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  1. #1
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    Default Huge Air Compressors

    What is the largest air compressor that you have ever seen?

    I worked at a General Motors plant that was about 40 acres under one roof. It was highly automated and had tons of pneumatics as well as a lot of air blowoffs and other air hogging operations.

    The entire plant was run by one air compressor. It was locked in a cage and you couldn't get real close to it, maybe five feet away at the closest. Brand name was Centac. The armature on the motor was around 6 feet in diameter. As I recall the motor was 4,500 HP and it ran on 7,000 volts of power. (we had our own power plant) It was a four stage turbine compressor and as I recall the largest impeller was around 3 or 4 feet.

    Our plant had about three other compressor rooms filled with big old Worthington piston compressors but they rarely ran in the 30 years that I worked there.

    In all the time that I worked there I only recall seeing it not running one time when it was down for a rebuild. I worked a lot of nights and weekends, holidays, you name it and I was there. I'd ride by on a scooter and the whole plant was shut down but that motor was still spinning.

    I've always been kind of fascinated by huge machinery and this was no exception. It got me to wondering if there are larger compressors out there.

    Feel free to share your huge compressor story here.

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    I've been here 21 years and it never occurred to seek out where the air compressor is or how big it is. I went around to the back of our plant and seen an engineer, ask where the hell was our compressor. He pointed at this and said it was our old one. The third picture down I believe has something to do with the dryer. Also a holding tank out on the floor by some Die Cast machines.

    Brent

    20190518_010823.jpg
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    20190518_005936.jpg

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    A dinker compared to the one you note, but formidable anyway. Worthington Air Compressor Links

    One just like this provided air to the sawmill I worked at in Eureka, CA.

    Slow-mo for sure but with a terrific CFM rating.

    Stuart

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    As far as piston-type compressors, here's a big one. 23,000HP 200RPM

    If you include centrifugals (like a Centac would be) then you can get up in the 100,000HP+ sizes.nova.jpg

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    I've a 750 CFM and felt strong. Now I feel inadequate.

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    I bought a big Bellis and Morecambe once for scrap......when it was running,it was almost silent ,but the concrete floor moved.....it was twin cylinder upright ,double acting,like a big upright steam engine,driven by a 1250HP synchronous motor at 250 rpm.B&M did also make steam engines on the same design...Estimated around 5-6000 cfm at 150 psi.

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    Quote Originally Posted by yardbird View Post
    I've been here 21 years and it never occurred to seek out where the air compressor is or how big it is. I went around to the back of our plant and seen an engineer, ask where the hell was our compressor. He pointed at this and said it was our old one. The third picture down I believe has something to do with the dryer. Also a holding tank out on the floor by some Die Cast machines.

    Brent



    You have been machining at one place for 21 years??

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1974 View Post
    You have been machining at one place for 21 years??
    That length of time would get me something like 8 jobs working for the man and 5 years self employment.

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    [QUOTE=Big B;3358800]

    In all the time that I worked there I only recall seeing it not running one time when it was down for a rebuild. I worked a lot of nights and weekends, holidays, you name it and I was there. I'd ride by on a scooter and the whole plant was shut down but that motor was still spinning.
    /QUOTE]


    Probably because the power co. hit them with some outrageous peak charge when they started it. Cheaper to let it run.

    Bill

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1974 View Post
    You have been machining at one place for 21 years??
    Yes Sir I have. Unless I keel over I'm gonna do nine more that'd be 30 and out at 59. If I've got a big enough pile that is? Doubt it? Lol...

    Brent

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    ours feel so cute now. 2x 50hp screws and a 25 screw back-up (original to original shop building I understand)

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    Quote Originally Posted by yardbird View Post
    Yes Sir I have. Unless I keel over I'm gonna do nine more that'd be 30 and out at 59. If I've got a big enough pile that is? Doubt it? Lol...

    Brent
    I did a little bit over 30 years and retired at 49. Haven't looked back either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GregSY View Post
    As far as piston-type compressors, here's a big one. 23,000HP 200RPM

    If you include centrifugals (like a Centac would be) then you can get up in the 100,000HP+ sizes.nova.jpg
    Didn't know that they make even piston compressors in that power range.

    Largest one I have seen is 12MW (16 000hp) centrifugal at local steel mill.

    Saturn V/Rocketdyne F1 turbopump is pretty big "compressor" (55 000hp) considering that its only used to feeding the fuel and liquid oxygen to the combustion chamber. And there is 5 of them in Saturn V.

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    Sulzer has some big compressors. When I worked for Sulzer in South Africa our sales engineer said you could tell who ran the business by the compressors - Engineers = Sulzer. Expensive upfront, cheap to run. Accountants - Ingersoll-Rand. Cheap to buy, expensive to run.

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    Not much psi, but fantastic volume. Blast Furnace BLOWING ENGINES - in multiples

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    "That motor was still spinning" because it was probably a synchronous motor, with a PF correction of 1.0, look at the nameplate, others are .80.

    The run them to fix the Power factor.

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    I helped pull a cold tower up the hill in front of our place. The destination was somewhere out in west Texas. I understand a huge air compressor would have been paired with this tower to separate gases form the air.
    Would have been interesting to see the final installation.

    The tower by it self weighed 291,000 LBS. Did not see the compressor go by but a companion cold tower went by later, it was a little lighter and did not need assistance.

    img_0229rs.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by FredC View Post
    I helped pull a cold tower up the hill in front of our place. The destination was somewhere out in west Texas. I understand a huge air compressor would have been paired with this tower to separate gases form the air.
    Would have been interesting to see the final installation.

    The tower by it self weighed 291,000 LBS. Did not see the compressor go by but a companion cold tower went by later, it was a little lighter and did not need assistance.

    img_0229rs.jpg
    That is a great picture!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big B View Post
    I worked at a General Motors plant that was about 40 acres under one roof.
    Did you work at Willow Run?

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    The University of Sussex engineering department hooked the output shaft of a Rolls Royce Dart turboprop to the compressor from another Rolls jet engine (maybe another Dart, I don't recall). 10kg/s at 4 bar, which the internet tells me is 17,637 SCFM


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