ro-flo compressor industrial applications test center

The Mystery Thickens

The compression package had seen over a decade of use, changes in location, ownership and task – leaving an uncertain history. The mystery was compounded by the fact that rebuilds did not solve the low flow performance problem.

Rotary sliding vane compressor packaged in industrial use application

Probing the Issue

Enter Matt Duel, designer, director and “chief detective” of the Rotary Test Center (RTC). When the refinery shipped the compressor to the RTC, accompanied by a consultant (a 36-year O&G vet of equipment engineering), the test stand was ready to go after securing the unit and putting the many probes in place.

Customizing the Test Procedure

Matt created a test procedure and structure customized to the refinery’s needs, but the full procedure wasn’t executed as a flow shortfall of 20-27% became immediately apparent.

Matt, of course, checked and double checked the findings with different calibration settings, different types of flow measurements and so on, but the jury was in….a significant flow problem was confirmed.

One mystery solved, but another came into view. Why? Could the original empirical test bench data have been in error? Was there a mechanical deficiency internally?

The only certainty was that the performance issue was real and quantified. The consultant agreed with RTC staff that a thorough inspection of the internals was a logical next step.

Ro-Flo Compressors staff who are affiliated with the RTC disassembled the compressor and did a thorough inspection. It didn’t take a detective to discover that a non-OEM bearing spacer ring had been installed. Would this solve the second mystery? The unit was reassembled with an OEM component and sent back to the RTC.

The RTC conducted the test procedure under watchful and curious eyes. Multiple speed and pressure settings were run as the ASME Power Test Codes and ISO standards mandated.

Mystery Solved!

The test results showed that flow was within 3% of expectation across all compressor settings. The non-OEM component was the culprit and the change out with a Ro-Flo OEM part was completely successful.

It is noteworthy that the initial testing, transportation to and from the Ro-Flo rebuild shop, and the retesting were all done on a tight timeline driven by the refinery’s shutdown schedule. Urgency applied due to the need to meet emissions or face an extended shutdown. The entire process was complete with a performing compressor on the road to the refinery in less than five days.



Solve Your Mysteries with RTC

Whether it’s related to field performance, designers needing prototype confirmation, or a warranty dispute, equipment performance can present a wide variety of questions in the Oil and Gas Industry. The RTC offers solutions to even the long-standing “mysteries” you may be facing.