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Field Performance Testing for Centrifugal Compressors

By Nathan Poerner, Tim Allison, Hector Delgado, Southwest Research Institute |

Determining the field performance of centrifugal compressors can benefit operation and maintenance of the equipment. Presented here is an overview of the parameters that must be measured and calculated for effective testing Compressors are used in all areas of production and in many different sectors of the chemical process industries (CPI). Production facilities can have a number of compressors of different types and in a range of sizes. The three main compressor types are centrifugal, axial and reciprocating. This article focuses on centrifugal compressors (Figure 1) and how field performance testing can be carried out in this equipment class to benefit the end-users, manufacturers and maintenance personnel. The benefits of field testing for existing units include the ability to quantify performance deterioration as a function of equipment age, to determine if and when certain maintenance tasks should be performed, and to identify specific equipment components for product improvement. For new units, field testing helps validate product performance. Figure 1. Performance tests on a multi-stage centrifugal compressor, like the one shown here, will quantify the factors of energy, head, work and flow[/caption] Performance principles Regardless…
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