1S4a: (20 min.) Case Study: Troubleshooting Vibration Problem In Centrifugal Compressor Manufacturing

Yubo Nian , Compressor Engineer, Trane/Ingersoll Rand


Vibration analysis is an important tool for condition monitoring, failure diagnosis and equipment life prediction. It also can be a powerful tool for new equipment development and manufacturing. This paper presents a case study of troubleshooting a vibration problem in Trane’s compressor plant when a new compressor family was launched. Three out of the first four new compressors off the assembly line had high vibration that exceeded Trane’s internal compressor vibration specification. This case study outlines the factors that contribute to the vibration and describes the conducted troubleshooting techniques. Vibration data was acquired on multiple compressors under different running conditions.  Structural hit tests and trim balance were performed on compressors in question. The hit test result was plugged back into the rotordynamic model. The structural interaction between the compressor and test stand was identified as the primary cause. Modifications made to the test stand successfully reduced the vibration. Further, a data collection plan was implemented to monitor other compressor configurations in the same compressor family.


Yubo Nian is a Compressor Design Engineer with Trane Company in La Crosse, Wisconsin. He is currently working in centrifugal refrigerant compressor research and development. His responsibility includes factory support for compressor vibration and troubleshooting for field equipment vibration issues. Mr. Nian is a registered Professional Engineer in Wisconsin. He received his MS degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Florida.