sites. The new tool is already being used by a top international utility company currently bidding for UK Round 3 offshore wind development zones.

Until now, the method used for assessing the wind resource of an offshore site has been unreliable and inaccurate.

John Sturman, associate director of Atmos Consulting, said: “Windscan enables fast, cost-effective and detailed analysis of any site offshore. For the first time, developers will be able to make decisions based on a reliable dataset covering the last 20 years.”

Windscan provides site-specific measurements of offshore wind speed and direction for any offshore site around the globe, allowing resource assessment and weather windowing to be undertaken with much greater confidence.

Windscan has undergone validation against ten years of offshore buoy measurements from weather buoys.


Verder pump survives South African fire

Even although its casing was badly burned in a fire, the Verder Autoclude MO45 mini peristaltic pump kept going.

Manufactured in Basildon, Essex, the pump was installed in a testing chamber at Pfisterer in South Africa, a world leader in electrical engineering. Pfisterer develops and manufactures contact elements for power supply networks in four operating divisions à‚— cable systems, components, overhead lines and railway catenary systems.

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The mini pump was supplied to form part of a rig for testing resistance to tracking and erosion on powerline transmission insulator material. A wet, polluted environment is simulated by combining ammonium chloride, a wetting agent and deionized water, which the pump consistently and accurately doses across the rubber surface.

The compact MO45 peristaltic pump is suitable for an extensive range of industrial applications, including chemical dosing, sampling and analysis. The standard pump has a polycarbonate/ABS housing for durability and a clear polycarbonate cover and rotor.

It can handle flow rates up to 40 ml/min and, in the Pfisterer application, doses at 0.6ml/min at 1 rpm through a 3.2mm diameter tube. The ignition of poor insulation material in the test chamber was responsible for the fire that damaged the Pfisterer MO45 pump, but chemical engineer, Shaun Aitken, was highly impressed with its resilience. He said: “Because the MO45 is so small and not pressure dependent, it is ideal for achieving the exact flow rate required for the test.

“The pump remains accurate for the six-hour test every day.”

This Verder Autoclude pump was supplied to Pfisterer by South African distributor VPSA.


Invensys brings immersive virtual reality process to life

Invensys Process Systems (IPS), a global technology and consulting firm, has unveiled its Immersive Virtual Reality Process technology, a next-generation human machine interface solution that will revolutionize the way engineers and operator trainees see and interact with the plant and the processes they control.

When it becomes commercially available later this year, IPS expects Immersive Virtual Reality Process to deliver a wide range of client benefits that will help improve plant safety and security, ensure environmental and regulatory accountability, and increase production and efficiency, while controlling feedstock and material costs.

Energy, chemical, oil and gas, and other vital process industries will also be able to apply the technology to meet the knowledge-management, training and retention challenges they encounter in the face of an aging and dwindling industry workforce.

IPS’s Immersive Virtual Reality Process can create a three-dimensional computer-generated representation of either a real or proposed process plant. Via a stereoscopic headset, users enter a totally immersive environment that allows them to move through the plant in any direction. Such freedom is made possible because the virtual environment is rendered at 60 frames per second, significantly faster than can be achieved by traditional, non-real-time rendering.

“The ability to simulate complex processes in connection with virtual actions allows the user to directly experience an environment that changes over time, making it more effective at transferring skills learned in training to the work environment,” said Maurizio Rovaglio, director at IPS global consulting.

“And because rarely performed volatile tasks such as plant shutdowns can be rehearsed in a stable, realistic environment, users and operator trainees can learn and make mistakes without putting themselves, the community or the environment at risk. Also, using computer models of real equipment allows endless experimentation without taking the equipment offline, mitigating risk to production.”

IPS will make Immersive Virtual Reality Process truly realistic by applying its proprietary DYNSIM software to emulate the plant environment, linking process simulation models with physical-spatial models to create virtually any scenario that a user could encounter in real life. The inherent flexibility of IPS’s technology results in fast and economical program configuration.

The company’s new solution has been designed for a wide range of scenarios, including process design, maintenance engineering and plant safety. IPS expects Immersive Virtual Reality Process to be widely used in the next generation of process training programs.

“Immersive Virtual Reality Process is another example of IPS developing and delivering innovative solutions that help our clients solve their most critical business issues,” said Tobias Scheele, IPS vice president of advanced applications.

“The solution continues to be tested, and we are beginning to realize its full potential and value-add possibilities. When it becomes available later this year, we believe it will provide immediate, far-reaching benefits to clients spanning the process industries.”


Drax signs contract with Spencer for biomass co-firing infrastructure

Drax Power Limited has signed a à‚£18m ($26m) design and build contract with C Spencer Limited to supply rail unloading equipment and biomass bulk storage and handling systems to feed the direct injection biomass co-firing systems currently being installed at the 4000 MW Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire, UK.

This is the final contract to be awarded for the 400 MW biomass co-firing project, which is being delivered to cost and schedule.

Co-firing involves the mixing and burning of renewable biomass materials with coal and, given the carbon neutral status of biomass, is a recognized carbon abatement technology that has significant potential to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from coal fired power stations. The rail unloading and storage systems represent a major component of the new co-firing facility at Drax and are designed to receive and transport processed biomass materials to be fired in the power station’s coal fired boilers.

On completion, the biomass co-firing facility will be the largest of its type in the world, which alongside Drax’s existing co-firing capability will provide a total of 500 MW of renewable electricity, or the equivalent output of over 600 wind turbines.

The biomass co-firing facility will reduce Drax Power Station’s emissions of CO2 by over two and a half million tonnes per annum, supporting Drax’s commitment to tackling climate change by reducing its CO2 emissions.

The contract for the rail unloading equipment and biomass bulk storage and handling systems has been awarded and is a significant project for Spencer. Work will commence immediately, and the Installation of the equipment is scheduled to be complete in the first half of 2010.


GE Energy signs OEM agreement with Industrial Defender

GE Energy has signed a global OEM agreement with Industrial Defender, a leader in cyber risk protection for critical infrastructure industries.

Under the terms of the agreement, GE Energy will offer Industrial Defender’s technology suite to customers. The new offering is a value-added cyber-security technology integrated with smart grid automation technologies, such as energy management systems, distribution management systems and substation automation solutions.

This combination will enable electric utilities to address their cyber-security needs and help secure the emerging smart grid roadmap under development to enhance the reliability, availability and efficiency of the electric power grid globally.

“GE Energy has been providing reliable, mission-critical grid management solutions to the electric utility industry for decades,” said Sisir Padhy, general manager for GE Energy’s transmission and distribution automation business.

“As the utility industry evolves towards smart grid and secure networks, we are continuing to add capabilities to our technology solutions. We recognize that Industrial Defender’s security technology has strong applicability to the electric industry’s needs as well as interoperability with our products, a combination that provides an excellent value-add to our customers.”

The integration of the Industrial Defender technology suite into GE Energy’s transmission and distribution solutions will enhance the cyber security of the global electric power ecosystem.

It will also help North American bulk electricity providers meet the US government’s North American Electric Reliability Corporation-Critical Infrastructure Protection (NERC-CIP) compliance requirements.


Small wind industry to benefit from Irish export feed-in tariff

Small-scale wind turbine projects in Ireland will benefit from shorter payback periods following new legislation allowing feed-in tariffs (FiT).

The energy regulator, the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER), has cleared the way for the ESB to purchase electricity from households that have their own wind generators after it was announced that the ESB-allocated tariff value of €0.09 per kWh ($0.12) can now be claimed for any surplus electricity a renewable energy system produces.

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Eamon Ryan TD, minister for communications, energy and natural resources announced a further increase of €0.10 per kWh, bringing the total FiT rate to 0.19 cents per kWh. This further increase in the tariff will bring a quicker return on investment for microgeneration solutions.

Andrew McMullan, CEO of Proven Energy said: “The introduction of the new feed-in tariff is a step forward in opening up the microgeneration market in Ireland. This will boost the industry and create new job opportunities.”

Renewable Energy Systems Ltd (RES), leading provider of renewable energy solutions and distributor of Proven Energy products, welcomed the news.

Mark Lowen, managing director of RES said: “This is a crucial change in the renewable energy market. It will offer customers a meaningful opportunity to generate their own electricity and sell their excess energy back to the grid.”


Emerson wins contract to replace UK power station’s outdated operator interface

Emerson Process Management has been selected to replace outdated operator interface stations at the Barking Power generating facility in London, UK.

Barking Power Station is one of the largest independently owned generating plants in the UK, capable of generating 1000 MW of electricity à‚— about 2 per cent of the peak electricity demand in England and Wales. The station was constructed between 1992 and 1995 and was the first major generating station in the capital for many years.

Under the contract, Emerson will replace the ABB Bailey operator interface stations that are connected to the existing Bailey INFI 90 system. The Ovation expert control system will interface directly or via OPC to the existing proprietary controllers and other third-party products.

This will provide Barking Power with freedom of choice for future automation upgrades, as it will be able to easily integrate other systems and software, leading to tighter control and improved reliability, availability and efficiency.

Emerson will suppy an Ovation system with operator workstations and data historian software, as well as perform installation and commissioning services, including graphics and database conversions. The contract includes Emerson’s SureService customer support.

SureService offers an array of support services designed to help companies achieve their business objectives, reduce or contain operating and maintenance costs and keep systems running at peak performance

Emerson’s Ovation migration for the Bailey systems programme offers power generators a flexible and cost-effective alternative to traditional control system replacement. It uses the latest hardware and software to bridge communications between the Ovation expert control system and Bailey Command Series, Network 90 or INFI 90 systems, allowing Bailey users to take advantage of the latest control technology without the initial cost of a full control system replacement.

Ovation’s best-in-class technology will provide significant benefits to Barking Power, enabling it to take advantage of FOUNDATION fieldbus, HART and other digital bus technologies that are used in Emerson’s PlantWeb digital architecture.

This upgrade path allows parallel operation with no shutdown and offers fully featured interoperation between the Ovation workstations and the Bailey controllers, as well as alignment with other plant IT infrastructures for flexible control monitoring functions. This solution is completely customizable to match plant architecture and needs, giving Barking Power a flexible solution for its aging Bailey technology.

“Following a series of meetings and site visits, Emerson demonstrated its technology leadership, vast experience and excellent service and support,” said Ian MacDonald, a senior CS/IT engineer at Barking Power. “We are confident that Emerson’s experience at carrying out this type of project, as well as its graphics and database conversion tools, will speed the implementation of the upgrade and provide many operational benefits, not just for this project, but for the future too.”

“Emerson has helped power generators all over the world modernize their existing units,” said Bob Yeager, president of the Power & Water Solutions division of Emerson. “After upgrading to our leading-edge Ovation technology, other Emerson customers have experienced improvements in availability, reliability and efficiency that come from operating a highly automated plant. We expect Barking Power to experience these same operational advantages.”

Emerson’s Ovation system is designed specifically for the power industry and has been proven in thousands of installations throughout the world. Ovation, a key component of Emerson’s PlantWeb digital plant architecture, uses commercially available hardware platforms, operating systems and network architectures, and boasts a number of industry-leading advanced technologies.


Compact soft-starter meets demands of greener heat pumps

Carlo Gavazzi has introduced a new digital soft-starter that provides all the features required for the optimal control of single-phase compressors, such as those used in geothermal and similar heat pump installations.

Rated up to 25 A maximum continuous current for 230 VAC, 50 Hz motors, the RSBS Compact starter incorporates special control algorithms to limit starting current and onboard diagnostics to ensure reliability for this increasingly popular form of environmentally friendly heating.

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Starting current is measured by the device’s integral current transformer and limited to 40 A RMS, thus ensuring that installations meet the limits established by energy companies and allow users to avoid the high cost of peak electricity rates. A matching onboard capacitor is also available to boost starting torque.

The RSBS is capable of 12 starts per hour and operates from -20 à‚ºC to 65 à‚ºC, guaranteeing operation in demanding environments. The system helps avoid damage to other equipment in the residential area caused by voltage dips, and it also prevents nuisance light flicker.

In addition, the unit continuously monitors line voltage, automatically disengaging when it drops more than 15 per cent.

Ramp-up time is preset to 0.6s, well within the limits prescribed for the scroll-type compressors used in typical residential central heat pump applications. Feedback techniques ensure an improved torque control, and integrated bypass relays bridge the circuit across the semiconductors at the top of the ramp. These relays are rated at 60A RMS to ensure robustness and reliability.

Further features are included to enhance longevity. For example, over-current monitoring notifies users by LED indication of a blocked rotor. Locked rotor protection during starting improves the lifetime of both the compressor and soft-starter; and the RSBS Compact will try to restart for a second time before eventually switching output thyristors off until the problem has been rectified.

Product reliability is enhanced still further by integrated transient overvoltage protection, using varistors across the output and control terminals.

The RSBS can be DIN rail or panel mounted, offering a footprint of 76 x 135mm and a low 60mm profile. Such compact dimensions allow the device to fit in panels with limited component space, making it especially useful where there is no cellar to house the heat exchanging unit. Locating heating systems in the living area necessitates using smaller heat pumps and panels.

Protection against dust and moisture ingress is to IP20 standards, and the RSBS Compact meets major requirements for electromagnetic compatibility, including EMC Directive 2004/108/EEC, IEC/EN 60947-4-2, EN61000-6-2 and EN61000-6-3. The device also carries UR certification and the CE mark.


Businesses count the cost of transformer failures

Businesses that suffer a power transformer failure on their site could face bills running into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Hopefully this unfortunate event will be covered by insurance. However, most insurance companies will want evidence of a maintenance regime to show that this expensive asset has had care and attention throughout it’s working life to minimize the risk of failure. If test and maintenance reports are not available, there is a risk that the insurance company could seek to minimize its liability.

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A new power transformer of the type used in on-site substations can cost from a few thousand euros to more than a million, so in itself is expensive, and it is not unusual for the delivery time to be many months. Add in the downtime from a failure and the cost of alternative temporary supplies and the loss suffered by a business as the result of a transformer failure can be enormous.

It is no real surprise that insurers are taking care that every aspect of their policy agreement has been satisfied before they pay out on such large claims. And the policy small print invariably puts the onus on the transformer owner to take all practicable steps to keep it in good condition à‚— which essentially means regular testing and maintenance.

Many business owners assume that the power transformers on their sites are the responsibility of the utility company that supplies them with power. While this is usually the case, there are many instances where the transformer is the responsibility of the company that owns or rents the site.

“We strongly recommend that any company with a power transformer on site should check whether or not they are responsible for it,” said one loss prevention consultant. “If they are, they should at least consider setting up a regular testing programme. Not only will this help keep their insurers happy, it will also minimize the risk of the major disruption to business that invariably follows a transformer failure.”

To assist with testing and preventative maintenance, Megger offers an extensive range of transformer test equipment. This includes dielectric frequency response analyzers for determining the moisture content in transformer insulation and sweep frequency response analyzers that can detect electromechanical changes inside transformers. Megger also offers turns ratio test sets, transformer oil analyzers and transformer ohmmeters.


Pyeroy powers ahead on new industrial services contract

The contract to provide access scaffolding for the installation of insulation on the outlet stacks at the new à‚£380m ($553m) Marchwood Power natural gas combined cycle power station in Southampton in the UK has been won by Gateshead-based industrial services specialists Pyeroy.

The à‚£1.7m contract will see a team of 50 contractors from the company erect engineered scaffolding that will enable it to undertake insulation work on the two 70 metre-high structures by spring 2009.

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Pyeroy has also secured the mechanical services work, which will involve fitting and insulating the piping system for the stacks’ boilers and carrying out all the associated structural steel installation and welding services work.

The contract has been awarded by Siemens Power Generation, the principal contractors for the Marchwood Power Station, which is being built on the banks of Southampton Water in Hampshire.

The power plant is scheduled to open this year and will generate enough electricity to supply the needs of nearly one million homes à‚— equivalent to the combined energy needs of Southampton, the New Forest and Winchester.

The state-of-the-art 842 MW facility will use the latest technology to ensure maximum energy efficiency with minimal impact on the environment. It will be one of the most efficient generators of electricity in the UK when it comes online.

This is the latest power station contract for Pyeroy’s Industrial Services Division, following its completion of environmental improvement works worth over à‚£4m at two of Ireland’s largest power stations à‚— ESB Moneypoint and AES Kilroot power stations.

Pyeroy’s project manager Malcolm Hood said: “We won the contract because of our expertise and track record in managing complex projects involving engineered scaffolding and specialist insulation work.

“Although the market continues to be extremely challenging at the moment, with constant pressure to deliver cost improvements and efficiency, this latest success puts us in a great position to secure more work of a similar nature in future.”

The Pyeroy Group is based in Gateshead and employs 1000 people working on industrial, construction and marine projects throughout the UK and Ireland.

The company provides a wide range of industrial services, which comprise contract scaffolding and equipment hire, surface preparation and the application of marine/industrial protective coatings, insulation, civil engineering/building works, and environmental management services such as nuclear decommissioning and asbestos removal.


RWE npower opts to refurbish reliable ABB actuators at Tilbury

More than 100 ABB actuators, some of which have been installed since 1977, are getting a new lease of life in a refurbishment project at Tilbury Power Station, near London.

The actuators have already outlasted the typical service life of most similar equipment, and their long-term reliability played a key part in the decision to opt for refurbishment rather than renewal.

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Refurbishing the existing actuators is a cost-effective option for station owner RWE npower, and it will enable engineers to continue to work with familiar equipment that has proved effective and reliable over many years.

“It is quite unusual for this kind of equipment to have such a long service life,” admits control and instrumentation engineer Frank Gamble. “The electric actuators were originally purchased from Hartmann and Braun, but they’re now ABB products. The refurbishment was actually carried out at the same factory in Germany where the actuators were originally built.” Hartmann and Braun became part of the ABB family in 1999.

The gearboxes at the heart of the refurbished units remain the same, but the separate amplifiers that used to drive the actuators are now obsolete, so ABB has replaced them with new motors and electronics. “We looked carefully at the options of replacing or refurbishing the actuators and the easiest option was to have them refurbished. It was cost-effective and saved us lots of time because we didn’t have to build new mountings or connections,” said Gamble.

Tilbury is a coal fired power station next to the River Thames. Today it is capable of generating over 14 000 MW of electricity, enough to serve 80 per cent of the population of Essex. One of the site’s original four generating units was mothballed in the late 1990s, and this made scheduling the actuator refurbishment work relatively easy.

“We effectively had a spare set of actuators,” said Gamble. “We sent these for refurbishment and then swapped them with one of the live units during the next planned overhaul.”


JASC announces alliances in the Middle East and Europe

Global Energy Technologies Limited (GETL) and Turbo Power Services (TPS), a subsidiary of Osborne Engineering Limited, have been appointed as authorized distributor and service representatives for JASC industrial gas turbine products.

UAE-based GETL will cover territories in the Middle East and North Africa. In addition to component sales, GETL will provide on-site installation/commissioning support, repair and overhaul services for JASC products.

UK-based TPS will cover territories in Europe. In addition to component sales, TPS will provide on-site installation/commissioning support, repair and overhaul services for JASC products.

JASC specializes in the design and manufacture of new technology for process control problems in industrial, aerospace and aviation applications.


Voith Turbo announces development of special vehicles for applications in solar thermal power plants

The ELCOS and DRENOS maintenance vehicles have been developed by Voith Turbo Spain in cooperation with Spanish partner companies for use at the solar thermal power plants that are currently being set up across the Iberian Peninsula.

ELCOS cleans the mirror surfaces of parabolic trough collectors with pressurized water. When maintenance work is being carried out, DRENOS pumps the thermo oil from the absorber pipes and keeps it at a minimum temperature of 60 à‚ºC. The two vehicles will help the power station operator increase the efficiency and availability of this plant.

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Voith Turbo team project manager Luis de Alfonso said: “The power station operator knew Voith as an innovative company and had asked us for a solution. We recognized the opportunity to develop a special cleaning vehicle that would not be destined for communal use but for industrial applications à‚— and this is a growing niche.” The efforts of the Voith Turbo team in Spain were highly successful. Cobra, a subsidiary company of the Spanish ACS Group, has already commissioned two ELCOS and two DRENOS vehicles.

Voith Turbo Spain initially developed an ELCOS prototype in close cooperation with the customer in one year. The prototype passed its two months’ trial with flying colours: the vehicle’s cleaning result, the speed and the low water consumption exceeded the expectations of the customer. Built for cleaning the individual solar cells, ELCOS is fitted with special ultrasonic sensors that allow the sickle-shaped arm of the vehicle to work on the 6.4 metre-high solar cells as closely as possible without touching them.

At a creep speed of 6 km/h, ELCOS moves twice through each of the rows of mirrors and showers them down with water pressurized to 200 bar. Its video cameras and appropriate monitors give the driver a full overview of the process.

This weekly cleaning routine ensures that the efficiency of the power station remains within a commercially viable range. The development team also paid special attention to the economical use of cleaning water in the vehicle. A solar thermal power station rated at 50 MW spreads across an area of 2 km2. Constantly having to return to base point and refill the vehicle would be very time consuming.

The special DRENOS vehicle has been designed for draining oil from the main pipes inside the power station and refilling them afterwards.

For cleaning or servicing these absorber pipes, the oil, which has a temperature of 390 à‚ºC when drained, has to be cooled down to below 90 à‚ºC and then kept in a 4 m3 tank in the vehicle at a minimum temperature of 60 à‚ºC.

The two ELCOS and DRENOS vehicles are used by the power station operator Cobra in a solar power plant with an output of 50 MW. Such a power station would typically provide approximately 15 000 households with electricity.

Cobra looks after another 350 MW of power station capacity in Spain, and a further eight ELCOS and four DRENOS vehicles for these stations are already on order. “In Spain alone, additional solar power stations with an estimated capacity of 600 MW are currently being projected,” says Mark Neumann, head of Voith Turbo Trading, who also sees long-term market potential in other countries such as the US.


Slovenia’s NEK picks Ventyx software for Krsko nuclear plant

Ventyx, the world’s largest private software provider to the energy and utility industry, has announced that Nuklearna elektrarna Krsko (NEK) has selected the Ventyx Shift Operations Management System (eSOMS) software solution to enhance the efficiency, productivity and safety of the Slovenian utility’s operation and maintenance activities at its Krsko nuclear power plant.

NEK is among the top 25 per cent of operational nuclear power plants in the world in terms of nuclear safety and stability criteria standards. The Krsko plant generates more than 5 billion kWh of electrical energy per year, which represents approximately 40 per cent of the total electricity produced in Slovenia.

Additionally, as a reliable source of active and reactive power, Krsko is an important support point for the electricity supply system as part of the Union for the Coordination of Transmission of Electricity (UCTE) à‚— the association of transmission system operators in continental Europe.

“In terms of nuclear safety, operational stability and business performance, our aim is that NEK is classified among the best functioning nuclear power plants in the world,” said Franc Skaler, project lead at NEK. “In order to meet this objective, we needed to upgrade our operational capabilities with an automated plant operations and maintenance system. We first tried to develop our own solution internally. But we soon discovered that we could achieve much greater value by installing the Ventyx eSOMS system.”

By implementing the mission-critical plant operations management application eSOMS, NEK can better ensure the safe, efficient and reliable operation and maintenance of its facility assets. The plant will benefits from improved equipment status reporting, electronic logging and operator rounds, as well as improved communication and information sharing via a proven mobile platform for plant workers.

In the eSOMS product, NEK recognized that the majority of features were compatible with features it was prepared to develop on its own. On discovering the eSOMS product on the market, which can be easily adjusted to NEK’s established processes, it identified eSOMS as a ready-made solution.


SIPOS actuators selected for German combined power application

SIPOS 5 Flash variable-speed actuators have been installed at a combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Germany.

The CHP of the Rosenheim municipal utility is a gas, fuel oil and waste fuelled plant that incinerates domestic and industrial waste to produce energy for power generation, process steam and district heat. The CHP converts approximately 60 000 tons of domestic and industrial waste into energy.

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As part of a modernisation programme, SIPOS Aktorik actuators were selected by the utility. A primary reason for the selection of SIPOS products was the integration of frequency converters as a standard product feature, which avoids water hammer and facilitates adaption to the needs of individual plant sections with different output speeds for open and close movement.

SIPOS’ ability to mount actuator controls in an accessible, non-hazardous and separate location also appealed to the customer, as this gives easy access and protects the functionality of the actuation technology.

As a specialist supplier of variable-speed actuation solutions, SIPOS has built a strong reputation for meeting the needs of both special actuator applications and bespoke requirements. The company has differentiated its product range with a number of specialist product features for valve control applications, including a soft-start capability.


VT Nuclear Services Wins à‚£1.2m Dounreay nuclear waste drum contract

VT Nuclear Services has been awarded a à‚£1.2m ($1.7m)contract to supply drums for the Dounreay Cementation Facility. The contract will supply waste drums for the safe long-term storage of nuclear waste at the site in Scotland from June this year.

The waste drums are built at VT Nuclear Services’ manufacturing facility, DEVA, in Chester, UK. The DEVA plant currently employs 60 people and focuses on the manufacturing of nuclear waste drums for customers.

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“This contract for VT Nuclear Services demonstrates the expertise we have at DEVA in manufacturing drums for the storage of nuclear waste” said John Chubb, managing director of VT Nuclear Services

“Our experience in dealing with the complex challenges of nuclear waste, and storage solutions in particular, means we can provide customers with a rigorous and unparalleled solution.

“This new contract is just another endorsement for the highly skilled and technical workforce we have at DEVA, and a boost for the local economy.”


Sempell bags valve order for RWE coal fired plants

Sempell AG, part of Tyco Flow Control, has been awarded a contract on the RWE BOA 2 and 3 project. The $35m deal tops the previous record for a large valve package contract set at the end of 2008.

The project involves RWE’s new coal power plants at Westfalen in Germany and Eemshaven in the Netherlands.

Westfalen and Eemshaven will be identical 1600 MW plants from the latest generation of conventional power stations with an output efficiency of 46 per cent. This performance is made possible by extremely high operating temperatures and pressures à‚— requiring customized and optimized component technology and knowhow from Sempell.

The valve package is designed for the steam and water system covering the HP feed water delivery, HP and MP spray water, live steam and cold and hot reheat systems. It is part of the high-pressure piping system to be planned and delivered by the consortium HP Westfalen/Eemshaven for commissioning in the period 2011-13.

To withstand parameters of 295 bar and 610 à‚ºC the valves (sizes 80-600mm) will be made from materials such as WB36 and new high-temperature steel P92 (1.4901). They include isolation and control valves as well as HP bypass stations and heat protection valves. The value of the order makes it Sempell’s largest ever contract for a conventional power plant since its foundation 130 years ago.

Sempell boasts a state-of-the-art, high-quality German manufacturing facility, innovative planning and design, and excellent service and maintenance programmes. The company also delivers control, safety relief and isolation valves to conventional and nuclear power plants as well as the chemical industry. It offers its customer optimal solutions in all cases where high pressure, extreme temperatures and critical properties are involved and especially where safety considerations are paramount. In addition to its standard delivery programme, which covers nearly all areas, Sempell develops and manufactures customised valves.

Predictions by leading energy economists indicate that fossil fuels will continue to play a critical role in future energy production around the world, and this is driving the market strongly at present.

With manufacturers such as SEMPELL providing valves specifically designed for use in the steam circuit of power plants, Tyco Flow Control has been able to achieve a market share of more than 70 per cent in this segment in Germany for new plants.

Long-term supply contracts between Sempell and some of the largest energy producers and OEMs, such as RWE, Vattenfall, Siemens and Alstom, indicate that this will continue over the next four to six years.


Servomex gas analyzers help Drax strengthen its position as the most coal-efficient power station in the UK

Servomex’s world-leading expertise in monitoring combustion gases has been recognized by Drax Power Limited, which has ordered the installation of Servomex gas analyzers to the UK’s cleanest and most coal-efficient power station.

Eight Servotough Fluegas (2700) units, optimized to measure both 02 and CO, have been installed to monitor the oxygen burn mix for the combustion boilers at Drax Power Station in Selby, Yorkshire. By monitoring combustion processes more closely, Drax engineers will be able to control the optimum burn mix more accurately, thus saving fuel, saving costs and further improving emissions quality.

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The Servotough Fluegas combustion gas analyzer, which already replaces a range of competitor analyzers at other coal fired power stations, is ideal for monitoring combustion processes by using a combination of a zirconium oxide cell for measuring oxygen and a patented ‘thick film’ catalytic sensor for combustibles such as CO equivalents and CO. The Servotough Fluegas is, accordingly, designed for high-temperature operation up to 1750à‚°C, with a range of applications available for extreme heated environments à‚— including process heaters, utility boilers, thermal crackers and incinerators à‚— that are ideal for monitoring the combustion process at Selby or other coal fired power stations.

Servomex will also provide full service and support à‚— including installation and commissioning à‚— for the Servotough Fluegas analyzers, which replace competitor products that have become obsolete and unsupportable.

Chris Cottrell, managing director at Servomex, said: “The performance, accuracy and reliability of the Servotough Fluegas has established it as the industry choice for monitoring combustion processes, so with this installation, Servomex is proud to actively contribute to Drax’s status as the cleanest and most efficient coal fired power station in the UK.”

Peter Muff, project manager at Drax Power, said: “Servomex has been a pleasure to work with, and the contract was professionally project managed.”


Simulation software aims for higher planning safety in plant engineering

Conveyor systems in mining applications are reaching higher and higher outputs. This places increasing demands on materials and functionality, and it also means that plant engineers need detailed information on the anticipated start-up behaviour during the project stage.

Voith TurboSim is a simulation tool for the evaluation of drivelines with hydrodynamic couplings. This applies especially to belt conveyors. Voith TurboSim simulates the actual operating torque and consequently serves as a basis for dynamic plant calculations. The software program allows the computer-supported design of fluid couplings, provides higher planning safety, reduces operating risks and helps with the evaluation of output reserves.

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In order to minimize risks that might occur during the design and commissioning phase, computer programs for the evaluation of the critical operating conditions of belt conveyor systems are becoming increasingly popular. If belt tensioning forces, the lift-off of the belt, belt slip or voltage drops can be evaluated during the project stage, the risk of a later operating failure is much reduced.

The increasing output rates of conveyor systems also affect the drive system. After all, the start-up procedure plays an important role for the load on the belt. Here, the torque characteristics of the fluid coupling are a key factor. They decide the start-up behaviour of the driven machine and ensure that belt conveyors start smoothly.

The introduction of torque to the belt via the hydrodynamic coupling can be optimized by demand-oriented curve characteristics. But the characteristic curves of hydrodynamic couplings cannot be calculated mathematically.

The calculation program TurboSim therefore has a comprehensive database of the characteristic curves of constant-fill couplings collected during empirical studies in test series. These curves focus, for example, on start-up times, the possible number of subsequent start-ups and the behaviour of the motors.

As these characteristic curves are processed directly, plant engineers receive near-realistic representations. Once these limitations have been taken into account, the start-up procedure can be simulated. The simulation covers the entire operating process.

The programme consists essentially of two elements. The first element is used for the automatic pre-selection of a coupling type on the basis of fixed criteria. For this purpose, the plant operator provides the central performance data of the system (speed, load collective, motor output and mass inertia).

With this data, TurboSim can compile an overview of possible coupling types that would be suitable for this application. Customer requirements, such as torque limitation, ambient conditions and frequency of start-ups, are then added, to narrow down the selection even further.

With the second element, start-up procedures of Voith fluid couplings for all kinds of plants and load collectives à‚— for example single or multimotor drives, as well as all operating conditions (start-up, nominal operation, shut-down and special applications such as creep speed for inspection runs) à‚— can be simulated.

The results from these simulations can provide valuable insight, especially when evaluating output reserves. These early evaluations offer project engineers more scope for deciding which drive is the most suitable. They increase planning safety, from projecting to commissioning and operation.

They also show the possible effects on the functionality of the entire system. Here, the program resorts to the database containing product details from case studies and test series. The processing of these data sets during the project stage allows secure statements regarding the anticipated operating conditions of the fluid coupling in the driveline.

With the help of TurboSim, plant engineers receive realistic characteristic curves of the fluid coupling for plant calculations à‚— namely torque values that might occur at any time, depending on the speed of the belt conveyor. On the basis of assessable program results, the introduction of power into the belt, as well as other plant components, can be optimized, resulting in cost optimizations.


Hitachi high-voltage IGBTs implement new E2 series technology

Hitachi Europe’s Power Devices Division has announced the introduction of two new high-voltage IGBT modules. The new 3.3KV MBN1000E33E2 and MBN1500E33E2 IGBT modules offer a current rating of 1000 A and 1500 A, respectively. The new modules are manufactured using Hitachi’s new E2 series fine-pattern silicon process technology, which enables a more cost-effective production process, increased current capability and an increase in the active silicon cell area. The use of E2 series technology enables the new MBN1000E33E2 and MBN1500E33E2 IGBT to achieve a higher current rating than existing E series products.

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Neil Markham, product marketing manager at Hitachi Power Devices Division commented: “The new E2 series process provides excellent technical benefits. Both the existing E series and the new E2 series products have similar turn-on and turn-off characteristics using a planar gate. This allows the same gate driver unit from existing designs to be used in new higher-specification E2 series designs. Not having to redesign and implement complex gate driver changes can provide a significant reduction in time to market for new designs. Additionally, the implementation of the E2 series technology results in an IGBT that consumes less power, with a lower conduction loss, more than compensating soft-switching characteristics.”

The MBN1000E33E2 is available in a small footprint package, and the MBN1500E33E2 is available in a large footprint package. Typical applications for Hitachi’s new IGBT modules include propulsion and auxiliary power systems, renewable energy, power conditioning and heavy industrial systems.

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