SMARTGard® Prevents Boiler Pressure Part Replacement

Drax Power Plant

Based in United Kingdom, Drax Power Plant has a capacity of 3,906 megawatts (MW) and produces around 14 terawatt-hours (TWh) of power a year, 96% using compressed wood pellets, a form of sustainably sourced biomass.

The remainder is produced using coal, a fossil fuel for which commercial operations come to an end in March 2021.

Drax Power Station along with our hydro schemes in Scotland, supply 12% of the UK’s renewable power. The boiler units went into operation in the 1970s and require ongoing maintenance to prevent corrosion damage. Drax’s extensive monitoring systems ensure the integrity of boiler tubes and inform engineers’ metal wastage prevention strategies.


The units suffer from wastage on evaporator walls due to fireside corrosion. Wastage on pressure parts can lead to unplanned outages, and the consequential loss of production creates a negative impact on the business performance of the plant.


Integrated Global Services have been servicing Drax boilers since 2016. Drax Power welcomed the high levels of communication, proactive approach and dedication of the IGS Europe project teams. The IGS team integrated successfully within the Drax safety culture.

Integrated Global Services (IGS)

A global provider of surface protection for mission critical equipment, IGS complete hundreds of projects each year across the globe. Colin Bateman, Director of Business Development EMEA, IGS, commented: “We started servicing Drax Power Plant in 2016 and have since been awarded a long-term contract for thermal spray applications withing their boilers. Our capability to quickly mobilise our applications team and equipment, coupled with extensive experience, enable us to exceed client expectations in terms shutdown schedules and solution reliability.”

IGS have been applying High Velocity Thermal Spray Alloy Cladding on boiler waterwalls and Ceramic coatings on the superheater.


Repair or Replace?

To address the metal wastage, Drax had the option of changing out pressure parts or extending their component life with the use of IGS HVTS Alloy Cladding. The former alternative would have resulted in significant additional downtime on the front end and higher costs. The plant instead selected to engage IGS to apply their HVTS Alloy Cladding, which was not only less invasive than pressure parts replacement but also less likely to be impacted by future corrosion attack due to the high nickel-chrome content of the cladding.

Long-Term Service

The first project has been successfully implemented in May 2016, during which IGS protected over 400m² of surface with its proprietary HVTS Alloy Cladding. “The project execution team were professional, flexible and carried out the project safely and within timescales.” stated Sam Wilkinson, Project Engineer for the evaporator protection portion of the maintenance project at Drax. In 2018, IGS and Drax have extended their long-term contract for thermal spray applications within their boilers.


Excellent Safety Record

The projects were executed in accordance with the IGS Safety Program. Safety is always the top priority on IGS jobs. There were no lost time or recordable accidents on the projects. All men on the crew are trained in accordance with IGS safety and health program. The following were completed to maintain and prevent accidents and unsafe conditions: IGS Daily Toolbox discussions, IGS Daily observations, site specific safety regulations and hazards training, POWRA (Point of Work Risk Assessment) completed daily.