Compressor foundation assessment and repairs key to reducing vibrations

Costly problems can be mitigated by optimizing multiple facets related to the foundation

THE AUTHOR: Michael Golla is the marketing and sales director for rotating equipment solutions at Structural Technologies. He has more than 30 years of experience with strategic marketing of technologies and services for industrial markets.

Compressors are critical to many processes, and the foundations that support compressors need to be designed, assessed and repaired properly to minimize vibration and increase compressor reliability.

Although machine bearings, misalignment or other mechanical issues can cause vibration, most vibration problems stem from the foundation. The foundation may have been designed improperly or deteriorated over time or damaged. Perhaps the compressor changed without determining if the existing foundation is suitable for the new weight and dynamic forces.

Many old foundations were not designed properly for vibration and have exceeded their design life. Vibration may also occur due to improper design and age. Sources of vibration can be identified with various techniques, and foundations can be repaired to reduce vibration from 50 to 100% in many cases.

This article will focus on reinforced concrete foundations that are commonly used to support compressors and absorb vibration and will discuss design, assessment and repair to reduce vibration.

Foundation design
For compressors, a reinforced concrete foundation typically consists of grout, concrete, anchor bolts, jack bolts and soil (see Figure 1). The compressor frame is typically bolted to a baseplate or soleplate attached to the grout and concrete foundation. Jack bolts, chocks or shims might be used at the anchor bolt locations to assist with alignment.

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This article was originally published in the December 2019 issue of COMPRESSORTECH2. We only publish a fraction of our magazine content online, so for more great content, get every issue in your inbox/mailbox and access to our digital archives with a free subscription. Click here for a new subscription or here to renew your current subscription.

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