EFRC Guidelines for Vibrations in Reciprocating Compressor Systems
One of the disadvantages of a reciprocating compressor is that it generates pulsations and vibrations, which, without limitation and proper attention during design, manufacturing, installation and operation, can lead to fatigue failures, inefficiency, capacity limitations and unsafe situations. There is a strong interaction between the different elements in a compressor installation and the compressor and pipe system should be treated, therefore, as one integrated system. To judge the integrity of the compressor system, vibration levels are normally applied and for this purpose, several international standards (ISO and VDI) have been developed the last decade. Besides several international standards, there is a wide variety of internal guidelines, which have been developed and are being applied by compressor manufacturers, engineering offices and end users. Most of these internal guidelines have been derived from international standards. The lack in most of the international standards (and probably also the internal guidelines) is that they do not make a good distinction between recommended vibration levels for different parts of the compressor system, e.g. cylinder, crankcase, foundation and/or different types/configurations of compressor (horizontal/vertical, high/low speed, single/double distance piece, high/low power, etc.). Within the R&D group of the European Forum for Reciprocating Compressors (EFRC) a project was started to develop an EFRC guideline which takes into account recommended vibration levels for different parts of the reciprocating compressor system. One of the tasks of the EFRC project was an interview with several leading compressor manufacturers and operators to get insight into the applied recommended vibration levels within the company. This paper will discuss the different international standards, the results of the interviews, and the first results of the EFRC guideline.