Industry News

Applications of Industrial Air Compressor Systems in the Oil & Gas Industry

One of the most invaluable, naturally occurring commodities in today’s world is crude oil, a fossil fuel made from the remnants of ancient zooplankton and algae that were subjected to heat and massive pressures deep in the ground for millions of years.

Thanks to increasingly efficient technologies, it has been possible to harness crude oil from the earth by drilling, before taking it through refinement and distillation to create a myriad of products that range from the gasoline used to power automobiles to plastics used in manufacturing to petroleum-based consumer products

Applications Of Air Compressor Systems in The Oil & Gas Industry

Applications of Air Compressor Systems in the Oil and Gas Industry

Industrial air compressors play a big role in the modern oil and gas industry, for both large and small operations. Everything from pneumatic drilling equipment to pipeline transportation utilize compressed air systems. Here are some of the most common applications:

  • Petroleum refining – 95% of petroleum gas is processed through compression before transporting in a pipeline. Increasing the pressure of processed gas initiates a catalytic reaction used in the refining process.
  • Petrochemical synthesis – Ammonia, methanol, urea, ethylene, ethylene glycol, and other petrochemicals require very specific air and gas pressurization in the manufacturing process.
  • Gas re-injection in oil fields – A series of compressors (centrifugal and reciprocating air compressors) can be used for gas or re-injection for maintaining reservoir pressures and facilitating the recovery of crude oil
  • Pipeline transportation – Reservoir pressures tend to decrease gradually over time, so compressors are needed to maintain or boost gas flow into the pipeline system. Both centrifugal and high-pressure reciprocating compressor systems can be used.

The Future of Air Compressor Systems in the Oil and Gas Industry

Despite massive development in alternative energy sources, the demand for oil and oil-based products continues to increase with the rising global population. To keep up with the demand, air and gas compressors have become invaluable for ensuring the appropriate pressure levels for these operations.

This means that the demand for industrial air compressors will continue to grow in in the oil and gas industry over the next few years. The next-generation of compressor systems will play a vital role in the steady growth of the market, with innovations focused on increased speed, lower energy requirements, and greater ability to withstand the harsh drilling environments to maintain a competitive edge.

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Managing Government Industrial Air Compressed Systems

Nearly every industrial application, from a simple car repair shop or a complex maintenance system to a multi-structure manufacturing plant has some sort of compressed air framework. In most applications at public works or government facilities, the compressed air system is so critical that the site cannot function without it.

Managing Government Industrial Air Compressed Systems

Air compressor systems vary in side from small units to massive systems of over 50,000 horsepower. These air compressors’ power consumption usually exceeds that of any any other type of machine. As such, running an inefficient compressed air system can increase the cost of production drastically.

Using modern systems that employ the latest technologies can help deliver energy savings of 20 to 50% or even more. For government agencies, this is equivalent to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars of yearly savings potential dependent on the use; funds that can be diverted to another state project.

A properly used compressed air system can reduce energy consumption, increase production limits, reduce maintenance, improve product quantity and quality, and decrease overall downtime. Proper management involves:

Preventative Maintenance

Scheduled preventative maintenance on the components of your industrial air compressor system is key – ensuring optimal performance, maintaining equipment reliability, keeping the warranties in effect, and maximizing your return on investment. Conversely, neglecting routine maintenance increases the risk of expensive breakdowns, extended downtime and reduced production, and shorter life expectancy of your equipment.

Repairs and Overhauls

It is important to form good relationships with service and repair companies that specialize in the maintenance of most of the major brands of industrial compressed air systems of varying horsepower. The process involves a skilled and experienced technician examining your air compressor to identify any major faults of causes of malfunction, ordering the necessary parts, and performing repairs on-site.

Energy Audit from Q Air-California

If you are not sure about the (in)efficiency of your air compressor system, you should request an energy audit to evaluate the need for an upgrade.

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Types of Industrial Air Compressors

There are several different types of industrial air compressors in the market today. These compressors are classified based on the pressure level, functionality, and other physical properties.

Types of Industrial Air Compressors

Types of Industrial Air Compressors Functionality

Based on functionality, the common options include:

  • Reciprocating piston air compressors – These use mechanical pistons to compress air
  • Rotary vane air compressors – These use blades instead of pistons to compress air
  • Rotary screw air compressors – These use screws to compress the air.

Lubrication Method

Industrial air compressors are also differentiated based on the lubrication methodology. Air compression generates a lot of heat (exothermic process). So the lubricant used also aids with cooling. Depending on the application, air compressor manufacturers provide different lubricating technologies, including:

  • Oil-lubrication – These compressors use oil and oil-based substrates for lubrication. Splash compressors are designed to allow the rod-like component to dip in an oil bath and splash the oil onto the bearings. They are very popular for industrial applications.
  • Oil-free technology – These compressors use non-oil based materials such as air and dry carbon to produce the cooling effect. Their bearings are soaked in oil permanently to run smoothly. But without oil to facilitate heat dissipation, oil-free compressors are used for light work that does not generate a lot of heat.
  • Pressure-lubricated – These compressors also use oil for cooling and lubrication, but rather than splashing the oil to the bearings, a pump delivers the oil to all the parts of the compressor that need lubrication.

Drive Mechanism

Most industrial air compressors are belt driven because of the huge amount of power needed to deliver volumes of compressed air without overheating the engine. Smaller air compressors are direct-driven or shaft-driven. They are small, handy, and easy to maintain, though they can’t meet the compressed air needs of large facilities.

Choosing an Industrial Air Compressor

When looking to buy an industrial air compressor, it is best to choose an oil-lubricated one, with enough power and a good pulley system to provide the needed volumes of compressed air. Contact Q Air-California to find the right type and size for your specific applications.

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Overhauling an Air Compressor: Cost Control, Rigorous Testing and Quality Parts

By David Grabau, Ingersoll Rand Compression Technologies and Services

When an air compressor needs to be overhauled, you hope the experience will be as pain free as possible. There are different approaches to overhauling an air compressor, and each has different implications related to cost, parts, service and performance.

Overhauling an Air Compressor

How to Know When it’s Time to Overhaul an Air Compressor

Knowing when to overhaul a unit is important, and there are certain signs that indicate a unit needs attention. Performing routine fluid checks, taking oil samples, and routinely checking for bearing vibration can unveil indicators that suggest an upcoming failure. Oil contamination with metal fragments usually indicates parts are wearing. It’s also important to take notice of airend temperature increases. If internal compressor temperatures go up, that’s a good indicator that the cooler may be failing.

Two Overhaul Options: Remanufacture or Rebuild

The rebuild approach to overhauling an air compressor typically takes place in the field, at the customer site, where the compressor is already installed. The product testing after the rebuild occurs in the field and may include checking discharge pressure, vibration levels and testing for oil leaks. During a non-OEM rebuild, existing parts are either refurbished or replaced with rebuilt or third-party parts.

A remanufactured air compressor is overhauled within the original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) factory. In this scenario, the factory will have all of the design drawings and specifications to bring the unit back to the original factory specifications. The manufacturer may also build the replacement airend with in-house parts, replacing bearings, seals, gaskets, pumps and more with new or OEM-certified parts. They will also conduct a complete mechanical and performance test before the unit leaves the factory.

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Understanding Centrifugal Air Compressor Capacity Controls

By Rick Stasyshan and Ian Macleod, Compressed Air and Gas Institute

Understanding Centrifugal Air Compressor Capacity Controls

Compressed Air Best Practices® (CABP) Magazine recently caught up with Rick Stasyshan, Compressed Air and Gas Institute’s (CAGI) Technical Consultant, and Ian Macleod of the CAGI Centrifugal Compressor Section and member company Ingersoll Rand.

CABP: Gentlemen, thanks for the series of articles on centrifugal compressors. Why have you selected centrifugal compressor capacity controls for this interview, and can you give a brief introduction?

CAGI: CAGI and our centrifugal customers all share a common interest and goal — to maximize the compressor system efficiency and optimize the system energy usage. Since the capacity controls on a centrifugal compressor are a bit more complex than positive displacement types of compressors, consulting a factory-trained technician is always recommended. The members of the Centrifugal Compressor Section of CAGI can provide that assistance.

Centrifugal compressors are dynamic, and each has a characteristic curve of rising pressure as capacity decreases. Without any control system, the compressor would operate along this natural curve. A centrifugal compressor’s flow and pressure are typically controlled by a combination of an inlet control device and an unloading valve (UV).

CABP: Can you summarize how these devices work in combination to achieve the desired results and share what options might be available?

CAGI: Well, since a centrifugal compressor’s controls are a bit more complex, we will walk readers through the systems and the options available.

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Industrial Air Compressor Service, Repair & Maintenance in San Diego County

Q-Air California specializes in industrial air compressor service, repair and maintenance for small and large businesses in the San Diego County area.

Industrial Air Compressor Service, Repair & Maintenance San Diego County

Truly Reliable Service

We are your reputable and reliable air compressor service in San Diego offering professional services and excellent customer service. We prioritize your urgency and work closely with you to ensure all risks associated with compressed air are eliminated and that your goal of maximizing productivity is realized.

Industrial Air Compressor Service & Repair Experts

Our clients come to us because we have the experience and expertise to provide them with the best professional service for air compressors so as to maximize production. We have a team of well-trained technicians and engineers who have vast knowledge and experience in service, repair and maintenance of all types of industrial air compressors.

24/7 Air Compressor Service

Q-Air California is your trusted partner in industrial air compressor emergency situations. We offer 24-hour air compressor service, repair and maintenance in San Diego County to help you resume business production as soon as possible.

As specialists in industrial air compressor repair service, we know very well the role air compressors play towards your overall production. We promptly respond to emergency situations by send our full-time, experienced technicians to resolve your case immediately.

Energy Audits in San Diego County

We often advise our clients to conduct regular energy audit and inspection of their industrial air compressors in order to avoid costly repairs and to maximize production. Our decades of experience in the industry means that we can effectively assess your business operation and recommend actions aimed at cutting costs and improving performance.

Request a Quote

If you’re looking for San Diego industrial air compressor service and repair or want to know more about our energy audit, contact us online or call us at 888.311.7247 to request a quote today.

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Centrifugal Air Compressor Controls and Sizing Basics

By Tim Dugan, P.E. President, Compression Engineering Corporation

Larger air compressors, typically over 500 hp, in refineries, pulp and paper plants, chemical and other processing plants often have high-speed, multi-stage air compressors called “centrifugal” air compressors. As seen from a total system perspective, they are not much different than screw air compressors. They compress air to plant pressure from atmospheric conditions, and deliver it to the dryer. These types of air compressors have no internal wearing parts, besides bearings and seals, and are very reliable and efficient, at their best efficiency point.

Centrifugal air compressor flow rate is relatively constant at a given pressure and inlet temperature, at full load. In common screw air compressor parlance, they are considered “base-load”, meaning they should be running at full capacity all the time. That is a simplified, but correct view of how one should see most applications of centrifugal air compressors, if in fact there are properly controlled screw air compressors used as “trim”, and their inlet conditions are relatively constant. However, in most actual systems with centrifugal air compressors, they are not running base-loaded, and inlet conditions change dramatically throughout the seasons. Sometimes, centrifugal air compressors are in a centrifugal-only system, where they are oversized and at a poor part-load efficiency point, with one running and one in back-up. Or there are multiple units running at different parts of a large plant air system, running independently, sometimes efficiently and sometimes not. Or they are in mixed screw / centrifugal systems where they are running in parallel with the screw air compressors, also at part load. In our view, a common reason for these less than optimal applications is the lack of knowledge of controls and maintenance by most vendors, technicians and engineers who are more familiar with screw air compressors.

In this article, I aim to describe the essential way a centrifugal air compressor is controlled and how to size one properly. In order to do so, I need to cover some basics, as follows:

  1. Describe centrifugal air compressor basics.
  2. Describe a centrifugal air compressor’s curve.
  3. Describe centrifugal air compressor control.
  4. Discuss implications for air compressor sizing.

Centrifugal Air Compressor Basics

A centrifugal air compressor develops pressure by accelerating a gas from the center of the impeller, through the “impeller”, by centrifugal force, and then slowing it down in a “diffuser” through expansion. The velocity energy is converted into pressure energy (by Bernoulli’s principle, pressure is inversely proportional to velocity squared). See Figure 1.

Centrifugal Air Compressor Basics

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Industrial Air Compressor Distributor in Riverside County

Q Air-California is an authorized and reliable distributor of industrial air compressor systems, parts and accessories in Riverside County.

Q Air-California has built a strong reputation as the leading provider of all types and brands of air compressors in the country. We supply and distribute air compressor systems and parts to all industries including Aerospace, Packaging, Hospitals, Refineries, Food & Beverage and more.

Industrial Air Compressor Distributor in Riverside County

We specialize in distribution and supply of high quality industrial air compressor systems and air compressor products such as:

Industry choice air compressors

Sourcing industrial air compressors in the market can be a daunting task especially when there are a vast range of different types, brands and performance specifications out there. Our knowledge and experience in the air compressor industry enables us to provide you with the best industry choice air compressor systems and parts that meet your production requirements.

Engineering service and support

Not only do we supply best quality air compressor systems and parts to you, we also extend our engineering support to ensure the air compressor systems function at optimal level. Our full-time, highly trained technicians offer technical support including a full range of service and repair for all air compressor equipment.

Excellent customer service

At Q Air-California, we value our customers. We’re committed to providing you with excellent customer service experience at all times. We listen intently to your needs and specifications so as to accommodate them in delivering high quality air compressor systems that meets or exceeds your expectations.

Request a Quote

For more information about our air compressor systems and parts supply and distribution in Riverside County or to request a quote, contact us online or call our office at 888.311.7247.

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Key Considerations for Installing Centrifugal Air Compressors

Compressed Air Best Practices® (CABP) Magazine recently caught up with Rick Stasyshan, Compressed Air and Gas Institute’s (CAGI) Technical Consultant, and Ian MacLeod of CAGI member company,

CABP: Where is a good place to start when considering the installation of a centrifugal compressor system?

CAGI: The installation of any type of air compressor requires proper planning as well as adherence to the manufacturer’s recommended guidelines.

Planning a Centrifugal Air Compressor Installation

CABP: What are some of the areas to be considered during this planning process?

CAGI: The end user or customer should convene a pre-installation meeting with the user site managers, site maintenance staff, the compressor manufacturer’s technical representative(s), and the contractors responsible for installation.

CABP: Actual location of the equipment can impact system performance. What are your thoughts on this point?

CAGI: The reality is proper location selection can assure the user of receiving maximum value from their system over its economic life.

CABP: And what about future service and maintenance considerations?

CAGI: All compressors will require periodic inspection and maintenance.

CABP: Do centrifugal compressors require “special foundations”?

CAGI: No they do not. The foundation should be free of any external sources of vibration created by nearby equipment.
Major Considerations for Inlet Air

CABP: How does ambient temperature impact centrifugal compressor operation?

CAGI: The ambient environment can adversely impact a compressor system’s reliability, and centrifugal compressor systems are not an exception.

CABP: I assume when you mention adequate ventilation, you are referring to inlet air. What are some of the considerations?

CAGI: Yes, once the location is determined and finalized, it is time to consider connection points.
Designing Ventilation for Centrifugal Air Compressors

CABP: In our discussions on the equipment, you had mentioned bypass piping as part of the scope of supplier equipment. Is now a good time to discuss this installation?

CAGI: Most centrifugal compressors have a shipped loose bypass silencer. The silencer can be installed indoors or outdoors.

CABP: Assuming the compressor is now installed, leveled, and we have inlet air, I guess it is time to connect to the plant’s demand side. What are your thoughts?

CAGI: The discharge piping has to be rated according to the expected compressor pressure and temperature.

CABP: Compressor performance depends on adequate cooling of the compressors. Can you share your thoughts on this subject?

CAGI: Water quality is equally as important as air quality. Consult with the compressor representative regarding water quality and quantity requirements.

CABP: Please provide some commentary on the electrical hook-up.

CAGI: The design and installation of electrical systems should be performed by qualified personnel and must meet all applicable electrical codes.

CABP: Any closing thoughts?

CAGI: We recommend users always thoroughly review and adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions for a safe and successful installation.

CABP: Where to get information concerning centrifugal compressors and other information available from CAGI.

CAGI: CAGI’s Centrifugal Compressor Section members include Atlas Copco, Cameron, FS Elliott and Ingersoll Rand.

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4 Compressed Air System Lessons to Be Aware Of

Compressed air systems are an integral part of many industrial applications. Because of this, it’s important to understand how they operate & what to be aware of in order to help you make more informed decisions. With several years of experience to date, we’d like to share with you some of our most important lessons learned along the way.

Compressed Air System Lessons

Lesson 1 – Just because the compressor is off does not mean the purge will stop.

If a compressor turns off for any reason, but the dryer is operating on a fixed cycle with no dew point control, then the purge will usually still continue to be fed from other compressors. While the purge cycle continues uninterrupted, the minute the desiccant has been regenerated an uncontrolled air dryer will continue to consume purge air & effectively waste a significant amount of compressed air even though no air is flowing through.

Lesson 2 – Air dryers use up the most compressed air.

Lesson 1 leads us directly into lesson 2: that air dryers use up the most compressed air in the operation’s entire compressed air system. This definitely holds true for lightly loaded systems where both the compressor and dryer are larger than the actual average loading size.

Lesson 3 – Most of the time it’s better to repair than purchase new.

After performing several air & energy audits in Southern California, we’ve learned that even in extreme scenarios where it might seem the most obvious choice is to replace the system with a new one, it is actually much more cost effective to repair a fault compressed air system than it is to purchase a new one.

Lesson 4 – Regular testing is good practice.

It should almost go without saying, but it’s important to regularly test purge flow to prevent situations in which purge flows are much higher than the rating of the dryer, which would cause significant amount of waste. If the ball valve is misadjusted for any reason, then it will cause the gauge to go out of calibration & this is easily overlooked if the system is not tested regularly.

Q Air-California Can Take Your Compressed Air System to the Next Level!

Having performed compressed air & energy audits for a variety of different industries, we have the knowledge and experience to help you find overlooked areas that may be wasting your time, energy, and resources.

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