Gas turbines are covered with insulating mats to enable them to retain thermal energy and avoid heating up surrounding areas. These mats need to be required to be removed and reattached in conjunction with scheduled turbine outages performed.
One power producer had their workers apply the mats in a different configuration every time which was adversely affecting the outage process due to time waste during this irregular activity. The power producer decided to make immediate improvements to its insulation procedure to achieve standardization.
Review Conventional Work Process and Management Issues
The team leader who was in charged with reviewing the plant’s existing work practices discovered both qualitative and quantitative issues with the personnel who applied insulation to gas turbine casings.
“Because the insulating mats were applied and removed by a different team each time, lessons learned were not passed on. This approach is seen as detrimental in terms of both efficiency and safety.”
However, this was not the only issue. Unable to monitor the entire work area at once, supervisors had difficulty gauging the progress of the insulation process, and were often forced to be delayed, which then affected the following processes.
Several mats were often damaged during disassembling process, necessitating the purchase of replacement mats because the work was usually rushed. Also, removing insulating mats were not organized carefully, and in worst cases, the removed mats were not properly placed back again. Because mats were not stored systematically based on their position on the turbine, it could take up to an hour to locate the correct mats.
As time ticked on, the team leader was at a loss, not knowing which efficiency or management issue to tackle first.
- THE PROBLEM
- Because the attachment and removal of the mats were performed by a different team each time, lessons learned were not passed on, jeopardizing both efficiency and safety.
- Due to difficulty in monitoring the progress of the task, ‘catch up’ efforts always came in too late.
- Several mats always got damaged during removal.
- Lacking storage management system caused loss of insulation. It took up to an hour to identify where a mat was supposed to be attached.