Case Study: The Use of Tuned Mass Dampers in Mitigating Excessive Engine Vibration

Ian Ty Cheong, Senior Static & Materials Engineer


Dynamic finite element (FE) modelling of a reciprocating compressor package identified significant skid design deficiencies, which contributed to elevated levels of engine and small bore piping vibration. Vibration measurements and experimental modal analysis were performed to calibrate the FE model, which identified undesirable level of skid vibration in excess of 5 times of the recommended guidelines for reciprocating compressor skids. This result explained the frequent fatigue failures of small bore piping, and other associated reliability issues, such as cracking of piping supports and auxiliary equipment. The poor system reliability led to production deferment and high corrective maintenance cost. QGC decided to undertake a project to address the high vibration of these packages. Following a comprehensive assessment, QGC landed on a decision to trial the use of tuned mass dampers (TMDs) on one of the recip compressor packages. Following a comprehensive design and analysis phase in conjunction with engineering contractor WOOD, this led to the deployment of the first ever custom-designed TMD for the purpose of mitigating engine vibration on recip compressors. This presentation is intended to provide an overview of the physics of the solution and share the results from the trial of this novel technique in mitigating engine vibration issues.


Learning Takeaways:

  1. The physics of tuned mass damper and the elegance of the solution.
  2. The cost benefit of this approach vs other solutions that were considered.
  3. The practicalities of implementing this solution in mitigating similar rotating equipment vibration issues.


Ian Ty Cheong is a Senior Static and Materials Engineer and QGC’s piping vibration and fitness for service SME. Primarily responsible in the assurance of pressure equipment integrity activities in the mechanical static discipline. He pioneered and established QGC’s small-bore piping vibration management program, which delivered a significant improvement in process safety performance and asset reliability. He is highly experienced in vibration analysis, metallurgical failure analysis, and finite element modelling in the context of pressure equipment fitness for service. Ian Ty’s main area of interests are the use of new technologies to improve delivery of safer operations, digitalization and data science in the context of pressure equipment integrity management, and new/novel techniques in the area of vibration and dynamics.