The production of LDPE may require huge power, heavy-duty reciprocating compressors, provided with opposite cylinders and special frames to withstand the loads, deriving from the operating pressures. In many new projects larger capacities and higher performance requirements, renew the challenge of engineers to handle the mechanical, thermodynamic, chemical-physical, process and operational aspects. Safety, performance, operation and reliability are usual expectations needing a thorough evaluation of the service and the machine selection is based on positive results in similar applications. Valve, packing and cylinder performance is noticeably influenced by the design, operation and maintenance activities. The cylinders are compound pressure vessels, excluded by design codes, but their design and construction have to consider the extreme internal pressures and the nature of the process gas. The ability to withstand the high fatigue stresses and the need to avoid any leakage of gas around the compressor area implies solutions to minimize such occurrences including abnormal operations and emergencies. The design must foresee all possible failure modes of each component, to have safe and smooth operation. Innovative methods of simulation and modeling, like FEA, CFD, and others, are very important tools for the design of cylinder components. Valves are simulated by mathematical models optimizing performance and ensuring reliable operation, to reach a correct mechanical behavior with minimum energy consumption. The available technological improvements are taken as a base, resulting from the R&D of manufacturers and long experience of End Users. Also the pulsation and related vibration of the piping have to be investigated to keep the plant in operation without hazard. The operation is the stage where all the parameters have to be kept under control and incipient problems have to be identified to minimize shut down and arrange various maintenance works. Automation systems, together with new monitoring and diagnostic systems, allow very high safety levels, availability and optimized maintenance interventions.

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