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The Art of Aging Well: Westinghouse Introduces Laser Peening

Your plant’s efficient and economical operation today is at the heart of every life-extending product and service we offer for tomorrow’s economic and long-term operational viability. 

 “Life-of-the plant” asset management programs proactively maintain the safety and reliability of equipment and systems as a plant ages or as it enters into an extended life. Your plant’s efficient and economical operation is at the heart of the products and services we offer.  Westinghouse is committed to supporting long-term asset management to increase equipment reliability, reduce costs and increase the value of plant assets.

That’s why Westinghouse has introduced laser peening to address industry-wide concerns related to stress corrosion cracking (SCC), which can lead to the degradation of plant components. Developed by Toshiba, and proven through more than 500 applications to-date, laser peening mitigates SCC before the far more expensive option of replacing affected components is necessary.

The benefits are delivered using laser energy and water. Whether the area to be peened is submersed in water or a thin layer of water is applied to the area’s surface, laser peening does not impart external forces or cause vibration, meaning there is no risk to surrounding components.

All of this is done without the need for dangerous high-pressure water and the associated equipment and hoses.  As an added value, the laser peening process leaves a smooth surface behind that has proven not to interfere with follow-up nondestructive examinations, eliminating costly rework and schedule impacts.

How Laser Peening Works

Laser peening concentrates short-pulse laser energy in a localized area on the metal’s surface, generating shock waves which slightly compress the metal in a controlled manner. The shock waves are capable of overcoming the yield strength of the metal, converting the tensile stress to compressive stress. The result is uniform and reliable stress improvement in the metal, even in the narrowest spaces, which arrests existing SCC and precludes future occurrence.

Benefits

Laser Peening should be an important part of a long-term asset management program.  Some of the benefits include:
  • Preventative laser peening avoids costly unplanned repairs; plants can realize a return on laser peening investment by avoiding less than two such emergent SCC repairs.
  • Inspection intervals can be extended with a successful inspection relief request, which can reduce dose and cost.
  • Laser peening tools can be used simultaneously in the same space, creating time savings – an important  consideration when performing maintenance work during scheduled plant outages.
For more information contact: Vince Elias, Marketing Manager, Installation Services at +1 724-722-6141.