Hydroelectric industry


Refurbishing a Kaplan turbine Precision machining

Refurbishing a Kaplan turbine

Client : A leading supplier in hydraulic energy production

A sizeable problem

Hired to refurbish one of the Kaplan turbines at a hydro-electric power plant in Eastern Canada, our client had two options: spread the work among several suppliers or find one trustworthy supplier who could do all the refurbishing work on a 6-meter-diameter turbine with more than 100 components, all on a strict deadline.

FAB 3R’s capacity for over-sized equipment, shop and machines made us the obvious choice.

Our other huge advantage? We could handle all the parts ourselves. Our client didn’t have to worry about managing several different suppliers, greatly simplifying project logistics.

A big challenge…

For FAB 3R, the biggest challenge wasn’t taking apart, inspecting and refurbishing the over-sized parts—after all, that’s what we do best every day!—it was the huge number of parts, and the coordination handling them required.

With more than 100 parts shipped to our facility in just one week, we had to manage our resources—and space!—wisely and efficiently. All the more so since we had to ship the parts back to our client fewer than five months later.

After the welding, machining, sanding, painting and mechanical assembly were done, FAB 3R also had to make sure the parts met requirements before shipping them to the power plant. So we conducted various tests, which was a whole other challenge in some cases! For example, we had to ensure the runner would work in its normal operating conditions to made it easier to install at the plant and to get it back up and running. This meant our team had to design and implement all the sub-systems needed to test the enormous 5.6-meter-diameter part at FAB 3R’s facility.

…overcome successfully!

Thanks to our team’s experience, organization and ingenuity, FAB 3R delivered the parts on time, even though some engineering instructions were slow in coming.

Despite the significant challenges caused by the wear and misalignment of the parts, FAB 3R was able to refurbish all of them, with its customary high-precision machining to within ten thousandths of an inch, for both dimensions and geometry.

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