Linde Case Study: The Importance of Using OEM Parts

Use of non-oem lubricant and replacement parts results in frequent downtime, increased maintenance costs, inefficient operation, compromised performance; puts equipment at risk for catastrophic failure.

CHALLENGE
Not realizing the importance of using OEM lubricants and replacement parts for its Ingersoll Rand compressors, the facilities team of a large multi-national company organized its own equipment maintenance using a third-party maintenance team and non-OEM materials. As a result, the customer experienced a variety of operational issues.

Bearing pad when used according to specifications

Bearing pad when NOT used according to specifications

INFERIOR LUBRICANT CAUSES OVERHEATING, DEBRIS BUILD-UP AND PERFORMANCE DETERIORATION
The non-specified lubricant used by the customer featured inferior physical properties and thermal stability, which led to mechanical heat evacuation difficulties in the bearing/shaft clearances. The lubricant’s substandard mechanical load-carrying capacity resulted in oil film rupture and metal-to-metal contact,bearing and shaft surface damages, and ultimately total breakdown of the equipment. Unwanted chemical additive molecules being secreted from the fluid caused build-up of debris and bearing clearance reduction, as well as premature sealing damages. The non-OEM lubricant’s shorter service life resulted in more frequent downtime of the equipment and increased maintenance costs. The lesser-quality product also led to insufficient functioning of the lubricant in the bearing and shaft system, deterioration of performance due to increased friction, oil film rupture and the potential for catastrophic failure.

NON-ORIGINAL BEARINGS AND SEALS EXPOSE EQUIPMENT TO HEAVY DAMAGE
The non-original bearings and carbon seals on the high speed shafts deviated in dimensions and finishing tolerances from the OEM bearings and seals. The deviations from the prescribed fit led to unwanted stress due to undersized clearance values leading to increased mechanic heat build-up and rupture of the oil film. In other areas, excessive clearances led to unstable operating conditions. Both situations exposed the equipment to high risk for heavy repair costs and long downtime. In addition, deviations from the prescribed fit between carbon seal rings and high speed rotors, led to unwanted seal gas losses due to excessive seal gas usage and pressurizing of the oil sump.

CORRODING RIVETS COMPROMISE PERFORMANCE AND EFFICIENCY
The third-party maintenance crew used non-stainless steel rivets on the outer sheets of the coolers. With the rivets in contact with the cooling water, corrosion developed, leading to rivet failure and the opening of the outer sheet joint surface. As a result, improper flow of the cooling water compromised heat exchanger performance, compressor stage inlet temperatures increased, and the overall compressor efficiency was negatively impacted.

INCOMPATIBILITY OF SEALING MATERIAL REDUCES FUNCTIONALITY
The non-OEM specified sealing material between the gear casing face and cover face was incompatible with the lubricant causing the sealing material to dissolve, chemical erosion and hardening. The drastically reduced functionality of the sealing material led to fluid leaks, causing a decreased oil pressure in the oil gallery.

SOLUTION
ELIMINATING RISKS WITH INGERSOLL RAND LUBRICANTS AND PARTS
An Ingersoll Rand service technician explained the importance of using OEM lubricants and parts to the customer. Lubricant design and selection is completely managed via Ingersoll Rand’s quality procedures and fully complies with a set of requirements imposed by the equipment. Co-designed with the lubricant manufacturer, the product quality has been validated through rigorous and extensive lab testing, as well as field endurance testing, under extreme conditions. No other commercially available lubricant has the same mechanical, chemical and thermal properties.

The original compressor design also offers an optimized clearance value between bearing pad and shaft surface, and in combination with the selection of the optimal OEM specific lubricant provides a well-engineered balance between load-carrying capacity and heat loss evacuation behavior. The OEM stainless steel rivets do not corrode, eliminating rivet failure and improper flow of cooling water, while improving heat exchanger performance and compressor efficiency

RESULTS
The breakdown caused by use of non-OEM parts and lack of expert knowledge resulted in downtime of approximately three months, while scheduled maintenance and service by an Ingersoll Rand expert would have resulted in total downtime of only three to four weeks. The customer has engaged in a thorough root cause analysis to evaluate its operational issues and is currently in discussions with Ingersoll Rand regarding implementation of a maintenance agreement.