Preliminary Sizing

The preceding chapters offered some general guidance on the sizing of the various types of compressors. Before the start of the specification, the equipment should be sized, at least in a preliminary manner. Actually, part of this may be integrated into the process calculation. However, after the process calculations are complete, a review of the equipment best suited to perform the task at hand should be made.

One reason for the sizing step is that it saves time and embarrassment if bids are collected on the correct type and style of compressor. It just doesn't look good to use a centrifugal compressor specification if a reciprocating compressor is needed. In fact, even the specifying of a single stage when a multistage is needed because of temperature limits, doesn't start the procedure on a proper note.

It is not unusual to find more than one compressor suited to the job. Additional factors, such as inherent reliability and efficiency of the various types, should be considered. First cost will be an unavoidable factor that must be addressed. If, after consideration of all pertinent factors, there is still an overlap, then it may be advisable to inquire about more than one type of compressor. Normally this doesn't happen, because once the types are reviewed, some factor sways the decision. If, however, more than one compressor will be inquired, a specification should be prepared for each. It is quite difficult to write a comprehensive multipurpose specification. While there are some areas that will be the same, a repeat of each document will make evaluation much easier and cleaner later on.

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