An Update on the Use of Screw Piles for Mounting Reciprocating Compressor Skid Packages
Screw piles have long been used as a foundation system for equipment, buildings, towers and other stationary objects. Screw piles consist of a steel pipe with a helix at the end that can be screwed into the ground. Screw piles have recently been used as a foundation system under a variety of reciprocating compressor skid packages instead of more traditional concrete foundations. The screw piles have the advantage of a faster installation process and are typically lower cost. However, they must also be able to adequately support the compressor package and all of its inherent dynamic loads to control or prevent excessive vibration. In the last few years, SwRI has been involved in approximately a dozen high speed compressor packages with between 1,800 and 4,800 horsepower have been installed without concrete or grout. This paper will discuss the concepts of using screw piles, the basic design process to accommodate dynamic loads and the results of field vibration testing done on several of these compressor units.