Title:   Testing of a Semi-Active Valve for Reciprocating Compressors (2008)
Author:   Klaus Brun – Southwest Research Institute/Kevin Durham - Cook Compression/John Platt & Meron Wollie – BP
Summary:   The single largest maintenance cost for a reciprocating compressor is compressor valves. Valve failures can primarily be attributed to high-cycle fatigue and sticking of the valve plate resulting in excessive plate impact velocities. Thus, controlling the valve plate motion and impact velocities can greatly increase the life of a valve while also allowing for improved capacity control of the compressor. A new valve concept, developed under a GMRC program by Southwest Research Institute and Cook Compression and co-funded by BP, uses electromagnetic actuators to control the valve plate motion and create a soft landing at both the valve seat and guard. This concept is referred to as a “semi-active valve” (SAV) since, although the valve still relies on gas forces for the plate to move, the device senses and then controls the plate motion using electromagnetic coils. The SAV development program has evolved and matured through three prototype devices each of which have been tested at Southwest Research Institute. This paper discusses the SAV product development process, laboratory and field testing logistics, site preparation, test execution, and test results. Measurement data for plate impact velocities from the field test will also be presented.

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