Case Study: Excessive Genset Vibration at Hybrid Power Station

Ty Smith, Technical Sales Reliability Engineer


This case study covers the vibration audit of five diesel MTU 16V2000 (1MW units) internal combustion engines (ICE) at a new hybrid power station. The vibration route for prime movers of each generator was based on ISO 8619-1; the same standard MTU uses on their internal combustion engine for power generation. The initial vibration route returned high readings from the single-bearing alternator configuration. After analysing the data, it indicated a very strong peak at the running speed of the generator with unbalance and misalignment patterns seen in both the time waveform and the frequency domain. The recommendation was to conduct a bump test (natural frequency study), check the alignment/installation of the generator, including its resilient mount configuration, and to investigate the installation of the generator to support frame and the enclosure structure to foundations. Firstly, the customer requested an alignment check of the worst two units however before this was done, a visual examination of the structure was completed utilising as-constructed (ASCON) drawings provided by the construction company hired to build the power station. It was then found that each structure was built incorrectly and another footing at the midspan of the 40-foot container needed to be introduced. A corrective action was raised and remediation work performed that resulted in the much of the genset vibration removed and most, if not all vibration, of adjoining fuel pipes. A bump test is next to study the natural frequency of the structure.


Ty is a highly dedicated and passionate reliability service engineer who is committed to maximising machine reliability and leveraging technology to improve the health of rotating machinery while ensuring the highest level of safety on every work site.
He joined Acoem Australasia in 2023 after working successfully in the maritime and industrial services sector in the Northern Territory for more than a decade – initially as a tradesperson (diesel fitter) and then as a qualified engineer.

Ty has extensive expertise in managing large teams and a broad range of reliability programs, including machine installations, diagnostics, vibration analysis and corrective works (precision alignments and dynamic balancing). His superior knowledge of diesel internal combustion engines has given him added insight into mechanical operations, which he leverages in his role at Acoem. He recently led a major project in the sustainable energy industry.

Ty obtained his Bachelor of Engineering (Hons.) degree specialising in marine and offshore engineering from the Australian Maritime College, Tasmania. He also holds advanced certificates in mechanical diesel fitting, root cause bearing failure analysis, machine diagnostics, shaft alignment and vibration analysis.