Emergency Valve Repair Helps Power Plant Meet Operational Commitments

The Niagara Falls garbage burning plant recycles waste and transforms it into usable electricity and steam energy for multiple industrial hosts nearby. That energy is generated at the plant through nine boilers and two steam turbines.

Steam conditioning valves are utilized at the plant for turbine bypass and to supplement the turbine output if customer demand is high. The existing valves were more than 50 years old and were scheduled for replacement during a spring outage with new Fisher valves and a desuperheater system.

However, before managers had a chance to put their replacement plans into action, disaster struck. One of their old valves shattered, and when the backup system came online, they realized that it was having similar problems and would likely fail within days.

This disaster recovery job required emergency work on valves for which no drawings existed and little information was available to aid engineers in better understanding the situation before the valves were opened and inspected. On top of that, the valves were not easily accessible, but still needed to be fixed as soon as possible because the entire power plant relied on those valves functioning to continue operation. An emergency valve fix meant working around the clock, and the plant needed a partner to help with these drastic efforts.

NYNE Mechanical, which has a full-service valve repair facility in Auburn, Massachusetts, and serves clients throughout New York and New England, was called to help. NYNE Mechanical has a team of engineers and technicians who are leaders in their field and backed by high quality Emerson brands. So, when it came to the plant’s valve emergency, the company was well-prepared to respond.

Plant management arranged for scaffolding to be erected so the NYNE team could access the valves in question. NYNE dispatched its mobile shop, complete with a lathe, tooling, and other necessary equipment ready for a worst-case scenario.

The company’s technicians repaired the upper and lower bonnet assemblies, which included manufacturing new bushings and replacing the welded-in water attemperator seat. The biggest challenge was to make the triple-seated valve plug hit the attemperator seat and the two steam seats inside the valve body at the same time. Without the drawings and in-depth information that are usually needed in this type of undertaking, an innovative solution was needed.

One of NYNE’s engineers came up with the idea to make a mock valve plug out of threaded rod and threaded-on valve plugs. The plugs were adjusted until all three seats hit at the same time, and then it was removed from the valve and replicated on the real valve plug. The plug also needed extensive weld repair that NYNE technicians were able to complete. The valve was reassembled, the Fisher actuator was rebuilt, and technicians then recalibrated the Fisher DVC6200 using the company’s state-of-the-art Fisher Valve Link software.

The teamwork and collaboration paid off. Once the NYNE team had finished their emergency repairs, the plant was able to continue producing energy and supplying steam distribution that Sunday night. NYNE was able to resolve the immediate crisis and did what it took to meet the customer’s needs.

NYNE is proud to offer emergency services, but its passion is to help customers avoid emergencies altogether. The company’s experts work weekends and into all hours of the night to ensure that clients’ operations aren’t negatively impacted by these types of emergency situations longer than required.

NYNE integrates all of the services involved in plant management and maintenance, so customers don’t have to contract with numerous companies. It works with the Emerson Impact Partner Network to cover valve and mechanical services, reliability, field services, control system services, instrument field services, and data collection and analysis. NYNE Mechanical is a “one-stop shop” for all plant management, strategic planning, and daily needs.

Chris Carter is general manager of NYNE Mechanical.

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