Rotating Machines Used in the Petrochemical Industry

Rotating machinery has been around for thousands of years. It is very efficient and thanks to modern technology, it helps to drive the wheels of the petrochemical industry. Two of the most common machines today are steam turbines and compressors. Here is a closer look at how they operate.

Steam Turbines

About two thousand years ago, Heron of Alexandria invented a simple mechanism considered a toy. However, its basic principle is what powers the most powerful steam turbines today. It had water inside a spherical shaped container with two outlets (equidistance apart) for the steam. When the water was heated, the steam escaped from both outlets causing the container to rotate on an axis. Steam turbines generate electricity for places where it is not feasible to run power (like oil rigs).


The need for compressed air systems is essential to the oil and gas industry. Compressors can be rotary or reciprocating types. A reciprocating compressor is powered by an external power source (like an electric or fuel-burning motor). The rotation turns a driveshaft with a piston connected, moving the piston up and down. The piston is inside a cylinder and has a ring which seals the surface and forces air out of the cylinder and into an exhaust port. A screw or rotary compressor has fewer moving parts than a reciprocating compressor. It is like placing two screw conveyor mechanisms side by side, so they interlock as they turn. This traps air, compresses it, and moves it into an exhaust area.

Meeting the Needs of the Modern Petro-chemical Industry

Axis Mechanical Group provides experienced millwright services to the oil and gas industry. We can design, install, maintain, repair, and rebuild steam turbines, compressors, gear boxes, pumps, extruders, generators, mixers, and perform long-term rotating machine maintenance services. Call us today at 713-540-9688 to see what we can do for you.

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