Gear Units

Many of the compressors require some form of speed matching to the driver. For most drivers to reciprocating compressors, this will be a reducer. For gas turbines to almost all compressors, a gear unit is required, which could be a reducer or an increaser. Motors to centrifugals are almost universally associated with increasers. While basically simple devices, gears have been the cause of unscheduled shutdowns and problems. As with all components, the gear must be given specification treatment commensurate with the rest of the compressor train to achieve the same level of reliability desired for the compressor and driver. As pointed out in the accessory chapter, the gear is covered by API 613 or API 677. Normally, the compressor vendor will furnish the gear, so the gear specification is a part of the compressor specification package. There is no reason it can't be a stand-alone document. There was a time when gears were strictly purchased on price. If the compressor vendor is not checked, this may still happen. This is not good. If nothing else, the specification for the gear, regardless of how documented, should give the user some selection power regarding the gear. In the overall competitive bidding, the gear should not be made a factor as such. This has proven to be poor economics in the past.

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