Why a customer chose Bently Nevada: Solutions in a Hydro Plant

Volitile energy market demand with a small support team

The Hydro Power market in Italy has never been an easy sector for Condition Monitoring due to lower budgets being available to hydro customers compared to more traditional power generation clients. Also, the technical specifications for hydro applications typically have less stringent requirements, allowing a higher number of less qualified condition monitoring competitors to bid on projects.

This customer was first exposed to Bently Nevada solutions during the HYDRO 2015 expo in Bordeaux, France. This annual conference is a leading event for the hydropower industry:

We were able to contact the Site Leader and the Maintenance Manager of the customer’ plant, and held several meetings with the site staff, during which we came to understand that they managed machines designed for constant speed and fixed load. In the past they never felt the need for a full condition monitoring system, relying only on basic vibration switches. The plant owns four Pelton units with maximum
output of 430 MW.

They also explained to us that the hydroelectric market has been changing in recent years and, due to a much more volatile energy market demand, they now face the need to switch their machines on and off more frequently and to change loads often. The plant is currently used to supply peak energy demand only – facing three or four startups every day at intervals as short as 15 minutes. Of course, this generates more stress on the equipment and increases the probability of faults. Consequently, they now realize the need for condition monitoring systems to implement predictive maintenance practices and improve the reliability of their machines. 

Finally, they have a very small team on site (fewer than 10 people manage the full operation of the plant) and the Maintenance Manager is heavily involved in daily operations. He was looking for an advanced diagnostic solution that could support his daily activities and help him to make the required decisions.

Benefits that 3500 and System 1 are generating for a Hydro plant in northern Italy

We demonstrated the capabilities of Bently Nevada solutions to the customer. They especially appreciated the following:

• Bently Nevada extensive experience and references for Condition Monitoring Systems across different industries, including Hydropower (they had some bad experiences in the past with low cost third parties’ sensors);

• Expandability of the system to include additional applications in the future;

• Technical offering of Bently Nevada dedicated to hydro turbines: they appreciated features of the 3500/46 hydro monitor and the capability to monitor generator air gap;

• Customization of System 1.

Customized Technical Solutions

We helped the customer to select the proper Bently Nevada technical solutions customized for their needs and application and the client placed an order in 4Q17.

Next Steps

Installation planned for 1H18.


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