Cambridge Viscosity Blog

Expanded Lubrication Oil for Gas Compressors

Mar 12, 2019 7:59:00 AM / by Admin


gas compressorBoston, MA – Protecting their large hydrogen screw compressors while assuring refinery uptime, the largest US Gulf Coast refiner is adding in-line lube oil viscometers to all their new and existing units. The sensors will be used to provide real-time continuous monitoring of the compressor bearing lubrication fluid throughout equipment operations. A lead engineer at this facility says, “Despite using separators, the lubricant can become diluted by gas carry-over or contamination. If left unchecked, this can cause problems, especially during subsequent start-ups.”

Cambridge Viscosity Sales Manager Ken Mann says that “when the compressor is running, the lubrication oil is hot and the entrained gas remains in gaseous phase. When the compressor is down, the lubrication oil cools and some of this gas can become liquid, which causes the lube oil viscosity to drop. Then, when the equipment is re-started but before it heats up, the equipment is operating with inadequate lubrication, which can be a disaster! If it makes it through this stage, the light hydrocarbons will again become gaseous, separating out of the lube oil, and the lube oil will regain its proper viscosity. But the damage will already be done.” 

The refinery is centralizing the viscosity sensor outputs with easy-to-access and use displays tied to the overall plant information system. The refinery uses centralized monitoring stations, each of which receives instantaneous information. One is currently tracking four viscometers while another connects with ten individual sensors on different gas compressors. This saves lab and technician time, as well as potential damage to the equipment itself.   

About Cambridge Viscosity

Cambridge Viscosity, the leader in small sample viscometry, provides automated viscometers for advanced laboratory and production viscometer systems worldwide. Cambridge’s global reach is important for providing application engineering support and service wherever and whenever needed

Cambridge Viscosity sets the standard for precise, reliable and low maintenance viscosity measurement and control systems. Patented oscillating piston technology ensures accurate, true results across a broad range of lab and in-line applications, including refining and petrochemicals, oil and gas, coatings, paints and inks, pharmaceuticals and other substances.

Cambridge Viscosity's sensors and viscometer systems conform to ASTM, DIN, JIS and ISO standards, with a range of models designed to meet specific industry and application needs. Certifications include ATEX, CE, and FM. CSA certification is available upon request. For additional information visit:

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Tags: process viscometers, lube oil, refining, gas compressor, oil monitoring, compressor viscosity


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