Part 6: What you Need to Know About Reciprocating Gas Compressors
by Randy Franiel, Senior Accounts Manager, Canada
This is the sixth, and final, blog in a series on understanding natural gas reciprocating compressors. We’ve explored shaking forces, volumetric efficiency, gas compressor selection, and more. In this final blog installment, we explore why communication is a good cost-saving step when operating a gas compressor outside its original design.
Operating a gas compressor within its design envelope should produce an expected amount and type of vibration (or force) that won’t put excessive strain on its components. Therefore, if it’s operating as designed, it should perform as designed. On the other hand, if a gas compressor package is seeing excessive force, there’s a good chance it is operating outside of the design range. When it operates outside its design range – sooner or later – the gas compression equipment will break down, and that’s expensive.
When a Gas Compressor’s Double-Acting Cylinders Operate as a Single
One of the most common scenarios is when a unit designed with double-acting cylinders is switched to operate as a single-acting gas compressor. It’s understandable how this happens. Conditions change and often there can be a gap of a year or more between you buying the equipment and getting it out in the field and running.
A vibration assessment, conducted on-site by trained personnel, is a wise investment in the start-up phase of a newly installed reciprocating gas compressor that can save you money down the road. One vibration assessment we carried out yielded valuable insight. While the skid and the mounting of the equipment were both rock-solid, one section of piping was vibrating excessively. If this continued uncorrected, there would eventually be a breakdown and accompanying downtime while servicing.
In this case, the client had configured the machine to run with all four cylinders single-acting when they were designed to operate as double-acting. Knowing a significant operating change was made, we took two cylinders off entirely and made the other two cylinders run double-acting. That reduced the gas compressor’s vibration down to an operationally acceptable range.
Leveraging Your Gas Compression Provider to Protect Your Investment
Our team understands that operating conditions can change between purchasing and installing equipment. When conditions change, keeping your gas compression provider in the loop is a strategic idea, as it will allow you to adjust the gas compressor package as needed to keep it running smoothly, minimize unnecessary wear, and protect your investment.
If you have questions about reciprocating compressors or gas compression,
please contact Randy Franiel by email or phone: 1-855-262-2487
What you Need to Know About Reciprocating Gas Compressors
Have you read all the articles in our blog series?
Part 1: How a Fundamental Design Flaw Robs Your Profits
Part 2: Understanding the Importance of Shaking Forces
Part 3: Volumetric Efficiency: Why it Matters and How to Maximize It
Part 4: An Approach to Compressor Selection, and the #1 Issue to Watch For
Part 5: Your New Gas Compressor is Installed. Do THIS Before it Goes Online
Part 6: When Gas Compressors Operate Outside Design, Communication is Key