Compressor Service: Key Maintenance Tips to Know
Continuous compressor service is important in order to avoid future issues and a stop within industrial processes. Below is a guide to help you stay on track.
Many important aspects of the oil and gas industry necessitate the use of proper compressor equipment. To start with, compressors are mechanical devices that lift the pressure of compressible fluids or gases. Compressors are used in a range of industries to supply shop or instrument air, power air tools, paint sprayers, and abrasive blast devices, phase shift refrigerants for central heating and refrigeration, and propel gas through pipelines, among other items.
Compressors are divided into centrifugal (or dynamic or kinetic) and positive-displacement types; however, while centrifugal pumps are more common, positive-displacement compressors are more common. They can be as small as a glovebox unit for inflating tires or as large as giant reciprocating or turbo compressor devices used in pipeline operation.
Positive-displacement compressors can be further divided into reciprocating and rotary forms, with the helical screw and rotary vane being the most common.
Compressors are used to raise a fluid’s pressure. The most popular type of compressor is the rotary compressor, which compresses the fluid using a rotating device. The most popular compressors are reciprocating and centrifugal.
Types of Compressors
The three most common types of compressors are Consumer-grade, professional-grade, and industrial-grade compressors.
- Consumer Grade Compressors
Compressors for home use are classified as a single-stage model. These types of compressors are used for items like inflating tires and inflatable goods around the home, as well as probably low-load air tools like staplers and brad arms.
- Professional Grade Compressors
Professional compressors produce more power and compressed air at a higher pressure. It may be two-stage reciprocating or rotary screw versions, and it can provide enough power to operate several air tools at the same time with occasional use.
- Industrial Grade
Industrial compressors can be a manufacturing plant’s workhorse or an oil rig’s dependable power source. They are designed to provide a constant supply of compressed air for long periods and to withstand the fluctuating demands of large manufacturing plants. These compressors are made with high-quality parts that can be tailored to the environment to enhance performance, energy efficiency, and reliability.
For Industrial Grade compressors used in the oil and gas industry, there are three types which can be named the reciprocating and rotary, dynamic compressors.
- Reciprocating Compressors
As rising the pressure in natural gas, reciprocating compressor equipment in the oil and gas industry shows a linear motion. Since they can accommodate all volume capacities and pressures, they are the most widely used in natural gas compressors. They have a varying volumetric flow-rate performance, which is still limited as compared to rotary compressors.
As a result of these machines having a larger number of moving parts, their mechanical efficiencies become lower, and lubrication of the parts may be required every time. Some of the parts might include the cylinder, the cylinder heads and the pistons.
Instead of the rotator machines’ general electric motors, reciprocating compressors may be powered by gas, electric motors, or steam turbine engines.
A system of this kind must also work within a certain range of compression ratios, and a choice must be made to achieve the proper clearance volume and piston displacement in the cylinder.
These devices, like rotary which is discussed below, are available in different designs:
- Simple Single-Cylinder:
n this type of reciprocating compressor, there is only one suction, compression, and discharge area in a single cylinder. Two suction, compression, and discharge areas are present in double-acting cylinder designs.
A multi-cylinder compressor for the oil and gas industry usually has up to six cylinders available. The gas is compressed by pistons attached to the crankshaft, in simple terms.
- Multi-Stage Design
The multi-stage compression stage compresses the vapor into a solid.
- Rotary or Screw Compressor
The rotary compressor which could also be called a screw compressor has three distinct operating phases of which is a positive displacement unit; suction, compression, and discharge. A compressor casing has two counter-rotating helical screws with gas inlet and discharge nozzles on opposite ends.
Rotary or screw compressors are almost certainly the equipment of choice for oil-free or oil-wetted compression in mining, construction, industrial refrigeration, and a variety of other applications where relative simplicity, general efficiency, and high availability are valued. Process gases can also be compressed with rotary or screw compressors.
- Dynamic Compressor
Giving a gas stream velocity and then translating the velocity into pressure energy. These compressors are often referred to as turbo compressors, and centrifugal machines account for roughly 80% of all dynamic compressors. Axial flow devices, which are designed for higher-flow, lower-pressure applications, account for the remaining 20% or less.
Regular Compressor Maintenance Tips
- Check the amount of compressor lubricant in the crankcase and cylinder lubricator, and add to the level indicated by the sight gauge if appropriate.
- Check the cylinder lubrication feed rate and make any required adjustments.
- Inspect the lubricant pressure and make any required adjustments to satisfy the operating pressure requirements.
- Check the temperature of the cooling water in the cylinder jacket.
- Verify that the capacity management system is working properly. Check the LOAD/UNLOAD pressures on the discharge pressure gauge.
- Line strainer for drain power.
- Inspect the automated condensate drain trap for proper service (intercooler and aftercooler).
- If necessary, drain condensate from discharge piping (drop leg and receiver).
- Check and replace the lubricant charge as well as the filter part.
- Inspect and replace the air filter part.
- Check the sump-breather filter element and replace it if necessary.
- Examine and clean the control line filter part.
- Inspect and clean the condensate drain valve.
- Examine the condition of the shaft coupling factor and fastener tightness.
- Vibration signatures on the compressor, gearbox, and motor should be measured and registered.
- Rebuilding every year.
What is Turbo-Expander Compressor Assembly?
A turboexpander, also known as an expansion turbine, is a centrifugal or axial flow turbine that expands a high-pressure gas to generate work that drives a compressor. It is made up of two main components; Radial Inflow Expansion and a Centrifugal (Booster) Compressor that is assembled. It has a single Shaft that connects all of its wheels. The control unit is the expansion turbine, while the powered unit is the compressor.
The aim of a Turbo-expander in a Gas Processing Plant is to efficiently perform two distinct but complementary functions in a single machine. The main purpose is to produce effective refrigeration in the process gas stream.
Compressor Service Conclusion
The use of compressors in the oil and gas industry to process fuel-rich materials is an environment that should not be ignored, particularly if a company wishes to avoid attracting regulatory scrutiny in the jurisdiction where their services are rendered.
The pressure in natural gas can be increased, and those stored in a tank can be maintained with the correct amount of pressure, depending on the type of machine used.
Compressor service is essential in order to have a constant run on the compressors used in the oil and gas industry. Thus, helping to avoid unexpected total breakdowns of the plant.
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