What is a Hydro Turbine?

Hydro turbines are devices used in hydroelectric generation plants. A hydro turbine is a rotary machine. It changes the kinetic energy of moving water and the potential energy of still water into mechanical energy. Water turbines have been in operation in their simpler forms since the eighteen hundreds. They were widely used for industrial power before electrical grids became a reality.

Today, hydro turbines are primarily used for the generation of electric power generation. This type of machinery is well advanced and requires skilled hands to operate and repair. Below we’re describing how hydro turbine repair works.

hydro turbine repair

How Do Hydro Turbines Work?

First, it’s important to note how this advanced machinery and technology works. Hydro turbines transfer the energy from moving water. The water is moved to a rotating shaft.

Hydropower plants capture the energy of falling water to generate electricity. The hydro turbine converts the kinetic energy of falling water into mechanical energy.

Next, a generator converts the mechanical energy from the hydro turbine into electrical energy.

Types of Hydro Turbines

Second, there are different types of hydro turbines used within the industry. The two main types of hydro turbines are:

Which type is used in a hydropower project depends on things like the height of standing (still) water called the “head” and the flow, or volume of the water body at the site of the hydropower plant. The choice also depends on how deep the turbine must be set, the efficiency of the turbine, and the cost.

hydro electric power plants

The Impulse Turbine

This type of hydro turbine uses the speed of the water to move the runner and discharges. The water stream hits each bucket on the runner or blade. There is no suction on the downside of the turbine. Water flows out the bottom of the turbine after hitting the runner.

The impulse turbine is best suited to the high head and low flow applications.

The Reaction Turbine

This type of hydro turbine develops power from the action of pressure and moving water working together. The runner (blade) is placed directly in the water. The stream flows over the blades instead of striking each blade individually.

Reaction turbines are used at hydroelectric plant sites where there are lower head and higher flow.

Turbines are crucial to hydropower. They may be one of two different types:  The Kaplan turbine or the Francis turbine.

  • The Kaplan turbine—the most common type—as blades made of stainless steel alloy. Martensitic stainless steel alloy is strong and thinner than the usual carbon steel alloy. This reduces weight and provides an efficient flow of water.

In a Kaplan turbine, both the blades and the wicket gates are adjustable, allowing for a wider range of operation.

  • A Francis turbine has a runner with fixed buckets or vanes. There are usually nine or more. Water is introduced just above the runner and all around it. The waterfalls through, causing the turbine to spin.

hydro electric turbines

How are Turbines Constructed?

Construction of turbines is the same—whether it is a Kaplan or a Francis turbine.

A row of blades is fitted to a rotating shaft or plate. Water passed through the turbine and over the blades, This causes the inner shaft to rotate. The rotational motion then transfers to a generator. The generator then generates electricity.

What Can Go Wrong with a Hydro Turbine?

Hydro turbine repair is difficult. For one, hydro turbines are in constant motion, parts can break or wear out. Foreign objects like tree branches and rocks and other debris can enter the turbine with the moving water and damage the blades or bearings on a hydro turbine. Turbulent water caused by high winds or storms can increase water flow to a point the turbines are stressed beyond their capacity.

Repair Issues

Hydro turbine repair is no easy undertaking. For one, hydro turbines are huge, heavy pieces of machinery. They are located in an area where they are hard to move for repairs. Moving them requires special equipment.

Hydro turbine repair on site is complicated by the size and position of the turbines. Water surrounding them is also an issue.

Hydro Turbine Repair Services

Turbine repair service companies must be able to provide complete machining services to turbine parts including hydro turbine shafts and brake rings. Companies must be able to remove old sleeves, create new sleeves, and weld them into place.

Hydro turbine service enterprises must be able to machine and polish bearing fits as well as cleaning, detailing and re-cut flange faces.

how hydro electric power works

How Can Cutting Edge Help?

When it comes to identifying and repairing hydro turbine problems, Cutting Edge has trained and experienced technicians who can use technology to find and fix any hydro turbine problems.

Moreover, Cutting Edge has materials, machinery, and professionals to deal with the large-scale projects of a hydroelectric generating plant. They have the lift capacity to extract hydro turbines from the generating plant site and transport them to a Cutting Edge repair shop.

Founded in Onalaska, Texas, Cutting Edge utilizes its 6000sf fabrication shop. There the company is able to customize machines and prepare for projects to be placed anywhere in America for its hydroelectric generating customers.

Cutting Edge makes every effort to complete repairs on site. This saves clients time and money. Every second a hydro turbine is inactive results in lost revenue for the company. Reducing repair and transport time is a bonus. Thanks to modern technology, our knowledgeable technicians can often manufacture new sector cores, rehab bearings, and repair or replace specific hydro turbine parts right on site.

Knowledgeable Hydro Turbine Repair

Our company boasts some of the most experienced and technically-advanced machinists in the industry. Using our state-of-the-art machining equipment, we aim to complete every project safely, on time, and with unparalleled quality. Cutting Edge is highly sensitive to and reactive to the needs of its clients. The company works hard to build satisfying long-term relationships with its clients. No job is too large or small for Cutting Edge. They specialize in everything from simple hydro turbine maintenance projects to large-scale, challenging new design and repair projects.

Cutting Edged is committed to ensuring that their company will be the first—and only—business you call when hydro turbine repairs and replacement parts are required. Contact us for more information.

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