June 2014

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HP Engineering Case Histories: Case 79: Integral compressor failures

Recently, the author received information regarding the failure of a large reciprocating compressor. In this example, the pistons for power and compressor cylinders are powered by the same crankshaft...

Sofronas, T., Consulting Engineer

Recently, the author received information regarding the failure of a large reciprocating compressor. In this example, the pistons for power and compressor cylinders are powered by the same crankshaft. Compressor incident The failure was a center-main bearing. Experience has proven that such failures usually are the result of several root causes converging at the same time. Maintenance management and replacement-part quality (or lack of) contributed to the failure. The root cause of failure was not readily identifiable. Bearing failures can be caused by poor design, loss of oil supply or part wear. Most compressors are 50+ years old and are overhauled every 10 years. When there are main

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