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RECIPROCATING AND CENTRIFUGAL COMPRESSORS

In this chapter , we compare reciprocating compressors with centrifugal compressors , strictly from a maintenance point of view. We are comparing the compressors on the following points. CAPITAL AND OPERATING COST

Reciprocating compressors have low initial cost but low operating cost. This is because reciprocating compressors have simple construction and parts are easy to manufacture. Centrifugal compressors have complex parts such as impellers and diaphragms which are difficult to manufacture and hence require greater capital investment.Reciprocating compressors have higher running costs because they use seals(rider and piston rings),valves etc which require frequent replacement.Centrifugal compressors do not use valves. MAINTENANCE

Reciprocating compressors require a general overhauling procedure every 6 to 8 months in which seals , valves etc are replaced.Complete overhauling is done once in 6 years. Centrifugal compressors are designed to provide uninterrupted service for 5 years.Complete overhauling is done everys 10 years or more. RELIABILITY

Reciprocating compressors have a lot of rubbing parts such as rider rings, piston rings ,valves .These parts require frequent replacement and hence reciprocating compressors have greater downtime . Comparitively, centrifugal compressors requires low maintenance and hence more reliable.Centrifugal compressors do not have valves which are most prone to replacement and maintenance.