Vendor spotlight: FS Elliott

Turbomachinery Magazine, September/October 2021,

Oil-free air and gas compressors.

FS-Elliott is a manufacturer of oil-free air and gas compressors. In addition, it provides a line of lubricants and control systems. The company has been in business for over 50 years and operates in more than 90 countries. “Despite widespread cuts in spending from customers due to COVID-19, we are experiencing increased demand in some industries,” said Alex Curtin, Product Manager, Engineered and Air Separation at FS-Elliott. “The fact that the major oil indexes have steadily rebounded and major investments to address the global chip shortage are indicators of a strong air compressor market.” But the pandemic caused a shift in strategy for 2020. The company refocused its efforts on internal process and product management modifications to offer engineered products with improved prices and lead times. In addition, it revamped extended warranty programs, and released a new control panel to market.

COMPRESSORS

FS-Elliott has two compressor product lines, the Polaris+ and the PAP Plus. Polaris+ air compressors serve customers in industries such as food and beverage, textiles, industrial manufacturing, plastics, and power generation. The PAP Plus line is mostly utilized in oil refining, petrochemical, and LNG production and transport. It offers compliance to API 672 and API 614 standards. The company is also active in the air separation industry, where both of its compressor lines are used.

The PAP Plus A1 is FS-Elliott’s workhorse compressor for oil and gas. Primarily used as an instrument air compressor, the A1 is available in cost and short lead-time pre-engineered configurations to meet API 672/614 with critical reliability features. The A1 can be customized to meet specific requirements to ensure year-round reliability and operation.

Curtin commented that compressor life-cycle costs are generally organized into three groups: capital investment or purchase price; maintenance; and energy usage. When purchasing a new compressor, the primary focus is generally on the purchase price. Over the life of the compressor, that is typically the lowest cost. Energy costs are the highest, followed by maintenance. The other impact to consider is the effect the air source can have on the finished product.

“Oil-flooded compressor air sources use expensive separation systems and can leave trace amounts of oil that can transfer to the finished product,” said Curtin. “For those producing textiles, food products, or medicines, any potential for oil contamination is unacceptable.”

He recommends that audits are performed on existing compressed air systems by a company certified by the Department of Energy AirMaster+ Program or that completed Compressed Air Challenge training courses for compressed air systems. The return on investment of an air system audit can be immediate based on what is uncovered during the process and the final recommendations. One example is an automotive component manufacturer in North Carolina that saved $100,000 per year on electrical usage and $25,000 per year on annual maintenance costs by converting three oil-flooded rotary screw compressors to a more efficient oil-free centrifugal compressor.

CONTROL SYSTEMS

FS-Elliott offers a range of control systems, including both microprocessor-based and PLC solutions. Its control panels support needs ranging from a basic user wanting to turn the compressor on and let it run without worry to more complex solutions encompassing redundancy and monitoring of every characteristic of compressor operations.

The new FS-Elliott R2000 control panel features improved energy efficiency and a better user experience while reducing downtime. On the energy savings front, an Energy Advisor makes suggestions to improve efficiency based on operating trends. Its maintenance notification system tracks compressor usage and provides predictive maintenance advice.

LUBRICANTS

The FSE-TurboCool line of fluids feature extended fluid life, wear protection, and resistance to foaming. FSE-TurboCool and FSE-TurboCool HD are ISO 32- and ISO 46-grade lubricants selected based on coolant temperatures and environment. FSE-TurboCool FG is a food-grade version of a 32-grade lubricant created to meet H1 requirements for fluids with incidental food contact (FDA 21 CFR 178.3570). FSE-CentriMax is a 32-grade premium mineral oil and FSE-TurboCool CC cleans heavily varnished air compressors while the unit remains in operation.

FSE-TurboCool uses an ester-based lubricant suitable for use in all centrifugal compressors and offers advantages over glycol-based lubricants. “In most glycol-based lubricants, a secondary oxidative inhibitor must be added to capture water and aid in water separation, which deactivates over time,” said Curtin. “FSE-TurboCool’s oxidative resistance offers long-lasting protection against deposits and varnish, enables moisture buildup from condensate to drain, and improves the efficiency of the compressor’s mechanical components.”