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Origin Energy's big shutdown required a big inflatable

Supplier: Giant Inflatables By: Aryn Abramowitch
19 October, 2017

Re-engineering and designing inflatable air technology to create a simple, cost effective and time saving solution to Darling Downs power stations most complex maintenance task.

September marked shut down time for Origin Energy’s Darling Downs power plant, the largest combined cycle gas fired and steam turbine power station in the country. Opened for commercial operations in 2010, darling downs supplies 644MW of electricity and is considered one of the largest and cleanest baseload power stations in Australia.

Darling Downs runs three 120MW GE frame 9E gas turbines and one 270 MW steam turbines to power over 400,000 homes in QLD. September’s full station shut down sent the power station into a maintenance frenzy with hundreds of workers and contractors working together to run maintenance on everything from the wires to the turbines themselves. One of the largest pieces of equipment on the site, the gas turbine, was in need of maintenance and cleaning. Weighing in at over 5 tonnes the turbine was in need of a large blasting shelter that would allow blasting contractors to work in a fully contained working environment. Traditional methods of creating this blasting shelter would require over a week to set up such a large enclosed work space and another week for pack up, costing tens of thousands of dollars in both time and set up costs. With both time and money being critical to the shut down, Origin energy required a cost effective and most importantly time effective way to blast their gas turbine.

Giant Inflatables Industrial and their world leading team of industrial designers went to work to create a cost effective and rapidly deployable blasting shelter for Origin Energy. To blast the turbine it is required that it be lifted by crane off its dolly and lowered onto a frame to be blasted on. This created a problem, If the turbine needs to be lifted and placed on a stationary frame, how does the enclosure get around the turbine?

Coming in at over 13m long and 8m wide, Giant Inflatables Industrials state of the art blasting shelter allowed a secondary crane to lift the blasting shelter and lower it over the turbine and frame. Using inflatable technology to redefine and re-engineer traditional blasting methods saved Origin Energy more than 2 weeks of set up time and tens of thousands of dollars in cost. Taking one of the power stations most labour intensive and complex tasks and creating a simple, cost effective and quick solution, ensured the Darling Downs shut down and maintenance was completed on time and with no safety incidents.

Origin Energy Power Turbine Inflatable Blasting Shelter