The efficiency, reliability and safety of industrial compressor technology can be critical in a variety of applications. I recently spoke with Compressor Products International's Technical Director Chris Keogh to discuss how the compressor market is changing and what trends we can expect in the next year.
What are you doing to increase compressor reliability and safety?
CPI takes pride in meeting the evolving needs of compressor manufacturers and operators. First and foremost, those needs are dictated by a continued focus on safety. We are well aware that the mechanics and operation of compressors can be hazardous, which is why the designs and applications of our products are tailored to meet the industry’s highest safety standards.
In terms of reliability, CPI understands that it is not unusual for end users to expect their compressors to run for a three-year period, 24-hours a day, without any unscheduled shutdowns. That means that our compressor components need to be designed to perform above expectations for over 26,000 hours during a three-year stretch. The losses due to unscheduled downtime of critical components – such as compressors – can have a serious impact on plant performance and profitability. A core value of CPI has always been to use materials and designs that continuously enhance the reliability of compressors to meet the strenuous demands of the compression industry.
What factors are affecting the compressor market externally?
As with most businesses, the economy always plays a major role. Developments like the increased activity of shale gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) have boosted the global need for compression.
However, while lower oil prices are benefitting end consumers at the pump, they are hurting the compression industry. Plus, environmental and efficiency requirements always affect us. CPI faces the ongoing challenge of meeting an increased demand for compressors that run faster and utilize a smaller footprint.
What new technologies are making an impact on the industry?
CPI has always excelled at developing the next generation of technologies that continue to move the compression industry forward. As more and more countries roll out tougher legislation for a “greener” world, designing compression components that contribute to lower emissions becomes increasingly important. Additionally, to improve overall reliability, CPI continuously focuses on enhancing devices for monitoring, dynamic analysis and proper lubrication of compressors.
What do end users have to look forward to in the next year?
The compression industry is taking huge steps in the right direction. In particular, some of the new technologies mentioned above will be brought to the market throughout the upcoming year.