Substantial cost-saving solutions: $500,000/site
Paragon has long-standing relationships with many utilities, built from years of providing hard-to-find components, outage support, and general sourcing solutions.
One such utility approached the Paragon team to find a source for existing Woodward governor parts (the governors are used to control the speed of a turbine). The plant site was a two-unit site with only one unit operating, and over the years, the operating plant had salvaged parts from the other unit. When the plant decided to restart the second unit, it was discovered that several of the Woodward governor parts on the Terry turbine were obsolete.
The utility wanted to use identical controls within the two plants. However, the OEM developed a digital controller and discontinued support of the installed equipment. Discovering there was a depletion of available parts in the surplus market, the Paragon Instrumentation & Control Lab (I&C) pursued reverse engineering of the critical Woodward parts.
In order to begin this process, previously used and qualified Woodward parts were obtained from the utility and from our expansive warehouse for use as specimens for the reverse engineering and replication process.
Engineering and design are key drivers
We chose to reverse engineer and replicate the original controls to support the customer. The reverse engineering process involves redrawing a system schematic by tracing every electrical connection of the sample, identifying all of the discrete components, generating Gerber files to manufacture circuit boards, measuring mechanical components, composing manufacturing drawings, analysis of electrical and mechanical components, procuring necessary parts, assembling, and testing. At the conclusion of testing a successful prototype, engineering equivalency reports and dedication plans are generated and submitted to the customer for their approval.
Although this is a single example of the many configurations of this EGM box, Paragon’s I&C Lab has repaired many of these controls in addition to converting one configuration to another.
Creative solutions as the process continues
Another component that comprises the governor control system is the ramp generator and signal converter. The replicated version performs identically to the original version.
This customer also needed a manual speed controller, but unfortunately, a sample could not be located for reverse engineering. Instead, our I&C Lab used customer photos and OEM drawings to manufacture and qualify (both electrically and seismically) a controller to fit the application.
An overspeed monitor was the final component necessary to complete the control system. The unit was obsolete and was reverse-engineered using a sample from our warehouse. The OEM enclosure was originally cast out of aluminum and we determined it was more economical to manufacture the enclosure out of aluminum block. Paragon generated a manufacturing drawing and had the enclosure manufactured to within 5% of the weight of the original enclosure.
Just one example of Paragon’s reverse engineering solutions
In addition to solving the utility’s obsolescence issue, Paragon has the ability to supply new reverse engineered Woodward governor components for other nuclear and non-nuclear utilities around the world. The Woodward governor components are a small example of the team’s reverse engineered and manufactured products I&C Lab capabilities.
Several utilities have addressed the obsolete part issues for the Woodward governor system by modifying their entire governor control system with an OEM digital upgrade. However, these modifications may take years to implement. Paragon supports the original analog control system until such upgrades are improved and installed.
This is just another example of the innovative solutions offered to our customers to maintain the safe operations of the nuclear plant fleets worldwide – and in this case, Paragon saves utilities $500,000/site with the Woodward governor reverse-engineered solution.