Development, Field Testing and Implementation of An Automatic Variable Volume Unloading System for Reciprocating Compressors
An automatic variable volume unloading system provides the ability to smoothly load and unload a reciprocating compressor to maintain ideal operations in ever-changing process environments. Potential advantages provided by this load control system include: maintaining low exhaust emissions, optimizing available power, maximizing unit capacity, and maintaining process suction and discharge pressures. Obstacles foreseen include: reliability, stability, serviceability, and automation integration. Results desired include: increased productivity for the compressor and its operators, increased uptime, and more stable process control. This paper covers: (1) system design features, (2) two actual case studies detailing the reasons why this unloading system was selected, (3) mechanical and field considerations, (4) installation, serviceability, and operating considerations, (5) device control issues, including PC and PLC considerations, (6) preliminary costs versus return on investment analysis, and (7) examination between expected goals and goals actually achieved.