Advanced science.  Applied technology.




The SwRI Machinery Program is internationally known for its expertise in gas turbine technology, rotordynamics, and design audits.

We have helped develop and operate reliable, safe turbo and reciprocating machinery for more than 50 years. The Machinery Program solves fluid and structural dynamics problems, provides root cause failure analysis expertise, designs and tests machines, offers 24/7 rapid response world-wide field services, and provides design review and auditing services for manufacturers and users of rotating machinery. SwRI combines custom consultations and extensive field experience with world leading analytical, computational, and test capabilities. SwRI has completed contract work for major oil and gas, power generation, and manufacturing companies.

History of Machinery at SwRI

During and immediately following World War II, the oil refining, petrochemical, and natural gas transportation industries in the United States grew extensively. This expansion led to the installation of numerous gas processing plants and, in particular, gas transmission compression facilities and pipelines. Machinery and piping for these facilities were sometimes hastily designed and installed. Because this equipment consisted primarily of reciprocating compressors and pumps, severe vibration problems often occurred. These vibration problems and the resulting potential piping failures presented grave safety concerns because of the flammable fluids flowing through the pipelines under high pressure.

Compression Systems Evaluations

The Pipeline and Compressor Research Council subsequently commissioned Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) to develop a tool that could evaluate these compression systems at the design stage so that corrective measures could be developed prior to installation and operation. The first analysis was performed in November 1954 for a gas transmission station in Refugio, Texas. Since then, more than 12,000 analyses have been performed for compressor stations, gas processing plants, refineries, and petrochemical complexes throughout the world. Although originally seen as a design tool to optimize new installations, this capability is also used to evaluate existing systems to develop corrective measures or to analyze new operating conditions.


SwRI’s Machinery Program offers the following conferences, short courses, and workshops:

  • Introduction to Numerical Propulsion System Simulation (NPSS)
  • Introduction to In-Field Vibration and Performance Testing
  • Gas Turbine and Compressor Training Week
  • Lateral and Torsional Rotordynamics for Centrifugal and Reciprocating Machinery
  • Pulsation and Vibration in Piping Systems

These events are conducted annually at SwRI in San Antonio, Texas. Individual course curriculum may be customized to fit your operation, personnel, experience and background and time availability. Web-based training sessions for remote operations and pre-taped audio/video sessions are also available.

Active participation, hands-on exercises, lab demonstrations and class working examples help to ensure participants walk away with a thorough understanding of the physics and mechanisms involved in compressor operation and testing and piping system design.

Contact us for more information about our training courses or how you can contract with SwRI for direct training. We can offer you the best approach for solving your training needs. SwRI can offer you a full range of capabilities and experience in rotating machinery technologies including becoming an extension of your engineering department. Contact us for more information about rotating machinery technologies at SwRI or how you can contract with SwRI.

CFD & Heat Transfer

Advancing gas turbine technology and turbomachinery with computational fluid dynamics and thermal analyses

Field Services

Providing in-field technical support, troubleshooting, and testing for gas turbines, compressors, and turbomachinery

Fluid Pipeline Modeling & Simulation

Using pipeline simulations as an optimization tool in many liquid and gas processes

Gas Properties

Helping clients improve accuracy in embedded equations of state (EOS) with proven engineering analysis tools

Gas Turbine Services

Offering performance modeling and diagnosis as well as remaining life analysis and failure analysis

Key Machinery Technologies

Supporting the oil and gas, wind energy, and power generation industries among other areas 

Piping & System Design

Providing comprehensive services, from acoustic analysis to safety valve analysis and thermal stress analysis

Pulsation Analyses

Identifying compressor pulsations or vibrations that can lead to structural damage

Rotor Blade Dynamics

Diagnosing fatigue and other issues related to rotating blades in turbomachinery

Structural Analyses

Analyzing turbomachinery and turbine technology, from design to condition assessments and life analyses

Vibration Analyses

Performing essential analyses to study the effects of vibration on turbo machinery and turbines