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Common Compressor Problems That May Occur

Compressor Problems | KB Delta

There are a lot of important lessons to be learned when it comes to working in the profitable oil and gas industry. Having the ability to spot the various compressor problems should be one of the first lessons that you learn, as it really can be vital. A fully functional compressor can mean the difference between a profitable day and a day where your outgoings exceed your income. This means that knowing how to spot problems is important.

There are a lot of different pieces of hardware that exist, functioning in harmony, within each of the different types of compressor. Just one of these pieces of hardware ceasing to function could result in an absolute disaster.


Is it important to know how to spot compressor problems?

You simply have to remember that there are a lot of parts that work together inside of a compressor that have the potential to fail at any given time. A single failure could disrupt an entire day. Knowing which parts are prone to failing and the ways in which they do fail is important. This knowledge is important as it allows you to spot a problem before it becomes a disaster. In the rest of this article, you can read you some information on how to deal with common compressor problems.


Has your compressor shutdown unexpectedly?

The unscheduled shutdown of a compressor inside of an oil and gas industry setting is something that is generally caused by a simple valve failure. These valve failures occur relatively frequently. They are also known to be one of the most common causes of unscheduled shutdowns.

Knowing how to avoid this type of situation is important, as a full shutdown of your compressor is one of the worst things that can happen. Valve springs do a lot, and they have a large amount of pressure put on them frequently. For example, in reciprocating compressors they are directly responsible for controlling the time in which the valve closes. This involves a rapid accelerating and decelerating motion, so poorly designed valve springs can fail relatively quickly.

You can guarantee the durability of your own valve springs by ensuring that they have been manufactured correctly. A number of different companies are currently using music wire to make these strings, as it is good at handling high stress. It can also go through a large number of treatments to make it more durable, including magnetizing and grinding.

Is your compressor producing an excessive amount of noise?

There are two different things that could be occurring with the parts inside of a compressor that result in it suddenly producing a large amount of noise.

1. Firstly, excessive noise could be caused due to a build-up of particle matter occurring in between the piston and the valve plate. Luckily, it is easy to fix this problem. Usually it just requires the part to be removed and cleaned, then you just have to reassemble it.

2. Secondly, the excessive noise could be caused due to a problem with the damper plate inside of the compressor. This is a little bit more difficult to fix, as it will more than likely require a replacement part. The damper plate is mainly used to absorb the noise and vibrations that are produced by the compressor, as they would cause the compressor to run inefficiently otherwise.

It should be noted that damper parts are prone to cracking. This is because of the constant vibrations that go through the plate.


Is your compressor producing an excessive discharge temperature?

Excessive discharge temperatures will generally be caused by worn valve assemblies inside of your compressor. This unfortunately means that the part in question no longer functions the way that it should, so a replacement will be necessary.

When you take out the part in question, you should check for any small signs of corrosion or warping. This can tell you whether or not there were any compatibility issues with the part in your machine and the internal fluid, something that can drastically reduce the lifespan of your parts.


Is your compressor building up pressure far too slowly?

The valve plates strike again. If it seems to be taking a long time for the pressure to build-up inside of your machine, then you need to check the functionality of the belts and gaskets inside of your machine. If they seem to be in working order, then it is likely that a valve plate will be the culprit. It will more than likely need to be replaced to ensure that your compressor runs efficiently, otherwise, you will be losing money in the long run.

Is fluid leaking from the inside of your compressor?

Any fluid leakage that comes from your compressor needs to be investigated immediately, as it has the potential to cause a large number of different compressor problems. It more than likely means that one of the valves inside of your machine is not providing an efficient seal the way that it should be.

One of the main causes of this comes in the form of warped or damaged valve plates. You should disassemble the compressor and inspect the plates. Any warping or cracks should be treated with caution, as it could mean that your valve plates are not compatible with the fluid that is inside of your compressor.


Are the parts inside of your compressor starting to corrode or warp?

Having the ability to notice either the corrosion or warping of the parts inside of your machine is important. Any compressor problems having to do with corrosion or warping should be dealt with as quickly as possible. Not all materials are the same when it comes to compressor parts, and certain materials are not appropriate for certain situations.

For example, most cases of part corrosion are actually caused due to the characteristics of the internal fluid that the part in question was exposed to while inside of the compressor. This is because of exposure to both hydrocarbons and different chemicals.

Essentially, the particulate matter that can be found within the internal fluid has the potential to damage a number of different parts, especially the valve plates. You should consult a specialist if you notice any damage of this type. They will be able to advise you on the best material options for your parts, to ensure that they are compatible with your compressor.

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