Protective coating for water turbines
The demand for energy is constantly increasing, driven by population growth and increasing prosperity in emerging countries. One of the most environmentally-friendly types of energy generation is the use of hydropower – using run-of-river hydropower plants placed directly in the river course which constantly generate power, or pump-storage power plants (e.g. reservoirs), which are used to store energy for release upon demand – a function of ever increasing importance.
Decisive factor: Economic efficiency
Power plant operators are focused on ever higher turbine economic efficiency, through extended useful lifetime, longer inspection cycles and higher efficiency. At the same time, a growing number of new waterways, previously deemed too inaccessible, are now being tapped – often highly sandy rivers or waters with high head. Wear protection for individual power plant components is thus a key factor for the success of these projects.
Specialists for all cases
Oerlikon Metco provided the first coatings for Francis turbines in the 1930’s, and, since the 1980’s, has protected thousands of turbine runners in hydropower plants throughout the world with its thermal spray coatings, which can be up to 400 μm (0.4 mm) thick. The coatings are individually tailored – they are dependent on machine design, precise operating mode and specific operation conditions.
Oerlikon Balzers is, then again, a specialist for extremely thin PVD coatings. Not just cutting tools used to manufacture turbine parts are coated with BALINIT, but also bearings or valves in the overall system. The goal of both applications is to reduce wear caused by friction and thereby to increase efficiency.
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