Application Notes

The sliding vane compressor can be used to 50 psig in single-stage form and when staged can be used to 125 psig. An often overlooked application for the sliding vane machine is that of vacuum service where, in single-stage form, it can be used to 28 in hg. Volumes in vacuum service are in the 5000 cfm range. For pressure service, at the lower pressures, volumes are just under 4000 cfm and decrease to around 2000 cfm as the discharge pressure exceeds 30 psig.

The sliding vane compressor is used in gas gathering and gas boosting applications in direct competition with the reciprocating compressor. Efficiency is not as good, but the machine is rugged and light and doesn't have the foundation or skid weight requirement of the reciprocator. The compressor is also widely used as a vapor extraction machine in a wide variety of applications, which include steam turbine condenser service for air extraction.

Vane wear must be monitored in order to schedule replacement before the vanes become too short and wear the rotor slots. If the vanes are permitted to become too worn on the sides or too short, the vane may break and wedge between the rotor and the cylinder wall at the point of eccentricity, possibly breaking the cylinder. Shear pin couplings or equivalent torque limiting couplings are sometimes used to prevent damage from a broken vane under sudden stall conditions.

As in most jacket-cooled compressors, the cooling acts as a heat sink to stabilize the cylinder dimensionally. The jacket outlet temperature should be around 115°F and be controlled by an automatic temperature regulator if the load or the water inlet temperature are prone to change.

Most of the drivers used with the sliding vane compressor are electric motors. Variable speed operation is possible within the limits of vane speed requirements. The vanes must travel fast enough to seal against the cylinder wall but not so fast that they cause excessive wear. For the smaller units, under 100 hp, V-belts are widely used. Direct connection to a motor, however, is possible for most compressors and is used through out the size range.

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