How do I properly mount a compressor to a new foundation or an existing one?
Proper installation has a direct relationship with the operation and longevity of a compressor. When an installation is done right, the compressor is mounted to a secure foundation to minimize vibration and ensure correct operation.
When the installation is performed incorrectly the compressor may experience operational problems that can lead to significant maintenance issues and unwanted downtime. The three most important factors when building a foundation for your Hycomp compressor are: Location, Foundation Construction, and Pre Installation Technical Advice.
Many factors must be considered for optimal compressor location. Locate the compressor in a dry, well-ventilated, and well-lit area that accommodates inspection and maintenance access. An unobstructed machine boundary of at least 18” must be arranged to provide adequate airflow and service space around the compressor.
Installation in locations exposed to ambient subfreezing temperatures is not recommended. Exposure to direct sunlight, rain, wind, dust, snow, moisture, and other adverse environmental elements is not recommended and will reduce service life and increase maintenance requirements. If it is necessary to install the unit out of doors, provide a rain cover or a completely enclosed shed to prevent corrosion. If the installation location will experience operating temperatures below 32°F, a properly sized crankcase heater must be installed.
Rotating machinery should always display appropriate restrictive warnings and cautions to minimize the risk of injury to personnel. Even though Hycomp compressors are not as loud as other pumps, rotating machinery does produce noise. Understand your service environment and prepare accordingly.
Proper foundation construction ensures smooth operation, reduces vibration, and can extend the life of your compressor. Todd McGregor, Hycomp Service Manager, has performed many factory startups and seen differing levels of installation quality. He explains a few things to look for when building on an existing foundation, “For installation on an existing floor – Check the floor plan and establish how the floor was constructed, for example: concrete aggregate/psi, how thick is the floor, how well was the floor reinforced and how old is the foundation. Based on these facts – get expert advice for what will work best for your situation.”
Robert James, Hycomp President and Engineering Manager, understands that a new foundation may not always be possible, “In existing floors, a “Drillco Maxi-Bolt” is a good choice, as it actually utilizes a special undercut hole which allows the anchoring to be rock solid.”
When building a new foundation it is important to not cut corners and utilize the following parameters. The foundation should rest on solid bedrock or compacted earth or gravel, but not a combination of the two. The pad should be composed of 4,000 psi cured concrete reinforced with ASTM A615 #4 billet steel re-bar cross laced on 16” centers located 3” above the base. The amount of concrete used to form the pad should exceed the weight of the compressor by 3 to 5 times. SAE Grade 5 “J” bolting of appropriate length and size should be used in the pad to provide baseplate mounting. Use of a template to support and position the bolting +/– 1/16” while setting concrete is recommended.
Securing bolting to existing foundations with drilled holes and adhesives is not recommended unless expert advice is available. Expert advice is also recommended for the installation of other forms of mechanical anchors. Call Hycomp if you are unsure what size to use or for technical advice on different anchors. McGregor instructs further on compressor mounting and shimming, “Installers need to utilize all skid mounting holes intended for anchoring. Compressors must be level. Use shims as needed. Shimming of skids (on concrete and steel foundations) may be required to prevent excessive vibration. Steel fabricated foundations must be adequately engineered to support the weight and vibration of the compressor.”
Epoxy-based grouting is required to firmly seat and attach the compressor skid to the concrete foundation for newly constructed or existing foundations. ITW Philadelphia Resins brand “Chockfast Red” grout is recommended. “I think there are a few general pieces of advice that should be considered for grouting of fabricated channel skids, such as: do not fill it up to the point that one cannot access the compressor or motor mount bolting, drill for drain holes if located out of doors, plumb oil drain to skid edge, etc.,” said McGregor.
Sealing of grouts and concrete is recommended to prevent contamination by oil and moisture. The concrete slab should be chipped to expose 50% of the aggregate and to provide a rough bonding surface for the epoxy. Dowels should be installed on new exposed concrete to prevent edge lifting. The concrete foundation should be dry and free of oil before pouring grout. Sleeve all foundation bolts to prevent adhesion and allow bolt stretch. Steel baseplates should be sanded and cleaned to provide an adequate adhesion surface.
Pre Installation Technical Advice:
Unlimited tech advice and support are included at no additional charge with every Hycomp compressor. Hycomp technicians are available to assist you 24 hours a day. Hycomp technicians like Todd McGregor are ready to answer your questions, “Our customers can call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. We will do our best to get them the answers they need so their Hycomp equipment is operating in a correct manner.”