Gas turbine lubricant varnish removal


Lubricant is a bloodline for a body of a machine, and it becomes even more crucial when it comes to turbomachinery. As per studies conducted by SKF, over 50% of bearing failures are the result of improper lubrication.

 Varnishing is a widespread problem in Gas Turbine’s Mineral based lubricant, which if left unidentified and unattended, can lead to major damages, along with extended downtime. Unfortunately, varnish issues cannot be properly addressed by conventional filtration processes, even lubricant replacements would not be a proper fix.

Several technologies in market proclaims to be the solution but many of them have limitations and lacks efficacy. Industries have spent millions in terms of manhours, spares and consumables along with downtime losses but never reached a proper fix.

Varnishing issue was detected by at our site on GE Frame 9E Machines. Site team proactively implemented the GE TIL- 1528-3 and carried out a successful project including elimination and early prevention.

Key elements to success were Intime identification, strategic decision making, effective resource planning, proactive approach and last but not the least management support.
Project highlights are; lube analysis and fault Diagnosis, study of solutions, feasibility review, budget approval from management, comparison of alternates, product selection, lab scale treatment, users feedback, installation pre-requisites, installation, commissioning, startup, product training to team, lubricant sampling, filters replacement, successful varnish removal and results verification by third party.

Lubricant of a turbomachinery should be treated as a capital asset rather than a consumable item and should be taken care of with a greater focus to maintain asset integrity.