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Title:
METHOD OF ON-LINE AUTOMATIC GENERATOR CORE THROUGH-BOLT TENSIONING
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2014/172085
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A generator stator core (10) that includes a plurality of through-bolts (20) extending through the stator core. Each through-bolt includes a threaded end on which is positioned a conical washer (32) and a through-bolt nut (30), where the through-bolt nuts are tightened against the washers to compress laminate plates (14) and hold the stator core together. The stator core further includes a through-bolt tension monitoring system including a fiber Bragg grating sensor (36) mounted to one or more of the conical washers and being provided in at least one optical fiber. The monitoring system further includes a monitoring device providing an optical signal to each of the fiber Bragg grating sensors and receiving a reflected signal from the fiber Bragg grating sensors where the reflected signal provides an indication of strain on the washer to provide an indication of how tight the nut is on the through-bolt.

Inventors:
TWERDOCHLIB MICHAEL (US)
THOMPSON EDWARD DAVID (US)
DIATZIKIS EVANGELOS V (US)
Application Number:
US2014/032018
Publication Date:
October 23, 2014
Filing Date:
March 27, 2014
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
SIEMENS ENERGY INC (US)
International Classes:
B23P19/06; F16B31/02; H02K11/00; G01B11/16; G01D5/353; G01L1/24; G01L5/24; G01R31/34; G02B6/02
Domestic Patent References:
WO2011019318A12011-02-17
Foreign References:
US20120026482A12012-02-02
US8139905B12012-03-20
US20070113672A12007-05-24
US20120274334A12012-11-01
US5222399A1993-06-29
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RYAN, Daniel J. et al. (170 Wood Avenue SouthIselin, New Jersey, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A generator stator core comprising:

a plurality of circular plates positioned adjacent to each other to form a stator column;

a plurality of through-bolts circumferentially disposed around the stator column and extending through the circular plates from one end of the column to an opposite end of the column, each through-bolt including a threaded end on which is positioned a conical washer and a through-bolt nut, wherein the through-bolt nuts on the through-bolts are tightened against the washers to compress the circular plates and hold the stator column together; and

a through-bolt tension monitoring system including a fiber Bragg grating sensor for each through-bolt, each fiber Bragg grating sensor provided in at least one optical fiber and being mounted to the conical washer, said system further including a monitoring device providing an optical signal to each of the fiber Bragg grating sensors and receiving a reflected signal from the fiber Bragg grating sensors where the reflected signal provides an indication of strain on the washer to provide an indication of how tight the nut is on the through-bolt.

2. The stator core according to claim 1 wherein the fiber Bragg grating sensor is positioned on an inside surface of the washer.

3. The stator core according to claim 1 wherein the fiber Bragg grating sensor is positioned on an outside surface of the washer.

4. The stator core according to claim 1 wherein all of the fiber Bragg grating sensors are provided in a single optical fiber.

5. The stator core according to claim 1 wherein each fiber Bragg grating sensor for each through-bolt is provided in a separate optical fiber.

6. The stator core according to claim 1 further comprising at least one temperature Bragg grating sensor provided in the at least one optical fiber and providing an indication of temperature to the monitoring device.

7. The stator core according to claim 1 wherein the monitoring device is positioned out of the stator core environment.

8. The stator core according to claim 1 wherein the monitoring device is positioned within the stator core environment.

9. A system for monitoring tension on one or more through-bolts extending through and compressing laminate plates of a generator stator core, each through-bolt including a through-bolt nut that is threaded onto the through- bolt against the nut, wherein at least one of the through-bolts includes a conical washer that the through-bolt nut is tightened against, said system comprising:

at least one fiber Bragg grating sensor mounted to the conical washer of a through-bolt and being provided in at least one optical fiber; and a monitoring device providing an optical signal to the at least one fiber Bragg grating sensor and receiving a reflected signal from the fiber Bragg grating sensor that provides an indication of strain on the washer to provide an indication of how tight the nut is on the through-bolt.

10. The system according to claim 9 wherein each through-bolt includes a fiber Bragg grating sensor.

11. The system according to claim 10 wherein all of the fiber Bragg grating sensors are provided in a single optical fiber.

12. The system according to claim 10 wherein each fiber Bragg grating sensor for each through-bolt is provided in a separate optical fiber.

13. The system according to claim 9 wherein the at least one fiber Bragg grating sensor is positioned on an inside surface of the washer.

14. The system according to claim 9 wherein the at least one fiber Bragg grating sensor is positioned on an outside surface of the washer.

15. The system according to claim 9 further comprising at least one temperature Bragg grating sensor provided in the at least one opticai fiber and providing an indication of temperature to the monitoring device.

16. The system according to claim 9 wherein the monitoring device is positioned out of the stator core environment.

17. The system according to claim 9 wherein the monitoring device is positioned within the stator core environment.

18. A generator stator core comprising:

a plurality of laminate plates positioned adjacent to each other to form a stator column;

a plurality of through-bolts circumferentially disposed around the stator column and extending through the laminate plates from one end of the column to an opposite end of the column, each through-bolt including a threaded end on which is positioned a through-bolt nut, wherein the through-bolt nuts on the through-bolts are tightened to compress the circular plates and hold the stator column together, and wherein at least one of the through-bolts includes a conical washer that the through-bolt nut is tightened against; and

a through-bolt tension monitoring system including at least one fiber Bragg grating sensor for at least one of the through-bolts where the through bolt that includes a fiber Bragg grating sensor also includes a conical washer, wherein the at least one fiber Bragg grating sensor is provided in at least one optical fiber and being mounted to the conical washer, said system further including a monitoring device providing an optical signal to the at least one fiber Bragg grating sensor and receiving a reflected signal from the at least one fiber Bragg grating sensor where the reflected signal provides an indication of strain on the washer to provide an indication of how tight the nut is on the through-bolt.

19. The stator core according to claim 18 wherein each through-bolt includes a conical washer and a fiber Bragg grating sensor.

20. The stator core according to claim 18 wherein the at least one fiber Bragg grating sensor is positioned on an inside surface or an outside surface of the washer.

Description:
METHOD OF ON-LINE AUTOMATIC GENERATOR CORE THROUGH-BOLT

TENSIONING

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Field of the Invention

[0001] This invention relates generally to a system and method for determining the tension on a through-bolt in a generator stator core and, more particularly, to a system and method for determining the tension on a through- bolt in a generator stator core that employs a fiber Bragg grating sensor mounted to a conical washer positioned on the through-bolt and against a tightening nut.

Discussion of the Related Art

[0002] High voltage generators for generating electricity as a power source are well known in the art. A power plant may include gas turbine engines that each rotate a shaft by combusting fuel and air in a combustion chamber that expands across blades which rotate, and in turn causes the shaft to rotate. The output shaft of such an engine is coupled to an input shaft of a high voltage generator that is mounted to a rotor having a special configuration of coils. An electrical current provided in the rotor coils generates a magnetic flux around the coils, and as the rotor rotates, the magnetic flux interacts with windings in a stator core enclosing the rotor. The stator core windings include interconnected stator bars that have a special configuration to reduce eddy currents in the core, which would otherwise generate significant heat and possibly damage various generator components.

[0003] Stacked laminate plates in a stator core of this type are closely held together and compressed for proper operation of the generator to provide tight gas flow channels and the necessary sealing. During assembly of the generator, the laminate plates and stator bars are assembled in a vertical manner by sliding the components onto several circumferentia!ly oriented bolts. For a typical generator, there may be sixty of these through-bolts, where the stator core may be about thirty feet long. [0004] Once the stator core is in service and operating, it has an elevated temperature and is subject to vibrations and other stresses during normal generator operation. These forces and temperatures cause the various metal materials in the stator core to loosen so that, for example, the laminate plates are not as tightly packed and compressed as desired. Therefore, it is desirable to tighten the nuts on the bolts holding the stator core together to hold the plates in the desired state of compression. In order to tighten the bolts on the stator core, the generator needs to be taken out of service and disassembled, which is a complex and costly process. During maintenance of the generator, a technician will rotate the nuts using a torque wrench to ensure that the bolts are under the desired compression. However, because such a maintenance service on a generator is performed only periodically due to the costs involved, the generator may be operating without the desired compression in the core for extended periods of time. Also, the torque wrenches that are used for this purpose are not overly accurate in that the torque measurement provided by the wrench is subject to the friction of the nut on the threads.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] In accordance with the teachings of the present invention, a generator stator core is disclosed that includes a plurality of circular plates positioned adjacent to each other to form a stator column and a plurality of through-bolts circumferential disposed around the stator column and extending through the circular plates from one end of the column to an opposite end of the column. Each through-bolt includes a threaded end on which is positioned a conical washer and a through-bolt nut, where the through-bolt nuts are tightened against the washers to compress the circular plates and hold the stator column together. The stator core further includes a through-bolt tension monitoring system including a fiber Bragg grating sensor mounted to one or more of the conical washers and being provided in at least one optical fiber. The monitoring system further includes a monitoring device providing an optical signal to each of the fiber Bragg grating sensors and receiving a reflected signal from the fiber Bragg grating sensors where the reflected signal provides an indication of strain on the washer to provide an indication of how tight the nut is on the through-bolt.

[0006] Additional features of the present invention will become apparent from the following description and appended claims, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0007] Figure 1 is a cut-away, perspective view of a stator core for a high voltage generator;

[0008] Figure 2 is a side view of one of the through-bolts extending through stator core plates and showing a fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensor for measuring the tension on the through-bolt;

[0009] Figure 3 is schematic block diagram of a fiber Bragg grating detection system;

[0010] Figure 4 is a schematic block diagram of a tightening system for tightening a nut on a through-bolt in a stator core;

[0011] Figure 5 is a cut-away side view of a through-bolt extending through the stator core shown in figure 2 and including a socket driver for automatically tightening the nut; and

[0012] Figure 6 is a cut-away front view of a through-bolt extending through the stator core shown in figure 2 and including a worm gear driver for automatically tightening the nut.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

[0013] The following discussion of the embodiments of the invention directed a system and method for determining the tension on a through-bolt in a generator stator core using a fiber Bragg grating sensor mounted to a conical washer is merely exemplary in nature, and is in no way intended to limit the invention or its applications or uses.

[0014] Figure 1 is a cut-away perspective view of a stator core 10 for a high voltage generator. The stator core 10 includes a magnetic cylindrical portion 12 formed by an assembly of stacked thin, iron laminate plates 14 aligned by key rods 16 and defining an internal bore 18. A series of through- bolts 20 extend through the laminate plates 14 to compress and hold the plates 14 to form the cylindrical portion 12. The combined laminate plates 14 define a series of circumferentially positioned slots 22 that are open to the bore 18 and define stator core teeth 24 therebetween.

[0015] Figure 2 is a broken-away side view of a portion of the stator core 10 showing one of the through-bolts 20 extending through the plates 14. A through-bolt nut 30 is threaded onto an end of the through-bolt 20 against a conical washer 32, such as a Belleville washer. As the nut 30 is tightened onto the through-bolt 20 it applies pressure against the washer 32 and against an insulating washer 34, which causes the washer 32 to flex and compress, and thus, become less convex. Flexing of the washer 32 induces a strain on the washer 32 that can be measured by a strain measuring device. In this example, the strain measuring device includes an FBG sensor 36 formed in an optical fiber 38. As will be discussed in further detail below, optical signals reflected by the FBG sensor 36 are detected by a measurement system 40 provided outside of the stator core environment that provides an indication of the strain on the washer 32, which can be calibrated to provide an indication of how tight the nut 30 is on the through-bolt 20. Although the FBG sensor 38 is shown on the inside surface of the washer 32, in an alternate embodiment, the FBG sensor 36 can be provided on an outside surface of the washer 32.

[0016] The optical fiber 38 can be mounted to a surface of the plate 14, or other stator core structure, by any technique suitable for the purposes discussed herein, such as by a suitable high temperature epoxy or ceramic cement. Alternately, the optical fiber 38 can be embedded within the plate 14 by epoxying the fiber 38 into holes drilled in the plate 14 or by epoxying the fiber 38 into small trenches machined in the plate 14.

[0017] In one embodiment, there can be a single optical fiber that includes a plurality of the FBG sensors 36 positioned along the fiber 38, where each sensor 36 is mounted to a different conical washer 32 for each through- bolt 20 in the core 10. In an alternate embodiment, there can be a separate optical fiber including one of the FBG sensors 36 for each of the through-bolts 20 in the core 10, Because changes in temperature produce a small strain on the washer 32, a second FBG (not shown) can be provided in the fiber 38, or a second fiber including an FBG sensor can be provided, to measure the strain produced by temperature changes, which can then be subtracted out.

[0018] It is known in the art to employ fiber Bragg gratings (FBG) as sensors to measure strain, vibration and temperature for various applications. FBG sensors measure strain on an optical fiber at the Bragg grating location. This strain slightly alters the spacing of reflective grating lines in the FBG, thus affecting its reflective property. A broadband infrared (IR) signal is transmitted through the optical fiber to the FBG sensor. The degree of strain on the FBG sensor is measured by the wavelength of the IR radiation that is reflected from the FBG. As the strain spans the fiber Bragg lines, the wavelength of the reflected light is increased proportionately. As many as a hundred of such measurements can be provided on a single optical fiber by appropriately setting the spacing between the Bragg grating lines to prevent overlap in the wavelength of the reflected IR light from each Bragg grating. Such FBG systems can also operate in a transmission mode.

[0019] Figure 3 is a schematic type diagram of an FBG detection system 50 of the type discussed above and including an FBG sensor 52 formed in a section of an optical fiber 54. The optical fiber 54 includes an optical fiber core 56 surrounded by an outer cladding layer 58. The index of refraction of the cladding layer 58 is greater than the index of refraction of the fiber core 56 so that a light beam propagating down the fiber core 56 is reflected off of the transition between the fiber core 56 and the cladding layer 58 and is trapped therein. In one embodiment, the fiber core 56 is about 10 μm in diameter, which provides a multi-mode fiber for propagating multiple optical modes. The FBG sensor 52 is provided in the optical fiber 54 by creating an FBG 62 using a suitable optical writing process to provide a periodic pattern of sections 64 in the fiber core 56, where the sections 64 have a higher index of refraction than the rest of the fiber core 56, but a lower index of refraction than the cladding layer 58. For example, the index of refraction n 3 of the sections 64 is greater than the index of refraction n 2 of the fiber core 58 and the index of refraction n 3 of the sections 64 is less than the index of refraction n 1 of the cladding iayer 58. Several more FBG sensors 66 are depicted in the optical fiber 54 and are selectively designed to provide the spacing between the grating sections so that they reflect a different wavelength of light than all of the other FBG sensors in the fiber 54.

[0020] As mentioned above, a change in temperature of an FBG will change the spacing of the sections 54 in the FBG that alters the wavelength of the reflected signal. Based on this phenomenon, it is known to use FBG sensors to measure temperature to provide a temperature calibration. For example, one of the other FBG sensors 66 can be used as a sensor that provides the temperature strain measurement.

[0021] As is known by those skilled in the art, the FBG 62 can be selectively designed so that the index of refraction n 2 of the fiber core 56, the index of refraction n 3 of the sections 64, and the spacing Λ between the sections 64 define which wavelength λ B is reflected by the FBG sensor 52 based on equation (1 ) below.

[0022] The system 50 also includes a circuit 68 that generates the optical input signal and detects the reflected signal from the one or more FBG sensors. The circuit 68 includes a broadband light source 70 that generates a light beam 72 that is passed through an optical coupler 74 and is directed into and propagates down the optical fiber 54 towards the FBG sensor 52. The light that is reflected by the FBG sensor 52 propagates back through the optical fiber 54 and is directed by the optical coupler 74 to a dispersive element 78 that distributes the various wavelengths components of the reflected beam to different locations on a linear charge-coupled device (CCD) sensor 76, or some other suitable optical detector array, such as a Bragg oscilloscope. A system of optical filters can also be used to reduce system cost, while limiting the number of FBG sensors on the fiber 54. By providing the broadband source 70 and the dispersive element 78, more than one reflected wavelength λ B can be detected by the CCD sensor 76, which allows more than one of the FBG sensors 52 to be provided within the fiber 54.

[0023] As discussed above, the nuts 30 that are threaded onto the through-bolts 20 loosen over time during operation of the stator core 10, which may cause an undesirable loss of compression between the plates 14. A specialized configuration of the detection system 50 can use the FBG sensor 36 to detect the strain on the washer 32 to provide an indication of how tight the nut 30 is on the through-bolt 20. As will be discussed below, the present invention proposes an automatic nut and bolt tightening system that monitors the strain on the washer 32 using the FBG sensor 36, and if the tension on the through-bolt 20 falls below a predetermined threshold, automatically tightens the nut 30 while the stator core 10 is in service, which prevents it from being necessary to tighten the nut 30 when the core 10 is down for maintenance. The processing circuitry of the detection system can be provided outside of the working environment of the stator core 10, where optical fibers will be connected to the processing circuitry to provide the optical input signal and the reflected Bragg signals, and electrical lines can be used to control the nut tightener within the stator core 10. Although the discussion herein is specific to only one of the through-bolts 20 in the stator core 10, it is to be understood that each of the many through-bolts 20 in the stator core 10 will include a separate FBG sensor for measuring the strain on each washer 32 and a separate nut tightener will be provided for each of the several through-bolts 20. Also, as mentioned, a separate FBG sensor can be provided to measure strain as a result of temperature, where it may be necessary to only include a single FBG sensor for the entire stator core 10 for that purpose.

[0024] Figure 4 is a general representation of a strain detection and nut tightening system 90 that performs the through-bolt tightening operation discussed above, where a nut 92 represents the nut 30. An FBG sensor 94 is shown on or proximate to the nut 92, and provides an opticai reflected Bragg signal indicating the strain on the washer 32, or otherwise, and thus the tightness of the nut 92 or the through-bolt 20 to a processor 98. The processor 96 converts the optical signal to an indication of the tightness of the nut 92 and compares that tightness to a predetermined tension threshold to determine whether the nut 92 needs to be tightened. If the processor 98 determines that the nut 92 does need to be tightened, it sends a signal to a tensioner 98 that rotates the nut 30 to provide the desired tension and compression. As the tensioner 98 is tightening the nut 92, the strain on the washer 32 will increase, which is measured by the FBG sensor 94 to provide a feedback signal to the processor 96 that can tell the tensioner 98 when to stop tightening the nut 92.

[0025] In one embodiment, the processor 96 is positioned outside of the stator core environment, and as such is not subject to the internal heat and vibration generated by the core 10. Alternately, the processor 96 can be provided inside the enclosure of the generator to limit the number of lines going into and out of the sealed stator core environment.

[0026] The present invention accommodates any suitable technique for automatically tightening the nut 30 consistent with the discussion herein. Figure 5 is the broken-away side view of the stator core 10 shown in figure 2 and including a socket driver 100 for rotating the nut 30 in response to the strain measurement signals processed by the measurement system 40. In this embodiment, the FBG sensor 36 is shown positioned on an outer surface of the washer 32. Particularly, if the measurement system 40 determines that the strain on the washer 32 has fallen below a predetermined threshold, the measurement system 40 provides a control signal to the socket driver 100 to tighten the nut 30. The driver 100 includes a drive shaft 102 that rotates a socket 104 enclosing and grabbing the nut 30. As the nut 30 is being tightened, the strain signal from the FBG sensor 38 tells the measurement system 40 when to stop the driver 100 from rotating the nut 30.

[0027] Figure 6 is the broken-away side view of the stator core 10 shown in figure 2 and including a worm-gear driver 1 10 for providing the through-bolt tensioning. In this embodiment, the nut 30 is replaced with a nut 112 including outer gear teeth 114. The driver 110 includes a drive shaft 116 that drives a worm gear 118 in mesh engagement with the gear teeth 1 14, as shown. When the driver 110 receives a control signal from the measurement system 40 to tighten the nut 112, it rotates the shaft 116 to cause the worm gear 118 to turn the nut 112.

[0028] The drivers 100 and 1 10 can use any suitable power source for tightening the respective nut. For example, that power source can be hydraulic, pneumatic, electrical, etc. The system can be designed to use a minimal amount of power to rotate the nut where a lower amount of power may require more time to provide the nut tightening.

[0029] The foregoing discussion discloses and describes merely exemplary embodiments of the present invention. One skilled in the art will readily recognize from such discussion, and from the accompanying drawings and claims, that various changes, modifications and variations can be made therein without departing from the scope of the invention as defined in the following claims.