January 2016

DEM of Slovenia selects Brüel & Kjær Vibro for monitoring all their cascade hydropower stations

The Slovenian power company DEM (Dravske elektrarne Maribor) has awarded a contract to Brüel & Kjær Vibro for the retrofit of the two hydro-generating units at the Formin plant for machine protection and condition monitoring. The contract includes vibration, air gap and magnetic flux monitoring capability, as well as services and training.
This is the last of eight major hydropower stations on the Drava River that have been retrofit with Brüel & Kjær Vibro’s Compass 6000™ monitoring system since 2010. A centralized server was installed at the DEM Condition Monitoring headquarters in Maribor that gives remote access to all the generating units.
The Drava River hydropower stations (representing around 25% of the total energy produced in Slovenia) were commissioned from 1918 to 1978, so condition monitoring plays an important role in maximising machine uptime while reducing maintenance expenses of the aging equipment. Boštjan Gregorc, condition monitoring diagnostic specialist at DEM, summarized by saying “since Compass 6000™ was installed in 2010, maintenance has changed from time interval based to condition based. The inspection shutdown interval for the units has now been increased from 25,000 to 30,000 hours.”
Self-sufficiency of the DEM condition monitoring group in terms of diagnostics, equipment maintenance and operation and administration tasks is achieved by systematic training between each project installation. “We were able to reduce the initial capital burden while at the same time ensure that the condition monitoring tasks are optimally integrated in our operations and maintenance functions.” says Andrej Kohn, condition monitoring system specialist at DEM. “It also gives us time to build up condition monitoring experience and use this on each subsequent hydropower station as the monitoring systems are installed.”