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Effective Foundations, Anchor Bolts And Grouting For Recips

Careful preparation is essential for long-term performance


By Geoff Anderson, Bob Rowan and Jeff Butler


Geoff Anderson is president of Tech Transfer Inc., which specializes in the design and analysis of reciprocating compressor packages including pulsation, skids, piping, foundations and vibration. A professional engineer, he has conducted reciprocating compressor package design and field vibration analysis for 40 years. Contact him at: geoff.anderson@techtran-hou.com. Bob Rowan is a professional engineer and director of Robert L. Rowan & Associates Inc., a 60-year old firm active in development of technologies for equipment grouting, engineered repairs of compressor foundations and manufacturer/supplier of anchor bolts, precision machinery support systems and epoxy grouting materials. Contact him at: robert@rlrowan.com. Jeff Butler is a professional engineer and cofounder of Eagle Compression LLC, which specializes in industrial foundation work, including removal and replacement (re-grout), foundation restoration and repair and industrial skid grouting. Contact him at: jbutler@eaglecompression.com.


This article addresses foundations for high-speed, separable, reciprocating compressors from 1000 to 5000 hp (745 to 3728 kW) with operating speeds of 720 to 1200 rpm. In many cases, such foundations and their compressor package attachment methods are not being adequately designed, specified and installed.



Shale gas production assets have increased by about 50% in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio during the last 12 months. This large increase in natural gas production requires short schedules for compressor station design and construction.

There are two basic foundation categories for these reciprocating compressors: short-term temporary foundations with operation periods of two years or less; and long-term permanent foundations with life expectancies greater than two years and often more than 20 years. Unfortunately, short-term foundation designs are initially utilized for temporary projects that are extended to long-term projects when future additional wells are added.

Short-term, low-budget foundations create excessive vibration due to ineffective foundation designs and inadequate package attachment methods. In most cases, such short-term designs and attachment methods result in high vibration, unscheduled shutdowns and require significant modifications to achieve long-term compressor station operating life of two to 20 years.


Short-term (ineffective) foundations

The following short-term foundation designs are not adequate to dissipate typical unbalanced forces generated by reciprocation compressors and ...

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