Mechanical Running Test

The mechanical running test is generally run at a no-load condition, or if a load is used, it is done for reasons other than the establishing of a measured capacity. If API specifications are used for the compressor, a mechanical running test is mandated on all but reciprocating compressors. The running test for a reciprocating compressor must be specified on each contract. In all cases, the test duration is a minimum of four hours. Table 10-1 lists the objectives of centrifugal compressor mechanical testing.

Table 10-1

Objectives of Centrifugal Compressor Mechanical Tests

Partial Verification Of:

• The quality of overall unit assembly

• Freedom from internal rubs

• Bearing fit, alignment, and adequacy of lubrication

• Rotor-bearing system dynamic stability and calculated critical speed

• Vibration levels

• Correctness of assembly and tightness of shaft, oil seals

• Drive coupling fit-up and balance

• Lubrication system cleanliness and performance

• Train component compatibility (optional)

One problem with the vendor test stands is that they fall into the "do as I say, not as I do" category. This means the test stand lubrication system bears little resemblance to the nice API 614 lube system purchased with the compressor. The user should not be surprised if he finds the vendor's test stand lube system to be somewhat on the shabby side, depending, of course, on the age of the test stand.

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