Monday, October 31, 2016

The Importance of Scheduled Maintenance Planning in Ensuring the Efficiency of Power Plants

In our previous article, we spoke about lifecycle costs to consider when choosing a power generation system, like temporary power plants. We said that the costs include fuel, maintenance, and labor, among others. In line with our previous discussions, in this article, we’ll take a closer look at the importance of scheduled maintenance planning in ensuring the efficiency of a power plant.

Scheduled maintenance planning is a vital part of a preventive strategy that allows engineers and power plant operators to effectively plan for repairs, maintenance costs, and system downtime. A proper maintenance program should identify maximum run hours for each component in the power plant system, and also consider maintenance intervals, required spare parts, manpower, routine analysis and inspection details.

Now, let us throw the spotlight on maintenance intervals.

Maintenance intervals are the time periods between system inspection or overhauls and should be scheduled in parallel with the component run hour lifetime and operating requirements. As some engine and auxiliary parts, like fuel injection nozzles, piston rings, and bearings, are designed to be wear components, they should be regularly checked and replaced. The schedule can vary from power plant to power plant, especially if a condition-based maintenance program is utilized. Bear in mind that under condition-based maintenance program, wear components are only replaced if wear limits are exceeded or if the components exceed other replacement criteria previously set. Thus, when following a condition-based maintenance program, the lifetime of components is adjusted in consideration of operating parameters and data harvested from regular inspections.

As part of a predictive maintenance program, engineers and power plant operators should assess the component wear as observed during regular scheduled inspections. They should also record operating data on a regular basis and trend data points to provide a clear picture of any necessary adjustments in order to maximize power plant efficiency and help foresee any possible failures. If this is successfully done, this can help power plant operators mitigate the risk of unscheduled outages.

One can never overstate the importance of electricity in our world today. In almost everything that we do, we require electricity, so a constant and reliable supply of power is non-negotiable. It is, therefore, paramount for a power services provider to have an effective and well-planned preventive maintenance strategy to preclude the occurrence of unplanned power outages and ensure the efficient and cost-effective operation of a power plant.


Steffens, David. “Lifecycle Cost Considerations when Choosing a Power Generation System”. Caterpillar Power Generation Systems. February 2013.

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