The compressor in question is a Burton Corblin type 164 ME 250 single cylinder compressor, driven through belts by a 45 kW electric motor at 500 rpm.
The machine was installed in 1977, without using any proper grout – i.e. directly on the concrete, and has been operating practically continuously for years.
During this time the lubricating oil leaking out from the crankcase has worked its way into the concrete, and down the separations between anchor bolt and the concrete fill material used as grout, and between this grout and the foundation itself.
The concrete under the crankcase has lost its resistance to compression, so the machine has been shimmed with thick steel plates. Since these steel plates were resting on deteriorated concrete, they did not help the situation. The vibrations have been increasing and the anchor bolts have been deformed by the impacts of the crankcase.
Finally one of the crankcase anchor bolts sheared completely, and the unit came to an undignified and catastrophic halt.
Couronnaise de Raffinage
Shell Petit Couronne Refinery
Foundation repair, Anchor bolts replacement, Redesign of crosshead support base, and Regrout
Burton Corblin Gas Compressor 164 ME 250 single cylinder
11–21 July 2005
Petit Couronne, Rouen, France