Ariel’s New KBE

    Targeting global natural gas gathering and gas compression leasing markets, Ariel has introduced the KBE, a medium sized separable reciprocating compressor available in 2- and 4-throw frames. With a maximum rpm of 1400, the KBE/2 offers up to 1300 hp (969 kW) while the KBE/4 offers up to 2600 hp (1939 kW). Each frame has a 5-in. (127-mm) stroke, a 2-in. (50.8-mm) rod diameter, a piston speed of 1125 ft./min (5.72 m/s), and a total rod load of 74,000 lbs. (329,168 N).

    “Following the successful rollout of our KBK:T two years ago (see “Ariel’s New KBK:T,” June 2018 Gas Compression Magazine, p. 32), we received feedback from our distributors who sought the features from the KBK:T on a compressor that could still accommodate our ET cylinders,” said Robert Drews, director of marketing at Ariel. “The KBE is a direct result of that request.”

    The KBE is a continuation of Ariel’s ability to leverage its decades of experience and advances in technology. The KBE uses the same frame as the KBK:T, bringing with it the same improvements Ariel introduced in 2018.

    The KBE can accommodate an optional internal torsional vibration damper on the crankshaft to minimize torsional vibrations that might otherwise limit the operational range of the machine. “This damper, when installed, reduces or eliminates those problems, allowing the compressor to operate over a broader range of operating conditions,” said Drews. “It’s not always going to be needed but is available when the torsional analysis shows it to be beneficial.”

    Auxiliary end piping has been simplified by integrating the frame oil thermostat into the oil filter header. “The new positioning of the oil thermostat makes it much easier for someone to work on the oil system and the frame in general,” said Drews. “It simplifies the piping, which, in turn, allows easier access to the auxiliary end of the frame.”

    Paper gaskets have been replaced with O-rings on the top cover and side doors, eliminating the tearing of paper gaskets that can occur during maintenance intervals.

    Crossheads, connecting rods, and bearings are all backward compatible with Ariel’s JGT/2 and JGT/4 frames. “We shared some components or made components backward compatible so fleet operators don’t have to keep two sets of parts on the shelf,” said Drews. “The philosophy is to have shared components and support both of these product lines going into the future, making it easier for operators to maintain parts inventory and perform maintenance.”

    With a total rod load of 74,000 lbs, the KBE maintains the same rod load as Ariel’s JGK and JGT frames. “Maintaining the existing rod load and utilizing a reduced number of ET cylinders, designated as E20s with the 5-in. stroke, allows Ariel to provide a competitive product offering with a number of the KBK:T features in this market segment,” said Drews. According to Drews, the KBE will be offered in fixed configurations with E cylinder selections that represent roughly 90% of the JGT/2 and JGT/4 configurations sold to lease fleets.

    Cylinder classes offered on the KBE, as a single bore diameter, will be 17.25 in. (438.15 mm), 15.75 in. (400.05 mm), 13.5 in. (342.9 mm), 9.75 in. (247.65 mm), 6.375 in. (161.92 mm), and 5.5 in. (139.7 mm).

    Expected engine matches for the KBE are Caterpillar 3508, 3512, and 3516 engines at 1400 rpm and Waukesha’s 7042 S5 engine at 1200 rpm. “It will also be a good fit for 1200-rpm motors,” said Drews.

    As Ariel continues to draw from its experience in gas compression, it continues to plan for its future.

    “The JGK turned 30 years old last year. The JGT is now 20 years old. Those have been incredibly successful products, but we are not going to maintain our rate of success by resting on our laurels. The KBE serves as a direct replacement for Ariel’s JGH, JGE, JGT/2, and JGT/4 frames,” said Drews. “We continue to develop new products and technologies to ensure future growth and improve the own and operate experience of Ariel compressors.”



    This article appears in the May 2020 issue of Gas Compression Magazine.

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