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Pressure Plate Manufacturing

When a utility decides to remove a row of buckets from a turbine rotor it may become necessary to install a stationary component called a pressure plate. A plate takes the place of the missing row of buckets but creates a similar pressure drop across that stage in the turbine.  Although there is a significant loss of efficiency the turbine can still operate at reduced output. Pressure plates are typically installed only as a temporary fix until the issues that mandated the removal of the buckets are addressed.  

When a turbine owner needs pressure plates they are typically managing an emergency situation.  During the majority of cases, the turbine's original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is involved in recommending a course of action.  If pressure plates are needed, an engineering team will evaluate the steam path, flow area, dimensional fits within the turbine casing and so forth.  The result of this analysis is a manufacturing print used to manufacture a custom pressure plate.

K Machine is an approved manufacturer of pressure plates for most large steam turbine OEMs in the US. The OEMs come to us for several reasons. First; We've been successfully making pressure plates on an emergency basis for many years.  Second; We can make plates quickly. Third; We have exceptional knowledge of "turbine diaphragm manufacturing", which is enormously beneficial and directly applicable to making these plates. Finally, we can meet the very tight tolerances needed to make even the largest nuclear and fossil pressure plates.

The plates shown in the photos on the right we made on an emergency basis.  They started out as 22,000 lb solid plates of  FS516 Grade 70.  We completed manufacture and delivery to site in 30 days. All machining was done at our facility in Savannah.  The project was directed by Ross Randall, Operations Manager.