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Biomass Power Station

Project: Site Services

The challenge

A power station in the North East of England recently carried out a conversion to biomass fuel. Part of this process involved the overhaul of over 100 machines, ranging from low to high voltage, to ready the power station for operation and provide ongoing support once the conversion was completed.

In 2017, following a competitive tender process, Houghton International was awarded a 36-month contract for the overhaul, maintenance and rewind of motors, generators and other electrical rotating equipment for the power station. This was re-awarded for a further three years in 2020.

The wide range of motors covered by the contract, including compressor and pumping system motors, were all linked to major functions in the power station and classed as either business or safety critical. Therefore, quality control and traceability were of the highest priority.

The solution

To date, over the course of the contract, approximately 120 machines were received into Houghton International’s works from the North East power station.

During the initial ramp up of the three-year overhaul period, approximately 4-7 motors were overhauled per month, all completed within the agreed timescales. Most of these required standard overhauls and refurbishments, which included carrying out electrical and mechanical checks and tests, cleaning and changing bearings and balancing rotating parts.

Where motors required a full rewind, Houghton International was able to complete this in-house, utilising its dedicated winding facility and in-house coil shop. Manufacturing coils in house provides absolute control over quality and lead times. Therefore, coils could be supplied quickly, tested comprehensively and checked for fit.

Additional spare sets of coils were provided for the machines being rewound. These coils were stored to reduce cost and lead time for future rewinds. As well as producing exemplary test results, Houghton International’s HiFLEX coils are fully cured, giving them a guaranteed storage life.

Why Houghton International

IECEx and Achilles B2 accredited facilities, including state of the art coil shop and dedicated large machine repair capabilities.
With 13 metre working height and 40 tonne craneage, Houghton International’s Large Machine Shop is well equipped to handle a wide range of machinery.
Dynamic and load testing capabilities on-site and in-house.
A competitive tender proposal was submitted, demonstrating Houghton International’s extensive experience and technical support capabilities.

Related Services

Electric Motors

The Results

A designated team was allocated for contract management, ensuring regular, consistent communication. Houghton International’s multi service approach means a fast and efficient service can be provided for all electrical rotating equipment, providing the customer with one central point of contact and a more efficient service.

Throughout the contract the engineering team at Houghton International proactively identified opportunities to improve performance. In one case, it was identified that additional insulation could be added to a series of boiler feed pump motors during the rewind process to increase their reliability in future.

Exceeding the original contract requirements, the Site Services team carried out in situ inspection, testing and fault diagnostics. Testing included Baker (surge) testing to detect weaknesses that could lead to premature motor failure and winding resistance testing, which gives highly accurate information on the integrity of motor windings and can be used as a trending tool for ongoing condition monitoring. When on-site testing identified potential issues, the team could investigate further whilst on site and preventative maintenance could be carried out to avoid machine failure.

Representatives from the power station visited Houghton International on several occasions to view progress on jobs and to witness testing. Real time updates were also communicated via Houghton Exchange, Houghton International’s video communication platform.

All work was completed to schedule with requested delivery dates, with work completed on an emergency service basis as and when required. In May 2020, following the culmination of the three-year contract and a new tender for the work, the customer once again selected Houghton International to continue delivering the maintenance work, including ongoing maintenance and planned shutdown work.

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