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Axial Position Monitoring

Setting of Thrust Probe Voltage

Ideally, the center of the transducers linear range should correspond to the center of the rotors float zone But it is difficult to position rotor in the middle of the float So we set the rotor to one end of the float and set the voltage correspondingly. In this case, center of linear range is 10.0 V. Float is 16 mils, half of which is 8 mils. If rotor moves to one side voltage will increase or decrease by 8 x 200 mv/mil =1.6 V So when rotor is in active side set voltage to 10 + 1.6= 11.6V

Adjusting the Meter Reading

First check the calibration of the monitor independently using any DC voltage source With rotor in active side set probe voltage to 11.6 V.

Adjust the meter zero pot to bring the reading to 8 mils normal.
If the rotor is now pushed to the inactive side the meter should read 8 mils counter

Calibration of Axial Position (thrust) Monitor

Setting Alert and Danger Levels

Hot float zone will be more than the float measured in cold With +/- 8 mils float the hot float will be around +/12mils Set alarm so that some babbitt will be removed before alarm actuates about 6 mils beyond hot float or about +/- 18 mils

Danger or Trip may be set 10 mils beyond Alert or at +/- 28 mils

Axial Probe Arrangements

One at end of shaft, One at Thrust disc
Advantage If thrust collar becomes loose big difference would develop between the readings of two probes. Thrust collar probe would read same, shaft end probe reading would go up. Disadvantage If Thrust Monitor is on voting trip, it would never cause a trip even if rotor contacts stator

One Probe at Thrust Collar One at End of Shaft

Axial Probe Arrangements

Both Probes Looking at End of Shaft
Advantage Will always detect changes in axial position of rotor. If connected to trip will always prevent rotor-stator rub.

Disadvantage Will not directly detect looseness of thrust collar. However, looseness of thrust collar can be inferred indirectly from the fact that bearing temperature will not go up even when thrust position reaches alert level


Both probes observing end of shaft

Axial Probe Arrangements

Two Probes at End of Shaft, One at Thrust Collar
Best possible arrangement, will not miss anything Probe looking at Thrust disc can be used for many purposes To detect loose thrust collar To confirm bearing wear due to electrostatic shaft current To measure and analyze axial vibration

Best arrangement

Dual Axial Probes for Thrust Position Measurements

Dual Thrust Position Voting Logic

Voting Thrust Position with Temperature

Voting dual thrust position monitors have very much reduced the occurrence of false trips due to probe / proximitor / cable faults However, some plants have tried to vote thrust position with bearing temperature through an external AND gate thinking this would further improve reliability. Seems logical but can be dangerous under following circumstances

Voting Thrust Position with Temperature

There are several situations when real high axial position may not be accompanied by high bearing temperature
Loose Thrust Collar Axial load would not be transferred to thrust bearing. Bearing temperature would never increase Electrostatic discharge damage As babbitt is slowly eroded shaft would move axially but temperature would not increase much. Lost temperature indication this is much more common than thrust probe or monitor malfunction




Thrust Position V/S Thrust Bearing Temperature

During thrust bearing failure the thrust monitor would always give the first alarm before the bearing temperature monitor. If thrust position is voted with temperature, in rapid failures, this delay could mean more serious damage

Thrust Bearing temperature measurement locations

Location of thermocouples on sleeve bearing

Location of thermocouples on tilting-pad bearing