It is truly a testament to the quality of your equipment.
What would you expect to see inside a compressor that had been running for 50 years? In 2013, Buzzi Unicem retired a fully functional Ful-Vane™ C250 rotary vane compressor that had been in operation since 1963. We took it back to our service center for a little forensic check to see what kind of damage the compressor had been subjected to over all that time. Our assessment reflects well on both the technology and the ownership.
50 years old – but young at heart
The compressor had been well maintained, requiring only a couple of blade changes, and had been running well up to the date it was taken out of service and replaced with a new Ful-Vane compressor. All of which explains why this 50-year-old compressor was in near perfect condition.
The heads, rotor and soft parts (bearings, seals, blades) showed no wear, while some very minor ‘washboarding’ wear was visible on the compressor’s cylinder. There were a few wear blemishes on the bore, which could have been caused by a sticky blade in the rotor slot or possibly by a faulty oil check valve. In all, the compressor was still in great operational condition and could well have lasted another 50 years.
How does a compressor survive 50 years with so little damage?
When asked his thoughts on how the compressor came to age so well, Mike Delcambre, Terminal Manager at Buzzi Unicem’s Amarillo facility was modest. “It is truly a testament to the quality of your equipment,” he said. But really, Mike – even the best designed equipment will fail if it isn’t looked after properly. We count this as a joint success. A great maintenance program combined with a durable machine gave the terminal 50 years in which no one had to worry about compressor performance.
Simple design that stands the test of time
Ful-Vane compressors are designed with simplicity in mind. Our sliding-vane compressors have fewer than half the moving parts of mechanical rotary-screw compressors. Less to go wrong – less to maintain. And all the moving parts are accessible and field replaceable.
How does the compressor work? An eccentrically mounted rotor with integral shaft is supported on roller bearings, leaving a crescent-shaped space divided into compartments by specially designed blades. These blades slide freely in slots milled in the rotor and are held, pressure-tight, against the cylinder solely by centrifugal force.
The design of the blades, together with the tight clearance seal between the rotor and the bottom of the cylinder, help to maintain high volumetric efficiency. The number of blades minimizes the pressure differential between compartments. And the whole system is designed for maximum output with minimum wear – as proven by the Amarillo terminal’s experience with their Ful-Vane™ C250.