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Suite 9 -2611, 37h Avenue NE Calgary, Alberta T1Y 5V7 Call: (403) 250-9220 Website: www.detechtion.com

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G;AS EEMPREEiSIEN EPTIMIZATIEN AND FLEET MAN AGiEM ENT EiPEEIALIS.I

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resston:

Utilizing the Rotary Screw Compressor

Compiled By: Brian Taylor Director of Engineering Copyright 2002 Revision 1.0

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Table of Contents .
1.0 The Physical Properties of Natural Gas. 1.1 Basic Gas Laws
1.2 Atmospheric Pressure Page 4

1.3 Elevation
1.4 Abbreviations for Pressures 1.5 Gauge Pressure
'1.6

Absolute Pressure

1.7 Boyle's Law


1.8 Absolute Temperature 1.9 Charles' Law

1.10ldealGas Law 1.1 1 Compressibility Factor 1.12 Specific Heat Ratios 1.13 Water Content of Natural Gas
2.0 The Compressor Hardware 2.0 General Description
2.'1 Rotary Screw Compressor

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Rotors Balance Piston Thrust Bearings 2.'t.5 Radial Bearings 2.2 Auxiliary Hardware 2.2.1 lnlet Separator 2.2.2Oi4 Separator 2.2.3Oa1Cooler 2.2.4Gas Cooler 2.2.5 NormalGas Flow
3.0 The Compression Process
3.1 The Compression Process 3.2 The Gompression Cycle 28

2.1.1 2.1.2 2.1.3 2.1.4

Frames

3.3 Estimating Compressor Capacity 3.4 Compressor Displacement


3.5 Volumetric Efficiency

3.6 Capacity 3.6.1 3.6.2 3.6.3

Contro! Suction valve Control Variable Speed Slide Valve 3. 7 Compressor Horsepower 3.7.1 Theoretical Horsepower 3.7.2 Brake Horsepower 3.7.3 Horsepower Calculation Example 3.8 Adiabatic Efficiency

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2.0 General Description

Rotary screw compressors have been applied to various different applications since their commercial use began more than 50 years ago. These machines can be found most commonly in air service and refrigeration duty. However, the screw compressor is becoming more and more of an integral part of the natural gas processing industry.
The screw compressor is a positive displacement, volume reduction machine, and can be either oil free or oil flooded in design. The oil free packages are used mainly in "dirty" gas applications, flare gas recovery, etc. and rely on timing gears to synchronize both the rotors. The process gas areas are sealed off from the lubrication system and bearing cavities by means of adequate sealing technology. The oil flooded screw compressor is used in air and process gas applications and relies on oil injection directly with the commodity that is being compressed. The injection of oil and its' importance in the compressor wil! be discussed later in this paper.

The basic design of the screw compressor (see Figure 2.1) consists of two helical rotors that are cut in overlapping spirals within a common housing. The two rotors are identified as being a male or a female rotor and are supported by thrust and radia! bearings. The male rotor is driven and the female rotor is the idling one. This will be explained in further detai! later in this manual. A good understanding of the basics of operation will help to avoid problems and allow an individual to apply the compressors correctly to different industrial applications. There are many benefits that are offered by the use of a rotary screw compressor which include the following:

a. Low operating and maintenance costs b. Low purchase price c. Ability to handle low suction pressures - down to 26 d. High compression ratios - up to 16 e. Very portable - can be trailer mounted
inches of vacuum

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2.1 Rotary Screw Compressor


Suction Flange
Male Rotor

Balance Piston

Female Rotor

Drive Shaft

OilGalleries

=j

Frame

Bearings Timing Gears

Figure 2.1 - Screw Compressor Cut-Aw?yr (courtesy of Mycom)

2.1.1 Frames
The cast iron frame houses all of the compressor's internal parts and distributes the oil through the various oil galleries in the case. The frame provides central support for the bearings, which in turn support the rotors. The main stress on the frame structure is the build up of internal pressures and heat loads during the compression process. Maximum discharge pressures of approximately 300-350 PSIG are normal for most manufacturers.

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2.1.2 Rotors

Two major components of the screw compressor are the helica! rotors necessary for compression. They are designated as the male rotor and the female rotor. The male rotor is the driven rotor. meaning that it is connected to the driver either directly or through a gearbox. The male rotor typically contains four or five lobes that mesh with the female rotor. The female rotor is the idling rotor and rotates based on the speed of the male rotor. The female rotor typically contains six or seven "inter-lobes" that compliment the male lobes to create the cavity for the gas to fill. lt is important to note that there isn't any meta!-on-metal contact between the male and female rotors. A very thin oil film prevents the two rotors from touching as they rotate in an oil flooded application and timing gears prevent contact in the oil free design.
The rotors are machined to a very high tolerance. When assembled, the gap between the lobes as they mesh during rotation is less than 0.005 inches. They are also dynamically balanced when they are manufactured to prevent vibration at high speeds. The sizes of the rotors that are found in different models of compressors help dictate the performance that the compressor is capable of. A large diameter rotor is capable of moving larger volumes of gas than a smaller diameter rotor. At the same time, a long rotor is capable of moving a volume of gas through a higherpressure ratio than a shorter one. The profile of the rotor plays a very significant part in the performance of the machine. There is leakage that occurs between the rotors, between the rotors and housing bore surfaces and at the ends of the rotors and housing. One major leakage path is known as the "blow hole". The blow hole area is a triangular cusp that is formed between rotor lobe surfaces and the housing bore. Going to an asymmetric lobe profile design has minimized this blow hole pathway and increases efficiencies. Figure 2.2 shows the two different lobe profiles, asymmetric and symmetric, and configurations possible within a screw compressor.

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ai{-frel HrrnFrsEErE

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Figure 2.2 - Rotor Profiles

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FrcdaminanUy us+d fer

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2.1.3 Balance Piston The balance piston is a hydraulically controlled disc or piston that has been designed to offset the thrust force on the thrust bearings. !t exerts a force on the male rotor, since, by its' design, it receives a greater thrust force than what the female rotor receives. The balance piston effectively opposes the thrust load due to compression, and it exerts force based on discharge gas pressures. Itis veryimportant to keep an adequate amount of oil pressure on the balance piston so that the thrust bearings and/or roller bearings don't fail prematurely. At the same time, too much pressure on the balance piston can also have adverse affects, such as over pressurizing and causing a reverse thrust force. Again, this situation can also result in premature bearing failure. 2.1.4 Thrust Bearings
The thrust bearings are what prevent the rotors from contacting each other and the inside of the compressor housing. They are also responsible for absorbing the axial thrust that is generated by the gas being compressed. The thrust bearings consist of a two bearing assembly, each of which absorbs forces in opposite axial directions, ie. suction to discharge pressures OR discharge to

suction pressures.
2.1.5 Radial Bearings The radial bearings carry the weight of the rotors plus the radial force produced by the gas pressure. The bearings used to carry this radial load are known as hydrodynamic or frictionless bearings. The shafts of the rotors "float" in a pressurized oil film within the bearing housing. This allows for an infinite L10 bearing life if the oil system and oil quality are kept in good check.

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2.2 Auxiliary Hardware

2.2.1 lnlet Separator The inlet separator is a vertical vessel that is mounted to the skid in front of the inlet to the compressor. This vessel acts as a filtering element for the incoming gas, in order to protect the compressor from both solid and liquid debris. Due to the very tight tolerances and high speed of the compressor components, this piece of equipment is necessary to prevent any foreign material from entering the compressor and damaging the rotating parts. The principles employed in removing materialthat is trapped in the gas as it enters the separator are impingement, change of direction, change in velocity and a filter element also known as a wire-mesh mist extractor.
As the gas stream enters the separator vessel, the gas is turned downward to strike the impingement baffle. The heavy solids and liquids are then collected here and forced down through holes into an accumulation chamber at the bottom of the vessel. This change in direction causes a decrease in velocity, and with the added help of gravity, further dropout of solid and liquids continue. The gas stream then will pass through the mist extractor, where very fine particles of solid and liquid that are still entrained in the gas stream, will coalesce on the filter. Once these droplets grow large enough, they wil! fall onto the impingement baffle. The clean gas can now flow into the compressor.

The liquid that has been separated from the gas stream, and has collected in the accumulation chamber, will be automatically dumped once the laquid level controller senses high levels of accumulation. lt is important not to allow any of this Iiquid to enter the compressor. ln the event that the dump valve cannot handle the removal of all the liquid, a high liquid level shut down switch must be added to prevent overflow into the compressor.

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2.2.2 Oil Separator

Although oil is an extremely important part of the compression cycle in an oil flooded screw compressor, the oil that mixes with the gas during compression is not desirable after compression is complete. This warrants the need for an oil separator. lt is another skidmounted vessel required by an oil flooded screw compressor to remove the oil droplets that become entrained in the gas during compression. See Figure 2.3 and 2.4lor an illustration of horizontal and vertical separators.
The principles used to knock the oil out of the gas are the same ones used in the inlet separator vessel as previously mentioned. lt is important to note that the gas/oil mixture must be kept at a velocity of less than 30ft/sec. This will prevent unwanted turbulence inside the separator. Turbulence inside the separator can cause unsteady oil levels, foaming, vibration and a lack of separation efficiency.

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==rFcEE=

Et#E

=: 3=* :

kEE
Figure 2.3 - Horizontal Separator

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Figure 2.4 - Vertical Separator

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2.2.3 Oil Cooler The primary role of the oil cooler is to cool the hot oil from the discharge line from about 180'F back down to an acceptable reinjection temperature of about 140"F with as minimal a pressure drop as possible. This is accomplished through the use of a shell and tube water-cooled arrangement or an aerial type exchanger. The installation of a 3-way mixing valve will allow the proper regulation of oil temperature by mixing cold oil with hot oil before re-iqjection. The oil is temperature mixed and filtered before reentering the compressor. Figure 2.5 illustrates the flow of oil through a system such as the one described.

Figure 2.5 - Oil Cooler

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2.2.4 Gas Cooler

Heat is generated in a gas after it is compressed. Once the gas has left the oil separator, free of any oil droplets, it must be cooled before release into the final discharge line. The gas cooler works in the same way that the oil cooler does. The cooler typically contains a fan that is either driven off the primary mover, or has its own power source such as a separate electric motor. The fan forces air over the cooler sections as the gas passes through them and the heat is extracted. 2.2.5 Normal Gas Flow
When dealing with a rotary screw compressor, there is typically only one stage of compression present on a unit. The gas enters the inlet separator where all of the foreign !iquids and solids are knocked out of the gas stream. The gas then passes in to the suction side of the compressor where it begins to be injected with oil. As compression begins, oil is continually injected into the gas stream. The compression process finishes when the gas/oil mixture reaches the discharge port. This gas/oil mixture enters the oi! separator where the gas is "cleaned" of all oil droplets. The gas then leaves the separator, passes through the gas cooler and is sent downstream in the discharge Iine. Figure 2.6 illustrates a typical gas compression system.

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Figure 2.6 - Typical Oil Flooded Screw Compressor System

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3.0 THE COMPRESSION PROCESS


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3.1 The Compression Process

The compressor operates based on the fundamentals of Boyle's law - the pressure of a gas will increase when its volume is decreased. The compression process can be looked at from three similar, but different relationships, when dealing with the screw compressor. The first and most basic relationship is:

ISOTHERMAL PROCESS

v2
-1

__t_
P2

V,l

(Eq.3.1)

This is a very simplistic but not a realistic view, in that it assumes constant temperature throughout the cycle.

Another relationship that is commonly used to predict the behavior of gas during compression is known as the Adiabatic Process. This theory takes into account the ratio of specific heat (k) of the gas undergoing a compression cycle, but ignores the transfer of heat between the gas and its surroundings and vice versa. The equation used for the adiabatic modeling of a gas is:

ADIABATIC PROCESS
k :P,Y, PVn

(Eq. 3.2)

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The third relationship that is most accurate in precisely defining the compression of a gas in the "real world" is known as the Polytropic Process. The following equation represents the Polytropic relationship and uses the Polytropic exponent "n".

POLYTROPIC PROCESS

PV'

-PrVrn
k-1 kxrl
(Eq. 3.3)

where fl =

The Polytropic exponent (n) is derived from the specific heat ratios of the gas (k) and takes into account the Polytropic efficiency (ry). The Polytropic efficiency, when dealing with a screw compressor, has a typical range of 0.85 to 0.95.

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Figure 3.1 below clearly illustrates how the three different approaches that define the compression cycle can differ.

tD L

= il?
TE

AB - Adiabatie AS " Folytrepir.


AD - lsetherma$ FV=C
PV"=C

fl)

0-

L-

P\*'=E
A
Volurme

Figure 3.1 - PV Diagram

The area under each of the curves determines the amount of work that has to go into the system to move the gas from suction to

discharge pressure.

Work=PressurexVolume
Therefore, the larger the area under the curve, the more work is necessary to compress the gas. lt can be seen then, that the lsothermal Process understates the horsepower required to compress gas, whereas the Adiabatic Process overstates the horsepower requirements. If one is to accurately predict the horsepower expenditure for a set of gas conditions, the Polytropic Process is the model to use.

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3.2 The Compression Cycle

1 -Suction
Suction gas is drawn in at the TOP of the compressor where the male lobe rotates out of the female inter-lobe in order to create an expanding cavity. A charge of fresh gas continues to fill the entire volume of each interlobe as the unmeshing thread proceeds down the length of the rotor. The volume of gas that fills the entire Iength of thread is known as the suction volume (Vs).

View from BOTTOMof compressor


I-I-II-III--

2 -Translation
Rotation continues untilthe rotors have rotated enough and moved the gas axially past the inlet port to sealthe suction charge from the inlet. The gas is now trappedbetween the rotors and the compressor housing. As the rotors continue to rotate, they translate the gas axially towards the discharge port. At this point the trapPed gas has occupied the lobes on the BOTTOM side of the rotors.

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The rotors, continuing to rotate, have now moved the gas far enough down the length of the rotors, that the volume occupied by the gas has now started to decrease. Because of the helical design and rotational motion, this decrease in volume and increase in pressure is gradual and smooth, thereby eliminating any pulsations or vibrations due to the

compression process.

4 -Dischar
The process of compression is completed when the trapped gas has reached the discharge port. The location of the discharge port dictates the final volume of gas at discharge. The Ionger the gas remains trapped in the rotors (ie. the more axially the gas travels) the higher the internal pressure developed and smaller the finalvolume. Likewise, the sooner the trapped gas reaches the discharge port the lower the internal build up of pressure. Location of the discharge port is very important and determines the amount of under-compression or over-compression that will occur inside the

compressor.

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3.3 Estimating Compressor Capacity Compressor capacity is defined as the actual volume rate of flow (ACFM), or gas compressed and delivered, at the prevailing temperatures and pressures at the compressor inlet. This capacity is converted to the standard conditions of 14.696 PSIA and 60oF, and typically reported in millions of standard cubic feet per day
(MMSCFD).

The volume of gas that a screw compressor delivers to the discharge line is equal to the displacement of the rotors less the "slip" quantity. The term volumetric efficiency is developed to help define the amount of slippage occurring inside the compressor. The following expression is used to define the actual delivered capacity of a screw compressor.

ACFM where:

O,

VE
100
(Eq. 3.4)

ACFM = actual cubic feet per minute

a VE

= Gornpressor displacement in cubic feet = volumetric efficiency in percent

per minute

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3.4 Compressor Displacement The displacement of a screw compressor is equal to the volume at suction per thread times the number of lobes on the male rotor. The following expression may be used to determine the compressor displacement.

o- D'rf!)xcRxRPM C \.D/
where:

(Eq. 3.s)

a D L GR C
RPM

= cornpressor displacement (CFM) = male rotor diameter (ft) = rotor length (ft) = geol ratio between compressor and = engine speed = rotor profile constant

engine

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3.5 Volumetric Efficiency

Volumetric Efficiency is simply the ratio of actual delivered volume by the compressor to the compressor's actual displacement. Since there are always losses in a compression cycle, the volumetric efficiency is always less than one. There are many factors that contribute to the variance in volumetric efficiency which include but are not limited to:

c. Compression ratio
d. e.

a. b.

Gas characteristics - specific heat, molecular weight, etc. Physica! characteristics of machine - rotor sizes, tolerances, etc.

Rotor tip speed Slide valve position

To represent the volumetric efficiency of a screw compressor, it involves the use of the following relationship:

VE=100- Cr+

SL

[2")xRo

lz" )
where:
VE
= =

(Eq. 3.6)

Cr SL

z,
zd R

volumetric efficiency (%) charging resistance (due to temps.) at suction - slip leakage (due to rotor geometry) = cotrlpressibility at suction conditions = Gornpressibility at discharge conditions = corrPrgssion ratio = (k-1)/k (where k=specific heat ratio)

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Figure 3.2 is a representation of the volumetric efficiency in a screw compressor when it is not possible to calculate it explicitly.

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>-

c
.rl
at) TJ

F tI,
CJ

L #
OJ

'H

=
k

t1

->

Pressure Hatio
Figure 3.2 - Volumetric Efficiency for an oil-flooded screw comPressor

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3.6 Capacity Control The control of gas flow through a screw compressor is very important both in a refrigeration application to control suction temperature as evaporator load varies, as well as in the compression of natural gas. ln order to control the flow of gas through a screw compressor, three common methods of capacity control can be employed. These methods include the use of a suction control valve, reducing the speed of the engine and/or the use of a slide valve. 3.6.1 Suction Control Valve The use of a suction control valve is one of the easiest ways to control the capacity moving through a screw compressor. The valve works by reducing the absolute inlet pressure into the compressor, thereby reducing volume. lt is important to know that the mass flow into a compressor is directly related to the absolute suction pressure. lf you can control suction pressure, you can control volume.

There are a few disadvantages to controlling capacity with a suction controlvalve. By decreasing suction pressure, the compression ratio of the machine increases, causing a decrease in overall efficiency. This results in higher wear rates on compressor parts.
3.6.2 Variable Speed
Due to the positive displacement characteristics of a rotary screw compressor, the capacity of gas through this type of compressor can be controlled simply through the regulation and variation of engine speed. With a typical gas driver running these compressors, it is possible to slow the compressor down by as much as 50% with

constant torque input.


The drawback to this type of control is that the operator is unable to unload horsepower if the machine becomes overloaded. Further to this, the horsepower decline with speed is not a linear relationship as is the capacity decline. Therefore this type of control is only applicable where excess horsepower is available on the skid.

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3.6.3 SIide Valve Often times a great deal of capacity control is necessary. The use of a suction contro! valve and/or the throttling of an engine or motor may not be sufficient enough to cut the required capacity through a screw compressor. The slide valve now makes it possible to control compressor capacity from 1OO% down to 1Oo/o. The slide valve essentially acts as an internal bypass for the gas that enters the compressor. Figure 3.3 illustrates the flow of gas through the screw compressor when the slide valve is open therefore capacity is less than 1OO%.

Figure 3.3 - Slide Valve Control


The slide valve does not control capacity in a linear fashion. As the slide valve is opened, the volume of gas being sent back to suction is a nonlinear function of the slide position. For example, if the slide were set to 85% load (opened 15o/o), the volume of gas actually being compressed may be92% of total potential (only 8% is re-circulated). An accurate loading curve is important in determining the correct slide valve position in order to maximize compressor capacity and engine horsepower. The control of the slide valve in a screw compressor can be done by one of three ways. The most common method of actuating the slide valve or loading and unloading a screw compressor is through the use of hydraulic pressure differentials on either side of a diaphragm. Other methods of slide valve control include mechanical and electronic systems or combinations of these different technologies.

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3.7 Compressor Horsepower The horsepower requirement for a screw compressor in different applications can vary widely. lt is important to be able to accurately determine the horsepower requirements for a screw compressor for two reasons. First, it aids in sizing an appropriate driver during engine or motor selection. Second, it ensures that existing assets are not being over-utilized or under-utilized as field conditions change in a gas application.

3.7 .1

Theoretical Horsepower

Theoretical horsepower is the power required to adiabatically compress a given volume of gas across a pressure differentia!. The relationship that defines this is seen in Equation 3.7.

where:

THP = Theoretical horsepower

P1 a k R

= = = =

Suction pressure (PSIA) Flow rate of gas (MMSCFD) Specific heat ratio of gas Compression ratio

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3.7.2 Brake Horsepower Brake horsepower is the real power necessary to move a volume of gas through a compression ratio. This calculation takes into account the efficiencies of compression as well as the losses due to mechanical and hydrodynamic friction. This is the true driver requirement (excluding parasitic loads such as coolers, generators etc.). The relationship for determining brake horsepower is given in Equation 3.8.

BHP

-rH p*( !)
IE,
where:

,/ [E, ,l

,[r)

(Eq. 3.8)

BHP = Brake horsepower THP = Theoretical horsepower

Eu E.

= Adiabatic (compression) = Mechanical efficiency

efficiency

'

The adiabatic or compression efficiency of an oil-flooded screw compressor typically ranges from 35% to 85yo, depending on how the compressor is configured for the current field conditions. Likewise, the mechanical efficiency can vary between 88% and 92o/o, due in part to the hydrodynamic effects of the oil and the extensive lubrication system found in a screw compressor.

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3.7 .3

Horsepower Calculation Example


= 2 MMSCFD@ 14.4psia and 6OoF
= O.65

Gas Flow Gas Density Mol Wt. Of Gas k-Value of Gas

(compared to air)

= .65 x 28.97(mol wt. of air) = 18.83

= 1.28 (from Figure 1.2)


= 23OO

Elevation

ft

Barometric Pressure Suction Pressure


!-

= 13.4psi (from Figure 1.1)


= 30 psig = 20O psig =

Discharge Pressure
Compression Ratio

4.91J =2 {(200+13.a)/(30+13.4)}

**Assuming an Overall Efficiency of

7 SYo

**

(zoo+ 1 3.4) (so+ 8.4)

BHP=

)(#)

0.75

BHP = 22O.5 total compressaon horsepower

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3.8 Adiabatic Efficiency

Adiabatic efficiency is defined as the efficiency of compression inside a screw compressor for a given set of field conditions and machine configurations. The determination of this efficiency is dependant on a number of different variables. These include gas characteristics, temperatures, compressor speed, rotor sizes and most importantly, the compressor Vi also known as the built-in volumetric ratio. Vi will be more thoroughly discussed in the following chapter. Figure 3.4 illustrates clearly the wide range of efficiencies that are possible under different loading conditions. With the advent of variable Vi machines, the efficiencies of the screw compressor can easily be optimized over a wide range of compression ratios.

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E I

u
IJ

g
it

s'14

{l
iEE.5!UEE

5TEB
.ElT _*

Figure 3.4 - Adiabatic Efficiency of a screw compressor

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4,O VOLUMETRIC RATIO

- V'

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4.1 Volumetric Ratio The screw compressor can be considered to be a volume reduction machine. Therefore, the volumetric ratio (Vi) is defined as the ratio of gas volumes at suction to the volumes of gas at discharge. This ratio is a "built-in" feature of the screw compressor, with more of the newer machines now allowing the operator to change the builtin ratio in order to more precisely accommodate a wide range of field conditions. The expression for volumetric ratio is seen in Equation 4.1.

Vi
where:
Vi V, vd

-%

v,
(Eq 4.1)

= Volumetric ratio = Volume of gas at suction = Volume of same quantity of gas at

discharge

By monitoring the field conditions of a screw compressor, an operator can make periodic adjustments to the Vi setting on the compressor in order to maximize compression and volumetric efficiencies. Since the parameters measured on the compressor are typically suction and discharge pressures and not volumes, the relationship to calculate Vi is simply the following:
1

_(%)r - l,.P,,
Gq a.2)
where:
Vi
Pd

P, k

= = = =

Volumetric ratio Discharge pressure (absolute unitsl Suction pressure (absolute units) Specific heat ratio of gas being compressed

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It is very important to understand that the volumetric ratio is not equal to the compression ratio across the machine, and very Iarge errors can occur in the setup of the compressor if the Vi is not calculated properly. The following example illustrates clearly, the importance of proper Vi determination.

Example Vi Calculations:

o Assume atm. press. = 13.5psia and k=1.25


CASE 1 Gauge Pressure:

P"-175psig

P'

1Spsig

=11.7

CASE 2

Absolute Pressure:

fu_ P'
CASE 3

188.5psra

28.5psia

= 6.61

Absolute Pressure with k-value:


1 1

188.Spsra
[*)'=[

28.5psia )*

- 4.53

The following chart should be used on variable Vi machines, in order for an operator to quickly determine the correct setting for a specific application. Because the Vi is dependant on elevation and the properties of the gas being compressed, a Vi chart should be developed for each compressor.

46

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A unique feature of the screw compressor is that it does not determine the finalpressure to which the gas is compressed. The final pressure is actually determined by the pressure in the discharge line, which is regulated by either a backpressureregulating valve and/or by the suction pressure of a downstream reciprocating compressor. The screw compressor does not have any valves to regulate the discharge pressure of gas during the compression cycle. The Vi controls the amount of compression that will occur for a given volume of gas. As a result, Vi determines the horsepower requirements and internal pressures that will be generated during compression. Because the Vi setting on the machine determines how much compression will take place, an incorrect setting will either cause the compressor to over-compress or to under-compress the gas internally. Both of these conditions cause inefficiencies and premature wear in the equipment.

4.1.1 Over Compression


lf the interna! volume ratio, or Vi, is set too high for the prevailing field conditions, then the gas will remain trapped inside the rotors for too long, causing the internal pressure inside the compressor to exceed the discharge line pressure which is set by the backpressure valve. This is termed over compression, and can be seen graphically in Figure 4.1. ln this case, the gas is compressed beyond the Suction Port Closed system discharge pressure, and when the gas does finally reach the discharge port, the high-pressure gas inside the compressor expands instantly down to the lower discharge line pressure. The result of this scenario is the need for more horsepower to move the same volume of gas, creating wasted energy in the form of heat as well as unnecessarily high internal loads on parts such as the ps thrust bearings and rotor faces. Over compression of more than 1ZYois not recommended by most screw compressor manufacturers.

Discharge Port Opened

Pd

Figure 4.1

48

E-r*-ffi

H{!-{'rtEtr-r

4.1 .2 Under

Compression

lf the Vi is set too low for the current conditions, the gas inside the rotors will not be compressed to a high enough pressure before reaching the discharge port. This can be seen in Figure 4.2. In the case of under compression, the gas in the rotors reaches the discharge port too early and the high pressure gas in the discharge line flows back into the Discharge Suction Port compressor. This is known Closed Port Opened as back-flow compression. This back-flow

compression causes the gas inside the compressor to reach line pressure instantly, but at the expense of higher forces on the thread at the discharge port opening and a loss in efficiency moving the gas into the discharge line. Pulsations and compressor vibration can also be a result of under compression.

Pd

Vl = Low
Figure 4.2

ln both cases mentioned above, the screw compressor wi!! still operate and move the same volume of gas regardless of over compression and under compression scenarios. However, the horsepower requirements will be higher and the wear rates on the moving parts will also be higher, than if the Vi was set properly. The proper Vi setting will ensure the optimum location of the discharge port, and maximize the efficiency and life expectancy of the compressor.

49

E'}*ffiHHTIEIFI

4.2Va and Slide Valve Movement As was discussed earlier, hydraulic actuators typically control the movement of the slide valve. The Vi is adjusted by a manual thread adjustment on the suction side of the compressor. When the compressor is fully loaded, the slide valve is pressed up tight against the Vi stop. When the slide valve and the Vi move axially together, the compressor's Vi is changed. Figure 4.3 illustrates how these two components work together.

SIide

Higher Vi

fl

Slide
Figure 4.3

Lower Vi

50

EIT*-ffi

T=[-"{TIEIN

Alternatively, when the compressor needs to be unloaded, the slide valve moves independently of the Vi. When a screw compressor is unloaded through the use of the slide valve, the Vi no longer functions properly. When the slide valve is opened up, the compressor's built in volume ratio becomes a constant and emulates that of a "lo\ r" setting. ln a high compression ratio situation, it would be very inefficient to run with the slide valve open for extended periods of time, due to the high degree of under compression that would occur. See Figure 4.4 for an illustration of this.

Rotor

Slide

Fully Louded

Slide

Unloaded

Figure 4.4

51

E-T-EEHTIEI-T

\J

\Y

5.0 OIL MANAGEMENT


.-

.'
,\,,

-^

-Y\--''

52

EIET.E5 EHTTEIT'I

5.1 lmportance of Oil Oil plays a vital role in the oil-flooded screw compressor. The continuous injection of oil during machine operation plays three major roles. Firstly, the oil cools the heat due to compression, and allows the control of discharge temperature. Secondly, the oil lubricates al! of the rotating parts, ie. bearings, gears etc. Finally, the oil creates a hydrodynamic seal between the male and female lobes in order to prevent metal-to-metal contact of the spinning rotors and minimize blow-by of gas inside the case. All of these functions of oil are necessary for the compressor to perform properly. The type of oil used, either synthetic or mineral, is highly dependant on the service and composition of gas that the machine is compressing.

Synthetic oils (Polyglycol) are used mainly in dry gas applications. These oils have the ability to resist hydrocarbon breakdown. lf the discharge temperature remains high, these oils are also acceptable for use in a wet gas environment.
Mineral oils are used in wet gas applications. These oils are cheaper to use, but have an affinity to absorb the gas. lf a mineral oil is used inside the compressor, a careful oil maintenance plan must be in place to monitor the dilution of the oil over time. With the dilution of oil, comes viscosity breakdown, leading to higher temperatures and increased wear on the compressor.
The oil system on board a screw compressor is a closed system. This means that oil should not have to be added to the reservoir very often. The oil is continuously recycled from discharge, through a cooler and back to suction. lf the oil level is constantly getting low, then the oil is either moving down the sell line indicating a collapsed filter in the oil separator, or there is an oil leak somewhere else in the system. Oil is injected at various locations within the compressor. Table 5.1 identifies the importance of oil throughout different parts of the compressor. Oil is injected at the suction port; it is also injected via the slide valve, as well as through the bearings into the rotor area. The typical injection flow rate for oil in a screw compressor is approximately 7 - 9gpm of oil per 100CFM of capacity and is also dependent on the differential gas pressure. Too much oi! being injected can cause an increase in horsepower consumption. and not enough oil injection can cause premature compressor failure due to lack of lubrication and high discharge temperatures.

53

EA*ffi#E**:-rrEtr-r

Table 5.1 - Lubrication and the Effects

Journal Lubrication

Radial Bearings (Side & Main)

Oil wedge Heat removal

Thrust Bearings Balance Piston


Balance Piston Rotors

Thrust force offset Thrust force offset


Rotor seal Compression heat suppression
Oil wedge Heat removal

Oil lnjection

Mechanical Seal Lubrication

Mechanical Seal

Gear Lubrication Capacity Control

lntegral Gear
where applicable

Gear lubrication Heat removal


Hydraulic capacity control

Slide valve

54

ETffiHTIEfT

5.2 Temperature

A temperature rise in a screw compressor is of significant


importance for the successful operation and maintenance of the compressor package. During the compression cycle, heat is generated continuously along the rotor lengths. The temperature rise in an oil-flooded screw compressor is controlled by the injection of oil throughout the compressor housing. lf temperatures inside the compressor become excessive, problems with oil breakdown, deposits and thermal stresses may develop, leading to the premature failure of the unit. Furthermore, if too much oil is injected, or the injection temperature of the oil is too low, problems of condensation inside the equipment may occur. lt is very important that an adequate amount of oil is injected at the right temperature in order to maintain an appropriate discharge temperature. There are severa! factors that must be addressed when determining the temperature rise of the gas inside the compressor. First, and most important, the type of oil used and its physical properties (ie. specific heat, density, etc.) play a vital role in the amount of heat that it wil! remove during compression. Along with the type of oil used, the amount of oil injected will also have an effect on the end temperature. Molecular weight of the gas, compressor RPM and compression ratio a!! have a hand in the determination of the discharge temperature; which in turn determines the oil system characteristics. The lighter the gas, the higher the temperature rise will be for a given compression ratio, as wel! as the higher the compression ratio the higher the temperature rise. There are many factors that influence the temperature rise in a screw compressor. Equation 5.1 can help estimate the rise in temperature of the gas inside the screw compressor with oil injection.

55

E fr*-ffi

ffiF-{ Tt Er-r

T2

-T1 +
where:

[t+)'"'

-']xrxE,
E"
(Eq. 5.1)

Tr = Suction temperature ('R) Tz = Discharge temperature ('R) Pr = Suction pressure (PSIA) Pz = Discharge pressure (PSIA) E. = Cooling effects of oil (approx 50%) Eu = Adiabatic efficiency (approx 75%)

5.3 Keys to Long Compressor Life 5.3.1 Oil Management Good oil management is essential in the proper operation of the screw compressor. Proper oil management includes keeping the temperature of the oil steady in order to maintain proper viscosity. As well, it is imperative that the oil pressure in the system remains at some point above gas discharge pressure in order for the oilto flow through the machine. Finally, the quality of the oil should be occasiona!!y monitored both visually and through a good oil analysis. This is to determine if there are any internal problems that may begin to appear such as particulates in the oil, high dilution of oil, etc.

5.3.2 Proper Vi Settings Maintaining the correct Vi is critical for the compressor to achieve high levels of run time without failure. lmproper Vi settings will result in higher than necessary wear rates as well as increased pulsations and vibrations in the equipment. Periodic checks of the Vi should be made, especially as field pressures change.

56

El-E'-T*-ffifit EHTII=n

5.3.3 Shut Down Procedures lf the compressor is shut down for more than three to four months a special procedure must be followed to ensure a safe and successful startup in the future. First, shut both the inlet and discharge stop valves. Then disconnect the power supply and al! air sources. !nside the contro! panel, place a moisture-absorbing compound such as silica gel to preserve the panel. lf there is water-cooling on board, drain allwater and other liquids from the system ie. from the inlet separator, to prevent corrosion. Place warning tags on the compressor control system, starter and all the closed stop valves. Finally, every month the oil pump should be run (where applicable) and the compressor should be turned by hand ten to fifteen revolutions. Prior to the startup the oil must be changed for a fresh charge into the system.

57

E-tr*EHTIEI-I

6.0 MAINTENANCE

AND TROUBLE.SHOOTING

58

EI.EETEEHTIEII'I

6.1

Maintenance

The implementation of a good maintenance program wil! ensure that you will be able to maximize the compressor run-time as well as minimize the maintenance dollars spent on the asset. Table 6.1 is a guideline for the maintenance and operation of a screw compressor. Table 6.1 - Operation and Maintenance Schedule Guidelines

Operation Suction Pressure Discharge Pressure


Suction Temperature

Time lnterval

Daily Daily Daily Daily Daily Daily Daily Daily Daily

Discharge Temperature
Lube Temperature

Lube Pressure Lube Differential Pressure

lnlet Differential Pressure


Lube Level Engine Speed

Daily

59

E'T'-ffi

EHTIEII-I

Low lnlet Pressure Shutdown Low Discharge Press. Shutdown High Discharge Press. Shutdown High Oil Diff. Press. Shutdown High Discharge Temp. Shutdown High Oil Temperature Shutdown Low Cooling Water Press. Shutdown Sample Lube Oil to Check Appearance and Run an Oil Analvsis Change Lubricant Change Oil Filter Clean Oil Strainers Check Noise Level Check Slide Valve Actuator and Settings Check Vi Setting (variable Vi units only) Check Electric Motor Bearings

Monthly Monthly Monthly Monthly Monthly Monthly Monthly Every 1,000 hours for the first 6,000 hours and then every 2,OO0 hours thereafter Every 2,000 hours or 3 months up to a maximum of 6 months in coniunction with an oil analvsis. Whenever oil is changed or differential pressure is greater than 10psi Whenever lubricant is changed Daily Monthly Monthly Yearly

60

E'T*.$ffiEHTIEN

Lubricate Electric Motor Bearings


Check Coupling Alignment

Yearly Yearly Yearly Every 6 Months Every 6 Months Every 6 Months Every 3 Months until required cleaning frequency is established. Every 3 years or 24,OOO hours

Tighten Mounting Bolts lnspect Rotor End Play lnspect Oi! Separator Mesh Pad Element lnspect Oil Separator Filter Elements lnspect Cleanliness
Replacement of Seals and Bearings (radial and thrust)

61

E-I*-ffi[

EH

-rlEtt-t

6.2 Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting a compressor can be one of the most frustrating experiences to work through due to the fact that there are so many different variables that can contribute to an equipment problem. The following chart is presented as a guideline to work with in troubleshooting a screw compressor. This information has been compiled from different manufacturers and field service reports, and is not to be used as the solution to all problems with a piece of equipment. As with any problem, gather all relevant information and make visual and audible inspections in order to prevent the unnecessary replacement of expensive compressor components. Some of the more obvious things to look and listen for are:

a. c. d.
b.

Damaged tubing Loose wiring Any loose fittings Unfamiliar compressor, pump, or engine noises

Table 6.2 - Troubleshooting


COMPRESSOR SYMPTOM

PROBABLE CAUSE A protective switch is tripped. 2 Class B timer is activated. 3 No power or air supply to
1

Compressor fails to start

Compressor shut down immediately after starting

Compressor does not load or unload


Low oil pressure

control circuit. Bad or wrong connections. Bad or blown fuses. Defective pre-lube pump (where applicable). 1. Low oil pressure. 2. Cold oil. 3. High discharge temperature. 4. Shut down switch(s) malfunctions. 5. Oil filter differentialtoo hiqh. 1. Leak in control lines. 2. Restriction in control Iines. 3. lmproperlv adiusted control. 1. Plugged oil strainer 2. Plugged oil filter. 3. Low oil charge. 4. Low oilviscosity. 5. Worn oil pump (where applicable).
4 5 6

62

ET*trEHTIET-f

High oil pressure Low oil temperature

1. Cold oil. 2. Oil pressure regulator is not


set DroDerlv.

1. Thermal valve element is


defective. Oil heater or thermostat defective. 1. Thermal valve element defective. 2. Cooler fan not working (defective start switch). 3. Dirty oil cooler. 4. Low oilviscositv 1. High injection oil temperature. 2. Plugged oil strainer. 3. Abnormal operating condition (high discharge pressure or low suction pressure). 4. Wrong Vi. 5. Low compressor oil. 6. Mixing valve defective. 7. Plugged oi! filter. 8. Dirtv oil cooler. 1. Excessive pressure drops in lines. 2. Capacity control not modulatino. 1. Oil not returning to compressor. 2. Defective or improperly installed oil separator gaskets. 3. Excessive oil charge in svstem.

2.

High oil temperature

igh

ischarge temperature

Low inlet pressure

High oi! consumption

63

E-E*MHTIEN

Motor runs hot

1. Too many

2. 3. 4. 5.

starts within a short period of time. Excessive current draw. Low voltage (never less than 9OYo of nameplate rating). Restricted ventilation. High ambient temperature
(>1 1O"F).

6. lnsufficient or excessive lube

7. Defective bearings.
Excessive compressor vibration

in bearings.

2. Loose anchoring. 3. Misalignment. 4. Oil compression (excessive


lubrication).

1. Wrong

Vi.

64

E,*-.@HHTIEI-I

7.O PERFORMANCE CURVES AND EQUIPMENT

MONITORING

65

EITT'EHTIEII'I

7.1 Loading Curves

The following graph represents a typical loading curve for a screw compressor in natural gas service. The curve shows the maximum capacity of the compressor along with the horsepower utilized at various suction pressures. The curves are typically developed with maximum engine RPM and a constant discharge pressure.

.-,

66

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0081

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:

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67

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EI.ETEHTIEN

7.2 Compressor Evaluation Sheets and Diagnostic Reports

Attached are the latest evaluation forms for the screw compressor. Page 69 contains a copy of the field data sheet that operators will fill out for analysis. When filling it out, it is very important that the data is collected with good accurate gauges. As well, gauges should be read to the degree of precision that they were designed, in order to prevent errors in the reports. Page 70 is a copy of the report that is generated based on the information provided in the field data sheet.

68

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P.ET...TY E EITIFR.ESSER, I"III.H.A.EEi.IEH
T
rJ5_Fpr_(lt

Frame l,lanufacturer Franre Llodel T]tre


Profi I e

Mycom

Company I'lodule Humber Compressor Hame Eompre=r'rr Lo,:ation Receigt Point Location Eleuation -fa=l

tlanadian l.latural Resourees Limited 90f4


CnLLIHG LnHE l-11 LSn 01-1'l-7rl-t3 W4
HOVL STATIEH 1d4?

16[VLRE
Hel i ctsl

leo I
I
I

IEffiiic

9074
trJ-06;

E"*-o*
,lr

asymmetric
1E3.t
1.65

l0fE.1

Eoter Iiameter[mmJ L/tr Ratio Grp Size [in.]


tiear Eatio

[.[03
2.te

I I I

Prnduction

rr
r:uerirrur

oo*rrir*

ilantr{acturer [',lodel Description I'laximum EPl,l I'liri mum Horsepo,r+er Running 5pe*d Horsepo+er Used

Czterpi
I S00

I I

ar Llanr:facturer I'lndel Humber Horsepou,,er Eraw Llax Design Pressure Thermal Trans. 35llll Series

ESSOETA

ee0 1710
180

Llix Eesign Temp

Co,tpressor

Comp''essor Oil

Eotor Eiameter
Rotor Length

0il Fressure 0il Filter Oifferential


lnjection Temp 0il Erit Temp Ealance Piston Pressure

tiap Size
Temperature Suction Temperature 0ischarge FressurE 5usti,f,n Fressure Eischarge Compression Ralio 0ptimum Ul Setting

[il

Bil Flov
Heat Rejected

0il L,lrcosity
Last

Port 9etting or Fired

ti

0il Filter

Ehange

Slide 1lalue Prsition c Effi+iency Mechanical Efficiency Compression Efficien+y Duerall Effi+iency Thrust Load

Fuel Gas LHV


Eas k-trtblue

st. Fuel fonsumption


Or+rhruJ Hours
Comp 0uerhaul EnEine TtrF End Engine Eottom End T,rtal lime sn Unit

0uer/Under Compression Compre=sor EPI'l Compressor Flow

Corrrpressor

0il

0uer Eompressien Under Compression High Tempereture Gas Suction Prpssure Eeclina Coalesing Filier Slide lblue Position High Thrust Load Beering Fatigue Life Dste of La5t Ga= ,{nalluis

0il

Pressure

High Oil lnjection Temp High Balance PiEton Pressure

Lrv

Ealance PiEton Pressure

Itlin ltlachine Oiff '+rJo Pump [,,lin l,lachine Biff v/ Pump tlil Filter Eifferential
5 HiUHLTSIS REOUIREO"

Horaepo+er [Jtilired Eoost tlapacity LJtilieed lncremerilal Production

'Eeconrnended Fo,t Sean4r


L

Hi

e.e

Elpass Dpen

R6.Tlf,Ll . DrtEiolTtE l{tHtRE VEE!t{i 1.!

70

E-Tr.ffiSXHTIEI-I

t*

Y
!-,

Y
* \/
-j

8.0 HANDY CONVERSION FACTORS

\-/
\./'

!-

71

EIIT.E

EHTIEIT'I

8.1 Handy Conversion Factors


The following conversions may come in handy when working between metric and imperial systems of units on a compressor.

PRESSURES
1

psi

= 6.8948kPa

1 mmscfd @14.696psia & 6O"F = 28.26E3M3 101.325kPa & 15"C

TEMPERATURES To convert from Centigrade

to Fahrenheit:

"F

t(9/5)x("C))+32

To convert from Fahrenheit to Centigrade:

"C =

("F-32)x(5/9)

:-

i-

72

EIT-EEM'T.!ETI-T