How FreeScan Combo 3D Scanner Improves Hydro Turbine Inspection and Repair Efficiency

January 24, 2024

Since its construction, the Ecuadorian hydropower plant Central Coca Codo Sinclair has been looking for an efficient and cost-effective solution to streamline the inspection and repair of hydro turbine. Recently, they began experimenting with the SHINING 3D’s FreeScan Combo 3D scanner.

Client: Central Coca Codo Sinclair Hydropower Plant
Location: Ecuador
Need: Efficient, cost-saving hydro turbine inspection and repair
Solution: SHINING 3D’s FreeScan Combo 3D scanner
● Lower total cost of inspection and repair
● Increased efficiency of inspection and repair

The Hydro turbine to be repaired in Central Coca Codo Sinclair.
Hydro Turbine

About Central Coca Codo Sinclair

Central Coca Codo Sinclair is Ecuador’s largest and most crucial hydropower plant. It generates at least one-fifth of the country’s electricity each year. Central Coca Codo Sinclair has a total of eight turbines. And they activate turbines differently depending on the volume of water. When the water is low, the system starts 1-2 turbines and when the water is high, the system starts 3-4 turbines.

Central Coca Codo Sinclair

Challenges in Routine Repair

In day-to-day use, the turbine blades become slightly worn from sand and gravel in about one month. By the third month of use, they need to be repaired. So, Central Coca Codo Sinclair sends the turbines to the Center for Research and Recovery of Turbines and Industrial Parts (CIRT) in Chile or Ecuador for repairs at three-month intervals. However, transporting the turbines back and forth was costly and time-consuming for Central Coca Codo Sinclair. The need for a better solution led Central Coca Codo Sinclair to explore more advanced 3D scanning technologies. They wanted something more efficient and cost-effective.

Wear and tear of hydro turbine

Central Coca Codo Sinclair contacted BSTARTECHNOLOGY S.A, distributor of SHINING 3D, and they introduced the FreeScan Combo 3D scanner. After a demonstration, they agreed that it was a cost-effective solution. It improved the efficiency of turbine blade inspection and repair.

The FreeScan Combo 3D scanner and scanning software
FreeScan Combo and software

Hydro Turbine Inspection with 3D Scanner

BSTAR was able to provide scanning services to Central Coca Codo Sinclair. The FreeScan Combo is lightweight, weighing only 630g, so BSTAR technicians can easily carry it to the hydropower plant for scanning. In addition, the FreeScan Combo allows technicians to easily scan in narrow spaces between turbine blades because of its compact size. As a result, Central Coca Codo Sinclair saved a lot of money on transporting the turbines.

A technician is performing a 3D scan of a hydro turbine.
3D scanning hydro turbine
The FreeScan Combo 3D scanner allows technicians to easily scan in narrow spaces between turbine blades because of its compact size.
3D scanning in narrow space

The inspection process begins with a technician using the FreeScan Combo to perform a precise 3D scan of the turbine blades. In laser scanning mode, the FreeScan Combo can acquire 1.86 million points per second. It scans faster than the scanner previously used by BSTAR, which could acquire 0.86 million points per second in multiple lines scan mode. Along with its fast scanning speed, the FreeScan Combo also offers smoothness as it is able to achieve frame rates of more than 120 frames per second.

For large objects like turbines, the FreeScan Combo’s multiple lines scan mode can help quickly acquire global data. Using the parallel lines scan mode on areas of the blade that have wear and tear can acquire more detailed data. This can help determine the extent of wear and make more accurate repairs.

Data from hydro turbine blades scanned with FreeScan Combo.
3D data for hydro turbine inspection

Hydro Turbine Repair and Verification

SMI company is now carrying out turbine repairs for Central Coca Codo Sinclair. To ensure the repair is effective, the turbine blades are scanned a second time. Then, the scanned data is compared to that of a brand-new blade. A tolerance of no more than 2 millimeters is required.

In conclusion, Central Coca Codo Sinclair inspects and repairs turbines with the help of BSTAR. They have a complete and smooth process in place, using a 3D scanner. This process has resulted in significant efficiency and cost savings for Central Coca Codo Sinclair. The plant no longer needs to spend time and money transporting equipment off-site. And the FreeScan Combo’s high accuracy ensures the data quality required for repair work.

Do you want to improve the efficiency of hydro turbine inspection and repair with the help of advanced 3D scanning technology? Our solutions can help you do that with a cost-effective advantage. Reach out to our application specialists for a free, non-binding consultation now!