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Valve position detectors aiding power plant operations

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article image Many power plants use LVDTs for rehab jobs
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Bestech Australia  LVDTs are used to measure valve positions in steam and gas turbines in power plants.

A steam turbine in a typical power plant commonly has a minimum of four valves and measures 200-300mm in diameter while valve strokes vary anywhere between 150mm and 500mm. Of the valves being used, plant operators will have to monitor the stroke position at all times to control the process or check the functionality of the ON/OFF valves.

The two valves in four for which position must be known at all times are called the governor and throttle valves. These are modulating valves that might be 25-40% open depending on the quantity of power being generated. The power plant would usually have highly developed control algorithm that aims to increase operating efficiency and save fuel.

For a medium sized plant, a 2% efficiency improvement could mean a million dollars of fuel savings annually, which makes it a significant incentive to update and rehab a power plant. Even turbines that are 50 years old or more can still be perfectly functional if well maintained, which is why many power plants use LVDTs for doing these rehab jobs.

Macrosensors supplies suitable LVDTs with high linearity and excellent resolution for such applications. These LVDTs are available in Australia and New Zealand from Bestech Australia, which has supplied them to Siemens-Westinghouse and General Electric for their steam power plants and gas turbines.

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