Ensuring the reliability of the steam turbine is the key for its long life. For this purpose monitoring systems are standardly used. Early detection of any failure can avoid possible economical and material losses. A monitoring of rotating blades vibration belongs to the very important tasks of the turbomachinery state assessment. Especially in terms of the last stages of low-pressure part, where the longest blades are vibrating at most. Commonly used methods for blade vibration monitoring are based on contact measurement using strain gauges or non-contact approach based on blade tip timing measurement.

Rising demand for low-cost monitoring systems has initiated development of a new approach in blade vibration monitoring task. The presented approach is based on usage of relative rotor vibration signals. Its advantage is in using of standardly installed sensors making this approach economically interesting for the turbine operators compared to the traditionally used methods, mentioned above.

This paper summarizes the symptoms of blade vibration phenomenon in relative shaft vibration signals, the impact of operating conditions on the blade vibration amplitude and its comparison to blade tip-timing measurement results. In addition of several examples, the article also describes an evaluation of proposed method in operation of steam turbine with power of 170MW.

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