The potential for savings provided to worldwide operators of industrial gas turbines, by transitioning from the current standard of interval-based maintenance to condition-based maintenance may be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. In addition, the operational flexibility that may be obtained by knowing the historical and current condition of life-limiting components will enable more efficient use of industrial gas turbine resources, with less risk of unplanned outages as a result of off-parameter operations. To date, it has been impossible to apply true condition-based maintenance to industrial gas turbines because the extremely harsh operating conditions in the heart of a gas turbine preclude using the necessary advanced sensor systems to monitor the machine’s condition continuously. Siemens, Rove Technical Services, and Arkansas Power Electronics International are working together to develop a potentially industry-changing technology to build smart, self-aware engine components that incorporate embedded, harsh-environment-capable sensors and high temperature capable wireless telemetry systems for continuously monitoring component condition in the hot gas path turbine sections. The approach involves embedding sensors on complex shapes, such as turbine blades, embedding wireless telemetry systems in regions with temperatures that preclude the use of conventional silicon-based electronics, and successfully transmitting the sensor information from an environment very hostile to wireless signals. The results presented will include those from advanced, harsh environment sensor and wireless telemetry component development activities. In addition, results from laboratory and high temperature rig and spin testing will be discussed.

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