Temporary blasting enclosures for turbine maintenance
Siemens is one of Australiaâs largest suppliers of power generation turbines. In addition they provide maintenance services for their turbines. These turbines need to undergo planned maintenance, approximately every six years. Maintenance usually requires hundreds of personnel and weeks of down time. During this time, turbines are completely disassembled, cleaned, tested and re-assembled. One of the most critical parts of this maintenance is the cleaning of the turbine blades and subassemblies using abrasive blasting and Non Destructive testing.
Siemens and Giant Inflatables Industrial have worked together over the past 6 years developing cost effective, environmentally friendly, all weather solutions for the routine maintenance of power turbine maintenance
Abrasive blasting is used in turbine maintenance as a method of cleaning turbine and other equipment parts. Abrasive blasting creates a fortune of particulate mess as particles of the blasted surfaces widely dispersed at great pressure. In an effort to contain the blasted matter and material, the process must be completed in an enclosed space. Traditionally scaffolding would be erected and wrapped to create an enclosed environment to blast in. This method requires 2-3 days just for set-up and can cost between $7000-$10,000. Siemens began to consider alternative methods of containing their abrasive blasting to reduce the setup costs and save time required to erect their blasting enclosure as well as reduce the ongoing costs. They were also aware of the environmental issues in using the encapsulation membranes that were not reusable.
Together with their engineers we explored the issues and challenges associated with the manner in which their teams conducted their operations. We offered some ideas based on previous experiences in temporary shelters we had previously produced and techniques we used in our very successful EzyBlast portable shelters.
Based on those principals and by collaboratively exploring the pros and cons of each idea we soon designed the ultimate Blasting shelter that met all the needs. These includedÂ
The ability to be transported almost ready to deploy along with all their basing equipment in a single container.
Containment and capture of used blasting media.
Engineering certification that made their previous OHS issues of working at height ect a thing of the past
The design we brought to construction was an inflatable frame unit 7m wide x 10m long x 6m high with and encapsulating skin and removable floor. Doors would clear to allow forklift access and replaceable blast screens would line each side to protect the frame. Clever load spreading design enabled the structure to be secured by just a few concrete blocks along each side and operations in winds of up to 80km/h
With portability being a primary concern, the inflatable blast shelter can pack down to fit on a pallet and can be transported between power plants in their container. These shelters travel across Australia saving Siemens thousands of dollars and days at every power plant they maintain.
With strict Operational Health and Safety requirements at power plant sites Giant Inflatables Industrialâs shelters offer a huge advantage over traditional methods. With the advantage of requiring no rigging systems nor heavy machinery, the inflatable blast shelters can be erected simply by unpacking and connecting to the fan thereby eliminating many OH&S complications faced with traditional methods of blasting enclosures.
With an initial investment of AU$21,000 Siemens saw a return on their investment within 3Â maintenance projects. Not only did Giant inflatables Industrials blast shelter save them money, but they managed to reduce the time of their maintenance operations by up to 3 days. Using a Giant Inflatables Industrial blast shelter also reduced a multitude of OH&S issues that arose when working with scaffolding such as working at heights. Andrew Beevor, Service Operations Team Leader at Siemens explained that âFrom a health and safety perspective our jumping castle inflatable shelter is a lot better for us then the other solutions which is having guys crawling up on scaffolding up in the air somewhereâ.