Unique characteristics of Turbocor compressors mean correct maintenance is vital, say Roberto Mallozzi and Ken Strong. The principles behind the Turbocor compressor are completely different to conventional compressor systems. The high performance technology has proved to be exceptionally reliable, with an oil-less design and reduced number of moving parts. But when it needs servicing it is vital to use trained specialists or it can result in very serious problems. The compressor is based on a two-stage centrifugal impeller and spindle, which is ‘levitated’ in a powered magnetic bearing. A DC inverter powers the motor, and the system is under the control of a sophisticated onboard microprocessor. In the same way that it would be unwise to employ a regular garage mechanic in the pits for an F1 championship, it is risky and potentially dangerous to let an untrained service engineer loose on a Turbocor. This has unfortunately been borne out by experience, with instances where field engineers or enthusiastic end users untrained in the particular technology have tried to tackle Turbocor servicing. At worst, this has resulted in catastrophic damage to compressors and put the chiller out of action.

Turbocor Maintenance; The principles behind the technology are completely different from conventional compression systems. On a mechanical level, with its single moving part – the shaft and related impellers – the Turbocor appears deceptively simple. However, related support systems, particularly the electronics, are highly sophisticated. It is genuinely ‘space-age technology’. To handle it safely and effectively requires specialist training.