Hycomp Success In the Oil and Gas Industry
There are many applications which require a low horsepower compressor built with the technology that has been proven in larger compressors. Often these situations are not addressed well by the general compressor industry.
Hycomp makes a point of focusing on some of these niche applications, building smaller scale units that are designed for continuous duty critical performance situations. These are the reasons that companies like Chevron, Texaco, Exxon, BP, Sonatrach, and Petrofac look to Hycomp for solutions to their unique problems.
Large Design - Small Compressor
Over the years, continuing downward price pressure has driven many manufacturers of small to mid size compressors toward lower cost and lower quality designs and materials. Hycomp utilizes heavy duty construction that incorporates the benefits of larger designs into even their smallest compressors. Hycomp manufactures compressors that provide longevity and continuous oil free service by taking advantage of cast iron cylinders and heads, pressure oil lubricated crankcases and a variety of ring and gas packing materials.
“We typically deal with higher horsepower and higher flow applications in refining and process gases,” said Bruce Hermonat, Compression Solutions Engineer, Hoerbiger. “The double distance piece design allows the Hycomp gas compressor to fill a lower horsepower fit that is capable of compressing hazardous process gases. Hycomp gas compressors represent an effective solution for smaller horsepower (1-75 HP) and quick delivery applications.”
How the tough applications are addressed
Robert James, President and CEO of Hycomp, Inc. explained how they can offer solutions to even the toughest applications, “We begin by acknowledging that every application and every customer has unique requirements. With this open mind set we get our engineers involved with our customer’s engineers and ensure that we are designing, building, and certifying every compressor as an exact match to the customer’s application.”
James continues, “We are able to do this and keep our costs competitive because of our modular compressor designs. Our modular system of engineering and manufacturing creates nearly endless compression possibilities. In other words, our engineered solutions are flexible to your requirements. Our wide range of high quality materials provides many options to match the compatibility requirements of most industrial gases.”
Hycomp’s ability to adapt and provide solutions is advantageous to their distributors as well. “Hycomp gas compressors fit into applications that have nasty components, such as gases like Hydrogen sulfide and wet carbon dioxide while adapting to custom pressures and flows,” said Steve Krupski of Pump Sales & Service. “Other compressor manufacturers have a limited number of compressors that might work for an application, but if they are not the right fit, you’re out of luck. Hycomp engineers get heavily involved to provide customized compressors that are an exact fit for what you need. In my 25 years of experience I have found Hycomp products to be well designed and engineered, and their staff is very responsive.”
Reliability and Length of Service is Critical
Hycomp designs and sizes their compressors for true continuous duty. Speed is paramount, as the compressors are engineered to run slower and can handle a full 60 minutes per hour, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year of continuous operation without introducing contamination from wear and breakdown into the customer’s process. Unplanned downtime is not an option for most of their customers, so they design and build quality compressors that provide worry-free operation.
Jeremy Olson, General Manager, Green River Power Service, Inc. had some reliability issues with some compressors he was using in an unmanned natural gas processing facility. “We had been getting between 3-9 months on a competitor’s compressor. Since we installed the Hycomp compressor in November of 2008 it has run flawlessly. The internal construction [of the Hycomp gas compressor] is far superior. We have been very pleased with Hycomp's service and reliability.”
Customer safety is absolutely imperative. Hycomp is also an integrated package provider. They are able to design both the compressor and the package to be safely operated in a potentially explosive environment created by the presence of flammable gas. They can provide a complete package designed for installation in a hazardous classified area, per the customer’s requirements, whether those requirements are UL, CSA or ATEX based.
Hycomp provides three increasingly secure methods of gas leakage control. The ‘B’ series addresses inert gases, the ‘G’ series handles standard industrial and oil field gases and the ‘H’ series provides extreme gas control. When dealing with gas mixtures it is important to examine not only the individual gas constituents and their individual effect on design, but also to examine the mixture as a whole. Certain gases interact with others to become more corrosive, toxic or flammable than in their pure form. Hycomp addresses these concerns at the compressor design level, thus solving potentially dangerous problems before they can occur.
Intake & Packings
Hycomp’s unique “Plenum Intake” design receives gas below the compression cylinder through the plenum chamber. This innovative style of intake and compression provides three major benefits: cooling effect on piston rings and packings, balanced piston rod loads and a small internal gas reservoir. Hycomp gas packing arrangements provide the necessary protection to keep outside contaminates out of the process, gas leakage is minimized and control is increased.
Hycomp’s B-Series packing arrangement is a non-vented design utilizing tangent-tangent piston rod packings to contain non-hazardous/non-contaminating gases. The packing arrangement style is designed for inert gases such as air or nitrogen.
Hycomp’s G-Series packing arrangement is an internally vented design utilizing a combination of radial-tangent and tangent-tangent piston rod packings. The vented arrangement accomplishes everything the B-Series does while providing the ability to vent or purge the gas when needed. This is a benefit when dealing with gases that are more dangerous or expensive and can be vented/flared or recaptured.
Hycomp’s H-Series packing arrangement is designed to compress difficult to contain and potentially dangerous gases. This packing arrangement style utilizes a double plenum chamber each with its own gas packing case. The upper plenum chamber contains their ‘B’ style packing arrangement, while the lower plenum chamber contains the vented ‘G’ style packing arrangement. The combination allows for three possible vent/pad/purge locations, providing a wide range of leakage control.
B Series Packing Arrangement for Inert Gases
Smaller Compressors, No Small Details
Since Hycomp works closely with their customer’s engineering team, they gain a clear understanding of the critical nature of the customer’s installations. They understand the customers can’t afford compromises on the details of materials and designs used in their compressors.
High quality valve construction dictates valve bodies made from the highest quality 400 series stainless steels which have been heat treated for hardness and toughness. Valve plates are machined precipitation hardenable stainless steel or crystallized PEEK, depending upon the pressures and temperatures of the service.
By design, Hycomp valve plates are frictionless guided so there is no valve cage wear. The valve port design has been refined to provide improved flow efficiency, saving power and decreasing valve impact forces. Larger valves are dampened, providing additional wear reduction without sacrificing flow efficiency. And of course, all valves are removable with minimal effort and rebuildable on site.
The proper selection of piston ring material and design will add years of reliable service to a gas compressor. Hycomp uses seven different polymer based piston ring materials to meet today’s varying gas demands. From PTFE to PEEK and PPS, the right ring material is selected for the application.
Their angle cut design for rings allows for flexing of the ring end to seal the gap better than butt cut designs, yet retains its strength vs. step cut designs. In situations where gap leakage becomes significant, such as low molecular weight gases and small cylinder bores, a 2-piece ‘L’ style ring design can be used that removes the end gap by using an inner and outer ring for sealing.
Piston rod gas packings perform the critical function of containing the gas in the compressor, while providing pressure on the underside of the pistons to balance the rod loads. The segmented packing design is free floating and self-adjusting for long wear life. The design inherently continues to seal as the packing wears. A pair of packings is pinned together at the proper rotational offset to ensure that the leakpath created by the cuts are sealed.
Just like piston rings, Hycomp stocks seven different packing materials to meet the needs of the application. And unlike chevron type packings, segmented packings do not need periodic adjustment to ensure a tight seal.
Piston Rod Oil Scrapers
Oil scrapers perform the essential service of preventing oil from migrating out of the crankcase and into the gas stream. Combined with the open distance piece design, which allows residual oil vapor to escape the machine. Hycomp piston rod oil scrapers provide a leak free seal on the pressure oil lubricated bottom end.
Segmentally cut scrapers are based on a similar principal to the Hycomp gas packings. They continue to adjust as they wear. The sharp edges machined into the brass scraper remove oil from the rods, while the liberal porting allows the oil to flow back into the crankcase. As the scrapers are a softer material than the piston rod, the brass scraper wears while the rod does not.
How and Where Hycomp Gas Compressors Are Being Used
Nitrogen Blanketing: Oil Recovery
The topside process and facilities modules for the Vincent FPSO ship (Floating Production, Storage and Offloading) require a large high pressure gas compressor that boosts the gas from the oil wells. This compressor requires nitrogen to purge and pressurize the seals/gaskets during cold start and startup procedures. The nitrogen compressor system was required to be ATEX certified for explosive atmospheres, and resistant to the corrosive offshore marine environment. Compounding the difficulty, lead time was limited to five weeks.
Hycomp provided a solution that met the ATEX requirements and featured a marine offshore coating system on the entire package. Hycomp was also able to meet the required lead-time of five weeks by working directly with the Norwegian engineers, solving potential problems before they could occur.
Model: AN12B-B201, Gas: Nitrogen, Suction Pressure: 65 psig, Discharge Pressure: 145 psig, Flow: 63 scfm
Natural Gas: Tank Farm
In the oil and gas industry, tank farms utilize vapor recovery to keep costs down and remain efficient while meeting EPA government requirements. A Wyoming based tank farm needed to reclaim the wasted gas vapor exiting their low displacement storage tanks and return it back into their process.
Seven Hycomp AN12B-G221 oil free vapor recovery gas compressors were contracted and installed on separate tanks. By reclaiming the gas vapor and sending it back through the system, the customer is now able to keep the gas instead of wasting it through flaring.
Hycomp gas compressors offer a high level of energy efficiency. Variable frequency drives were packaged with all seven oil free vapor recovery gas compressors. The VFDs add to each compressor’s overall efficiency as they adjust motor speeds according to work load. No gas enters the crankcase of Hycomp compressors; therefore the internal running crankcase components experience a much longer life. The natural gas is safely and reliably compressed while helping reduce the customer’s carbon footprint.
Gas: .65 SG Natural Gas
Suction Pressure: 0 psig
Discharge Pressure: 40 psig
Flow: 6-12 mcfd