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The Basics of Reciprocating Compressor
A reciprocating compressor is a positive-displacement machine that uses a piston to compress gas and deliver it at high pressure. It makes gas move by trapping a fixed amount and forcing (displacing) that trapped volume into the discharge pipe.
Some positive displacement pumps use an expanding cavity or hole on the suction side and a decreasing one on the discharge side. Reciprocating compressor pumps fluid at the same speed regardless of the pressure on the inlet end.
Reciprocating compressor is often some of the most critical and expensive equipment at a production facility and deserve special attention. Gas transmission pipelines, petrochemical plants, refineries and many other industries all depend on this type of equipment.
There are widely varying lifecycle costs and reliability from reciprocating compressor installations. Many factors cause this, including but not limited to the quality of the initial specification or design, adequacy of maintenance practices and operational factors.
Almost every industrial facility utilizes various compressors, not just reciprocating compressor in their operations. The types of gases compressed include the following:
There are two main classifications of industrial compressors: intermittent and continuous flows. Intermittent or positive displacement compressors include reciprocating compressor and rotary compressor. Continuous flow includes centrifugal and axial flow types.
Reciprocating compressors are typically used where high compression ratios (ratio of discharge to suction pressures) are required per stage without high flow rates, and the process fluid is relatively dry.
Some companies use the term oil free compressor rather than reciprocating compressor to refer to the whole system when it is actually not. The term actually refers only to the compression chamber, not the compressor system as a whole or the resulting compressed air quality. Some system providers’ marketing departments conjure up the term “oil free” solely to stir up emotion with this vague and unhelpful phrase.
Compressor manufacturers produce both oil free and oil cooled systems. If so, why are oil-lubricated systems used for some applications while others use oil-free equipment? Let us have a quick look.
For a more detailed discussion for your precise operational needs, contact your Mectron representative.