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CENTRIFUGAL C OMPRESSOR OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE

by

H. M. Davis
Manager, Ctntrifugal Compressor Engineering Department
DELA VAL Turbine Division, Tr<nton, N. J.

Centrifugal compressors can he designed and built


w ith operation and ease of maintenance practices in
mind. Specific item;; such as off-design ;pera!.ion, bear
ings and seals, ca;;in;_; design and mounting, am! lubri
cation systems are discussed.

llugh iVI. Davis is the Manager of


Centrifugal Compressor Engineering
Department, DELAVAL Turbine Di
ui.sion of DELAVAL Turbine
Trenton, Neu1 Jersey. He is respon
sible for the organization and direl;.
tion of all engineering and drafting
functions related to the product.

lNTROl)UCTJON
The process industry has experienced tremendous
growth during the past two decades. The growth of
single line m1d continuous process plants and the in
creasing u,;;e of automation have demonstrated tbe im
portcmee of component reliability. lVIachinery user are
now demanding dependahle performance, simplicity of
op1'ration and case of maintenance. The suppliers of
centrifugal compressors have heen forced to review their
designs and sometimes to design new equipment io satis
fy these users' demands. This paper discusses the ways
in which a centrifugal compressor can be built and usf:d
t.o satisfy a customer's operating and maintenance
requirements.

Mr. Davis received a B.S. in ME


degree from Rose Polytechnic lnst
tute, Terre Haute, Ind. in 1956 mul
a8snmed his present position 1:n ]aruwry, 1970.

ABSTRACT
The operali(Jn and rnaintenance of centrifugal com
pre:;;;ors varie considerably depending upon the
speed, horsepower, and type of driver.
Typical centrifual compressors vary from high
speed, low flow applications to very large flow, low
speed machines. Each has its own operating and main
tenance problems.
(>ntrifugal compre:;sors are normally driven hy
electric motors and speed increasing gears for the lo w
flow, low horsepower applicationc;. The middle size
ranges arc usually rnotor-gear, steam turbine or gas
turbine direct connected combinations. The very large
flow, large horsepower machines are practically all steam
turbine driven with a few being driven hy ga" turbine
where natural gas fuel is available.

TYPICAL l\WLTJSTAGE CO.MPHESSOR DESIGN


A typical multistage centrifugal compressor, de
signed to meet a particular customer's needs, is shown
in Figure l. This machine consists of () impellers m
APPLICATION CHART
FOR CENTRIFUGAL
COMP RESSORS

100.000
::;
"'-'
31:
0
-'
...
1w
..J
;!!;

15
Vi

:z
0
()

10,000

STEAM
TURBINE
ORIVER
MOTOR GEAR DRIVER
STEAM TUR61NE
GAS TURBINE
MOTOR GEAR
DRIVER

__L__j__t___J__L___\___j
1 ,000 L.__L__L_____L__.J____j___L___[
0
2
4
6
s
10
12
14
16
18
20 22 24
26 28
COMPRESSOR SPEED, RPM x 10-3

Figure 1.

jl,'fulti-stage Fabricated Case Compressor.

Figure 2. Application Chart for Centrifugal Compressors.


10

CENTRIFUGAL COMPRESSOR OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE

11

to the gas being compressed. This velocity energy is


converted into increased pressure in the diffuser passage.
The cross-over passage and the return guide vanes lead
the gas to the next impeller where the compression is
continued. The volume of the gas stream is reduced as
it is compressed and each stage is designed to accept a
successively smaller flow.
RANGE OF APPLICATION
Figure 2 is a curve which shows the limits of appli
cations for centrifugal compressors in terms of flow and
speed. The speed is limited by the stresses in the im
pellers. The small flow, high speed compressors have
the same working stress levels as the large flow, low
speed machines. The compressor applications in the
low flow range are almost entirely driven by motors and
speed increasing gears. The compressors in the mid
range of flows are driven by motor-gears, steam turbines,
and some gas turbines. The large, high flow compressors
are practically all driven by steam turbines.
Figure 3.

Four-Stage Barrel Compressor.

series and is designed to compress 4000 cfm of gas from


an inlet pressure of 25 psi to a discharge pressure of
425 psi. Each impeller imparts velocity (kinetic) energy

Figure 4.

The size and operating speed of a centrifugal com


pressor have a direct effect on the operation and the
maintaining of the compressor.
A small machine such as the one shown in Figure 3,
besides having high rotating speeds, is usually high pres
sure as well. Shaft alignment is more critical since the

Turbine Driven Blast Furnace Blower.

12

PROCEEDINGS OF THE FIRST TU HBOMACHINERY SYMPOSIUM

puter analysis allows the engineer to predict these bear


ing loadings and to design a dependable maintenance
free machine.

shaft ends are small and external pipe forces must re


ceive proper attention to ensure good operation of the
equipment. Maintenance is easier due to the light weight
of the compressor components, hut the clearances of the
internal seals and hearings must be watched more closely
due to their small physical size.

Figure 5 shows the calculated and measured rotor


response curves for an eight-stage compressor rotor.
The measured values were obtained first during the
mechanical test of the compressor. Although the vibra
tion level w as less than 0.7 mils and the bearing forces
were below the design dynamic load limit, the steepness
of the vibration curve near the maximum operating
speed was understandably cauiie for concern. The rotor
was modified and retested.

A large compressor, such as the one shown in Figure


4, is more difficu It to vwrk on due to its size and weight.
The clearances between rotating and stationary parts is
less critical hut the shaft alignment i more difficult to
obtain, although more liberal tolerances are acceptable,
because the components are not easy to move and special
lifting facilities are required. The foundation for these
large machines is also of special concern because unless
the supports are de,.igned, constructed, and maintained
properly the machinery may never achieve trouble-free
operation.

These results are shown in


6. The
test
shows quite low vibration amplitudes and low bearing
loading. The compressor, once in actual service, w ill
become unbalanced due to build-up on the rotor. The
difference between the calculated and measured response
curves shows that this compressor will be tolerant !o
con:oiderable rotor deposits before it w ill have to be
cleaned. ! ightly loaded j ournal bearings, such as those
used in compressors, can he unstable at high speeds, and
a number of "'olutions to this problem have been used.
The tiltinf!; pad hearing, like the one shown in Figure 7,
is widely usNl in compressors. Each shoe tilts inde
pendently to maintain its load carrying hydrodynamic
pressure wt.dgf:. Extensive service in many types of
cornprr:ssors have proven the dependability of this
hearing.

ROTOR DYNAMICS
Modern process compressors are buill in accordance
with the API specification 617. One important item
defined by this specification is the natural frequencies
of the rotor. These natural frequencies Inusl not occur
in the variable speed nwg:e of the compressor. The dy
namics of a rotor can be turlied w ith the help of the
computer and the effect on the rolrr of operative till
balance due to build-up misalig:nnu,n!. can be evaluated.
These rotor unbalm1ces w ill load the bearings. Com-

FOR EIGHT STAGE ROTOR

ROTOR RESPONSE CURV


22

2 0

-+

CALCULATED

WITH UNBALANCE A T

ANTINODE OF 2nd CRITICAL

300%

MEASU R ED WITH NONCONTACT PICKUP

1.8

<t
Cl

U)

_j

:E

z
w

w
u
<t
_j
0...
U')

200%

1.6
200%

14

f2

(!)
z

0:

1.2
150%

1.0

<t
w
co
w
>

.a

100%

.6
4

50%

2
0

w
u
0::

8
SPEED,

Figure 5.

10

II

12

13

RPM

Eight-Stage Rotor Response Curves.

14

15

16

17

_j

w
a::

CENTHIFt:GAL COMPHESSOH OI'EHATION AND MAINTENANCE

2.2
-

1.8
<(
c:i

250% w
200%

0
w
w
a.
(/)

!z 1.2

w
:IE

:IE
:::>
:::!1

1.0
<(
...J

g, .8

300%

+ - + MEASURED WITH NON-C ONTAC T PICK-UP

1.6

(/)

CALC ULATED WITH UNBALANCE AT ANTI-NODE OF 2nd CRITICAL

150%

ALLOWA BLE DYNAMIC L OAD

.6

(.)
a:::
0
LL.

(.!)
z

a:

<(
w
III

....
100%
50%

.4

.2

Figure

6.

Rotor Response Cun1es for Modified Eigh t Stage Rotor.

OFF-DESIGN OPERATIO
Most compressor users take trouhle-free mechanical
operation for granted, hut they are concerned with com
pressor performance.
Figure a shOI\S a typical com
pressor performance curve. l"ncomplicatt>d and trouble
free operation can be expected in the stable performance
region to the right of the surge line. Surging, or un
stable operation, can occur in an centrifugal compresor
1rhen the inlet flow is reduced to approximately 60; of
the design inlet flow or lower.
Compressors that pro
duce large pressure ratios. ratio of inlet pressure to dis
charge pressure lend to have more 1iolent surp:es. \\"hen
the compressor is operated repeatedly or for prolonp:ed
periods of time in surge the pressure forces can damage
the internals of the machine.
For tho>'e applic-ations
where frequent surge operation can be expected the com
pressor internals should he made of steel. instead of the
more common cast iron material.
Figure <) sho11 s the
details of a five-slap:e compressor which hal' "heels, dif
fusers and return 'anes all made of steel plate material
desip:ned lo withstand surging.
When the compressor
is operated in surl!e continuously it absorbs approxi
mately -l-0'/r of the rated horsepower. howe\er the flow
thru-put is greatlv reduced and under some conditions
stops completely. The power required to dri1e the com
pressor in surge is therefore largely com erted to heal.
This causes excessi1e temperature build-up inside the
compressor and in a matter of seconds, if the conditions

are se1ere enough, can melt the soft lahHinth seals "hieh
control the internal leakage.
The co11pressor perform
ance suffer once the seal,; are damaged and the machine
must he opened and the st>als repl ced to restore it to
the ori;.dnal condition. Excessi1e temperatures in a com
pressor ha1ing a balance drum lain rinth seal made of
a soft material 11ith a low melting lmperalure can melt
the seal.
This will upset the rotor thrust balance and
01erloacl the thrust hearing:.
When the thrul hearin!!
fails the rotor 11ill shift axially and the impellers wi i l
ruh ai!ainst the stationary paris causini! further damai!e.
To help a1oid these operalinl! problems the compressor
can he JH"olicled "ith a hii!h temperature balance drum
seal made from compressed metal fihers that \1 ill \1ith
sland se1eral times the normal operating: discharge tem
peratures.
Another safety feature that can he employed is a
high temperature s11itch located in the balance drum
leakage pipe, as shown in Figure 10.
It is \\TOll/! to
locale this switch in the discharge pipe. In this location
the S\1itch does not protect the compressor since there
is not sufficient discharge flow to carry the heat to the
switch when the compressor is operated in surge. The
balance drum leakage pipe is the correct location for
this prolecli1e de1ice. There is leakage flow in this -pipe
e1en \1hen the comprcor is being operated completely
shut-off.

PROCEEDINGS OF THE FIRST TURBOMACHINERY SYMPOSIUM

14

TF

"B"

Bearing Housing
(Upper Half)
:-;Pal
::i;,:ing

Dowel-
Pin

(J tl Seal
(Split)

Pad
Pin

Locking
Oil Outlet
Oil Inlet

(2

Holes)

"A"

Screw

(Both Sides)

Bearing Housing

"B"

(Lower Half)

SECTION "A-A"

SECTION "B-B"

Figure 7.

Tilting Pad Bearing.

NORMAL MAINTENANCE ITEMS


It is reasonable to expect trouble-free operation for
periods up to two or three years between internal inspec
tions for heavy duty commercial machinery; however
some applications where the gas stream being compressed
is extremely dirty and internal washing cannot be used
it may be necessary to shut down in o rder to clean the
compressor internals to restore full flow capacity.
The internal seals that prevent leakage around the
impellers are normally of the labyrinth type, as shown
in Figure llA. They consist of a series of circumferen
tial knife points that are positioned closely to the rotating
impeller. In order for the compressor to maintain the
design performance these knife points must not be dam
aged by rubbing, erosion, corrosion, or plugged-up w ith
foreign matter. These seals are normal wearing parts
and spares should be maintained in anticipation that
they will need to be replaced after an extended operating
period.
Labyrinth seals are used in compressors w ith vari
ous design features that w ill extend their life and make

COM P RESSOR PERFOR MANCE CURVE

UNSTABLE

-- -- - - --- -0

a:

...
a:
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(I)
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-- -- -- 1- ..
-- ----

... ,
7

-"

STABLE

.L

'l

r--

r--"-

t--t----.

l'f'--...

"%

100%

'b..

SPEED

""

INLET VOLUME
LOCATION OF SURGE

Figure 8.

Compressor Performance Curve.

CENTRIFUGAL COMPRESSOR OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE

15

ticular component of the compressor that commands


respect.
Oil film seals consist of basically two stationary
bushings which surround the rotating shaft with a few
thousands of an inch clearance, as shown in Figure 12.
Seal oil is introduced between the bushings and leaks in
both directions along the shaft. "0'' rings in the seal
housing prevent leakage around the outside of the bush
ings. The seal oil is maintained at some pressure higher
than the gas pressure inside the compressor. The differ
entia! pressure across the inner bushing is usually only
a few pounds per square inch to limit the amount of
inward oil leakage. This leakage is collected in a leak
age chamber that is separated from the gas stream by
a labyrinth seal and is drained away through a drain
trap. If the gas being compressed contaminates the seal
leakal!e. the leakage is discarded. The outer bushing
takes the total pressure drop from seal oil pressure to
the atmospheric drain.

Figure 9. Steel Diaphragms Installed in the Compressor


Inner Barrel.

them less acceptable to damage. One popular version


is to machine the knives in the rotating part and to posi
lion a stationary sleeve of a soft material around the
points to obtain a seal, as shown in Fil!ure llC and liD.
The clearances between the rotating and stationary parts
of the seal can be reduced because it is intended that
the rotating points cut groo\es in the adjacent material
under normal operation. This type seal allows the com
pressor to operate with higher efficiency due to reduced
leakage, longer life because the thin knife points are
made of steel and resist erosion. Also in this design
considerable radial rotor motion can be tolerated without
altering the effectheness of the seal. The stationary
part of these seals have been manufactured in babbitt
lined steel, aluminum. non-metallic compounds, and
compressed steel fiber materials. Each has its own ad
vantages when considering the particular operatinl!
environment of the compressor.
In many compressors labyrinths are also used for
the shaft seals. Where the small leakage allowed by
labyrinth shaft seals can not be tolerated, either the oil
film or the mechanical contact shaft seals can be used.
Compressor shaft seals of the oil barrier type pre
sent potential maintenance and operational problems. A
recent study of a large cross-section of compressor users
showed that approximately l .1 of all compressor failures
and loss of production was due to malfunctioning oil
film type seals. Regardless of the cause. whether it was
design, operation, or maintenance it points out a par

Oil film seals can cause many different types of


operating and maintenance problems. The most com
mon is excessive inward leakal!e due to increased clear
ances between the bushing and the shaft. When these
clearances become large enough the leakage chamber
becomes flooded and oil spills over through the labyrinth
and enters the compressor. This malfunction can cause
many operating problems ranging from the nuisance of
having to continuously add oil to the resenoir to con
taminating the main process gas. The bushin clear
ances can increase in time due to corrosion or erosion
of the inner surfaces of the bushing, wiping due to radial
shaft vibration, or dirt in the seal oil.
Another shaft seal, which is not as common in
process compressors, is the mechanical contact type. This
seal has the advantal!es of being able to maintain low
inner leakaf!e ratio 11ith higher oil-to-as differential
pressures and therefore makes the seal oil pressure con
trol system simpler. The seal has a spring loaded carbon
face that runs against a radial face of the seal collar.
The complete shaft seal either consists of two mechani
cal contact seals in a back to back arrangement or a
combination of the mechanical contact seal on the gas
side and a bushing seal on the atmospheric side, as shown
in Figure 13. These mechanical contact seals have been
used for many years to seal aainst pressure up to 1200
psi in natural gas service. They presently are beinl!
tested for pressures as high as 2500 psi differential
across a single sealinf! face. The mechanical contact seal
has an added advantage when applied to high pressure
applications in that the radial sealing faces have a mini
mum effect on the rotor dynamics, whereas oil film bush
in seals can lose their free floating feature and can
upset the stability of the rotor when operatin at high
speeds.
High speed compression machinery must be proper
ly balanced, especially when it is designed to operate
between the 1st and 2nd lateral critical speeds. The
correct method is to first dynamically balance each im
peller on an arbor, and to check balance the rotor hal
ance as each impeller is installed on the shaft. The run
out of the shaft must be watched closely as each of the
impellers are shrunk on the shaft. Abnormal change in

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27

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OtL DRA\t.J

CENTRIFUGAL COMPRESSOR OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE

LOW
PRESSURE

S TATIONARY

HIGH PRESSURE

LOW
PRESSURE
LEAKAGE
PATH

LEAKAGE
PATH

S I MPLIES T DESIGN
LABYRINTH MATERILS
ALUMINUM, BRONZE,
BAB B I T, OR STEE L

STATIONARY

17

HIGH
PRESSURE

ROTATING
SURFACE (STEEL)

MORE DIFFIC ULT T O


MANUFAC TURE B U T PRO DUC E S
A TI G HTER S EAL
SAME MATERIAL AS II A

HIGH
PRESSURE

LOW
PRESSURE
LEAKAGE
PATH
ROTATING

RO TATING

STEEL

SURFACE

ROTATING LABYRINTH TYPE


BEFORE OPERATION
SLEEVE MATERIAL

ROT A TI NG LABYRINTH AF TER


OPERATION. RADIAL AND AXIAL
MOVEMENT OF ROTOR CUTS
GROOVES IN SLEEVE MATE RIAL
TO SIMULATE STAG GERE D TYPE
SHOWN IN FIG. II B

BABBIT, ALUMINUM,
NON-METALIC OR OTHE R
SOF T MATERIAL

D
Figure 1 1.

Compressor Labyrinth Seals.

shaft runout indicates that the impeller is not square


on the shaft and must be adjusted before checking the
balance. When the balance check, after installing an
impeller on the shaft, indicates that an unbalance exists,
the correction is made to the last impeller that was
mounted. This procedure if strictly followed can pro
duce a well balanced rotor even when the balancing is
done in a low speed balance machine. Figure 1-t shows
a typical low speed balance machine. Some users rou-

tinely check the balance of complete rotors and make


corrections on the first and last impellers. This practice
is wrong for flexible rotors that have more than three
impellers. The only sure way to balance a completely
assembled high speed rotor is to use a high speed bal
ance machine. The rotor unbalance must be checked
throughout the operating speed range and any correc
tions that are made to the rotor must be made at the
plane of unbalance. Most balance shops in this country

18

PROCEEDINGS OF THE FIRST TL'RBOMACHINERY SYMPOSIUM

SEAL GAS CONNE CTION


TO SE AL OIL REGU LATOR
CASIN G OR
END COVER

WIND BA CK
LABYRINTH

ATMOSPH ERIC
PRESSURE

HIGH
PRESSURE
GAS

HIGH PRESSURE
SEAL L EAKAG E
DRAIN
S E AL O I L
SUPP LY

Figure 12.

Bushing (Oil Film) Seal and Bearing Assembly.

CENTRIFUGAL COMPRESSOR OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE

19

MECHANICAL CONTACT SEAL WITH A TM OS BUSHING


DESIGNED FOR SEPARATE LUBE 8 SEAL OIL SYSTEMS
INCLUDING BUFFER GAS INJEC TION

SEAL GAS
TO PR. REGULATOR

SEAL OIL SUPPLY

CONTAC T
SEAL

ATMOS PHRIC
PRESSURE

ROTATI NG
COLLAR

HIGH
PRESSURE GAS

BUFFER GAS
SUPPLY
SEAL LEAKAGE DRAIN
(H I GH PRESSURE)

SEAL OIL
DISCHARGE
Figure 13.

Mechanical Contact Seal.

SEAL BUSHING ORAl N


ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE
( LOW PRESSURE )

PHOC'EEDINGS OF THE FWST TCIWOMACHINEHY SYMPOSil'M

20

The alit!nment beh1een adjacent shafts ends of all


rotating equipment in the compressor train is very im
portant to the operation and maintenance of the equip
ment.
All compressors. gears. motors. turbines, etc.
have some tolerance for misalignment: however excep t
for rotor balance. misalignment i s the most frequent
cause of running problems. Excessive misalignment can
force the rotating equipment to vibrate and shorten the
life of the hearings and gear ty pe couplings.
\\'hen
mi>'alip1ed shafts are rotated the gear teeth in the cou
pling mu.-t slide hack and forth on each other.
Thi.
causes bending moments anti forces to be imposed upon
the shaft ends. The shaft end will fail if the conditions
are sewre enough or the coupling huh will come loose
on the shaft.

Figure 1-1.

L01c Speed Balancing .lfachine.

have halancint! equipment that operates below 1500 rpm.


The pholot!raph in Fit!ure 1.3 shows a balance machine
that 11ill balance a 1000 lb. rotor at speeds up to 7000
rpm. The machine will handle most high speed flexible
compressor rotors.
Experience has shown that hit!h speed compressor
rotors can he successfull balanced in a low speed bal
ancing machine ''hen the progressi\e impeller by im
peller method is followed. The compressor is normally
subjected to a mechanical test in the shop before ship
ping.
During these tests the \ibration amplitudes and
frequencies are measured.
\\'hen the compressor vi
brates excessi\ely the rotor is rebalanced in the hit!h
speed balancing machine. howe\er this is normally not
required. When a spare rotor is purchased or repaired
after the compresor has been installed the rotor should
be ghen a high speed balance check in order to prevent
delays later in the users plant.

}lost couplings are mounted on a tapered shaft end.


It is common that a key and keyway he provided to
transmit the torque through the connection.
The cou
pling hub is pushed upon the shaft taper by a nul which
also pre\ents it from coming off the taper during opera
tion.
This type of coupling hub mounting is satisfac
tory for low speed-low horsepower applications hut can
he a limiting factor for modern high s peed machinen.
A much better method is to shrink the coupling huh
upon the shaft taper using hydraulic pressure and jack
ing tools. as shown in Fit!ure 16. This type of mounting
allows for at least twice as much torque to be trans
mitted through the same size shafts w it h the same stress
levels. This is possible since the key is no longer need
ed and the kenrav stress concentration is eliminated.
The misalignmnt .forces from the coupling teeth will
not loosen the coupling huh on the shaft because i t is
fitted on the shaft taper w ith considerable interference.
To mount a coupling hydraulically, the shaft end is
drilled to prodde an oil passage for pumping high pres
sure oil between the shaft taper and the coupling huh
hore. A hydraulic hand pump is connected to the shaft
end through an adapter.
The hub is stretched w ith
hydraulic pressure and the .iack screws (Figure l6A I.
are useq to push the coupling huh up on the taper a
speeified distance.
The jack screws hold the hub in
the correct position while the oil pressure is released.
After the oil has drained the mounting plate is removed.
a nut is mounted on the shaft end I Figure 16B I to
protect the threads.
To remo\e the coupling hub the
procedure is re\ersed and the huh is "popped-off" against
the tools \lith hHlraulic pressure. This type of coupling
mounting pro\ides for an easily mounted huh that w ill
transmit as much torque as the shaft material will allow.
Good shaft alig:nment must be maintained under
conditions if trouble-free operation is to he
achieYed. To accomplish this the thermal gro\1th of the
indilidual elements must he taken into account \1hen
alignint! compressor equipment in the cold conditions.
For instance, the diameter and len;!!t h of a compressor
case will increase due to the heat of compression.

(h namic

Figure 15.

High Speed Balancing .1/achine.

ormally the casing is supported at the horizontal


centerline to allow the case to grow in diameter 11 ithout
changing the position of the !<haft. The mounting feet
on one end of the ease are holted and doweled to the
foundation. as shown in Figure 17.
The opposite end
of the case must he allo11ed to move axiallv as the casino
expands. This has been accompli,..hed in the tradition

HIGH PRESSURE TUBING


TO HYDRAULIC PUMP
SHAFT END
CH ECK NUT

"

o " RING

01 L PRESSURE

MOUNTING
ADAPTOR

MOUNT ING TOOLS

MOUNT E D

A
Figure 1 o.

B
Hydraulically .ll ounted Coup/ing and Tools.

COUPLI NG

22

PROCEEDINGS OF THE FIRST TURBOMACHINERY SYMPOSIUM

COMPRESSOR

FIXED FOOT

SLIDING KEY

FIXED PEDESTAL
COMPRESSOR-.......-/
'JI.d't-TEFLON SHIM
FOOT
f.L'I!FIXED PEDESTAL

DETAIL OF
SLID I N G FOOT

Figure 17.

Compressor Case with Sliding Mounts.

CENTRIFl:GAL COMPRESSOR Ol'ERATION AND MAINTENANCE

Figure 18.

Compressor Case with Centerline Support.

23

PROCEEDINGS OF THE FIRST TCRBO.MACHINERY SYMPOSIUM

E
PARALLEL

SERIES FLOW

FLOW

BASIC

SUCTION IN

COMPRESSOR

ENDS

F
PARA LLEL
FLOW
SUCTION IN
CE NTER

-tt===:==::;:=;:::=rt

SERIES FLOW
TWO COOLING
POINTS

SERIES F LOW
ONE COOL! NG
POINT
SUCTION ON ENDS
COOL ENDS

.Q.

SERIES

SERIES FLOW
WITH DOUBLE

F L OW

ONE COOLING

FLOW INLET

POINT

AND SIDE
S TREAM

SUCTION IN
CENTER

WARM ENDS

Figure 19.

Eight Compressor Case Configurations.

25

CENTRIFUGAL COMPRESSOR OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE

compressor mount with holddown shoulder bolts that


allow the case to slide axially upon lubricated shims but
limit the vertical movement of the case. With this ar
rangement a vertical key and keyway are located be
tween the case and foundation on the vertical centerline
to prevent transverse movement of the case. This mount
ing requires a special foundation to support the vertical
key and also regular lubrication of the shims.

:-t Reduced po11er required to compress gas results


in a smaller dri1er.

The compressor case mounting shown in Figure 18


allows for thermal growth of the case in all directions,
provides centerline support for the case, has four mount
ing pads that are all bolted and doweled to the founda
tion, and requires no maintenance. The ruggedness of
this support will allow for considerable external forces
to be exerted upon the casing without changing the shaft
alignment.

6. Smaller compressor and higher speed to do the


same compression job. Reduced foundation and main
tenance problems.

INTERNAL CONFIGURATION
The process market places very demanding and ever
changing requirements upon the selection and arrange
ment of the compressor internals and external casing
nozzle configuration. Centrifugal compressor selections
should be made with the ease of operation and mainte
nance aspects in mind as well as the compressing re
quirements. Figure 19 shows the most typical arrange
ments of the compressor internals and outer casing in
the form of simplified diagrams.
The operation and maintenance advantages are
listed for each as follows:
l. Single compressor body instead of two or more
results in a simpler system.
2. Hot discharge at center of case to reduce lubri
cation and oil seal problems.

L Back to hack impellers reduce natural rotor


thrust and allows for more internal seal wear hefore over
loading thrust hearing. Increase time l1etween 0\erhauls.

5. Cold inlet at center of case to reduce lubrication


and oil seal prohlems.

7. Single inlet to better suit external piping ar


rangement.
B. Single discharge to better suit external piping
arrangement.
<), No external balance piston leakage pipe. Com
pressor can tolerate increased balance seal 11ear without
upsetting thrust balancing s stem and 0\erloading thrust
bearing.
10. Hot or cold sections of case are adjacent to
reduces thermal gradients and distortion of the case.
:\lakes alignment easier to achie1 e.

CONCLCSION

This paper has been presented to show that centrifu


gal compressors can be designed, applied, and selected
llith the customers operation and waintenance require
'
ments in mind, without making an ompromises in the
actual compressor performance.
. of the items cov
ered in this paper would make
itable subjects for
separate, full length, presentations, lipwe1er the time and
space available does not make thif-.treatment possible.
.