Advanced science.  Applied technology.

Machinery Vibration Services

Quick-response field services (including overnight response) and support for solving your machinery and piping system problems are provided by the Machinery Vibration Services Group at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI).

  • Compressor pulsation control
  • Unsteady flow measurements
  • Machinery diagnostics
  • Custom consultations
  • Extensive field studies
  • Comprehensive laboratory capabilities
  • Analytical/computer modeling capabilities

Our extensive experience allows us to rapidly and economically:

  • Characterize machinery problems
  • Diagnose the cause
  • Predict the consequences
  • Assess alternate designs
  • Recommend solutions

A wide variety of portable sensors, data acquisition systems, analyzers, and measurement systems is maintained to support work in the field at your facility. A "ready-to-travel" status supports overnight response to critical-need situations worldwide for the gas pipeline, power generator, paper, and process industries.


Owners, operators, and suppliers of reciprocating machinery, piping, turbomachinery, and associated plant systems can take advantage of our machinery vibration engineering services that include:

  • Machinery Torsional Dynamics: Shaft, couplings, and gear damage occur when torsional critical speed coincides with strong excitation.
  • Fan and Duct Dynamics: SwRI engineers identify critical speed, foundation resonance, disk wobble, thermal bow, impeller cracking, unstable drives, rotating stall, and blade vibration.
  • Rotordynamic Analysis: SwRI applies state-of-the-art rotordynamics tools to diagnose and rectify problems with rotating machinery and to design new equipment. Lateral critical speeds analysis includes bearings, stiffness and damping coefficients, unbalance response, rotor instability, and mode shapes. Transient torsional speed analysis includes synchronous motor start-ups and cumulative fatigue damage.
  • Reciprocating Compressor Foundation Integrity: SwRI predicts foundation loads, the stresses they cause, and the potential for concrete cracking. Alternative approaches are analyzed to control stresses and cracking.
  • Reciprocating Compressor Field Support: A full range of field engineering services are available to measure, analyze, and correct problems affecting safe, reliable reciprocating compressor operation.
  • Reciprocating Pump Support Services: We offer a full range of field engineering services to measure, analyze, and correct problems affecting safe, reliable reciprocating pump operation.
  • Flow-Induced Vibration and Noise: SwRI experience includes solving flow-induced vibration and noise problems with safety relief valves, heat exchangers, heat recovery steam generators, and flow splitters.
  • Centrifugal Pump Problem Diagnosis: We can help you with a line of services for eliminating centrifugal pump problems, such as vibration, pulsation, and cavitation, as early in the design and operating stage as possible.
  • Crankshaft Strain in Large Integral Reciprocating Engine/Compressors: To avoid reciprocating engine or compressor crankshaft failures, SwRI monitors bearing alignment and measures and records dynamic strain in the root of the crank web.
  • Finite Element Dynamic Analysis: Finite element analysis complements field problem solving and failure analyses services to diagnose causes and develop design solutions.
  • Root Cause Failure Analysis: Investigations combine the technologies of fractographic examination, materials evaluation, structural analysis, dynamic loading, thermal environment prediction, fracture mechanics analysis, and frequency testing.
  • Troubleshooting Turbomachinery Operating and Installation Problems: SwRI performs vibration problem diagnosis, monitoring systems and surveys, resonance identification, flow-induced vibration, rotating machinery diagnosis, installation and commissioning support, rotor balancing, and third-party evaluation.
  • Turbomachinery Performance Diagnosis: Diagnosis of measurement accuracy, performance measurements, power output, and heat rate. Meter audits and flow meter calibrations. Heat rate improvement studies, waste heat recovery analyses, and fluid mechanics and heat transfer analyses.
  • Design Assurance: Rotor dynamics analysis (lateral, torsional, or instability), pulsation control, FEA and CFD analyses, and probabilistic evaluation. Design consultation and technical representation. Optimization and system integration for specialty applications of turbines and turbocompressors.
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics: We investigate and study a broad range of problems such as penetration mechanics, computational constitutive modeling, turbulent fluid flow, complex fluid flows, large deformation material response, failure response, multiphase flow, and fate and transport modeling.
  • Metering Research Facility (MRF): The MRF provides assistance with flow meter design, development, and calibration; meter station layout and optimization; field meter diagnostics and troubleshooting; gas sampling methods; and personnel training.
  • Flow Measurement: Test gas flow rates up to approximately 7,000,000 standard cubic feet per hour can be provided at pressures ranging from near atmospheric to 1,215 psig. Pipe and flow meter diameters from 0.25 to 20 inches can be accommodated.
  • Fluid Machinery and Design Services: Capabilities include simulation, analysis, and design of reciprocating and centrifugal compressors, pumps, and their associated piping and valves. The design facility emphasizes a concurrent engineering approach consisting of a number of integrated elements.
  • Gas Turbine Technology: SwRI works with turbine users, suppliers, and manufacturers of gas turbines to provide technical services, expertise, and research facilities to design, construct, and operate reliable and efficient turbines that meet market needs and respect the environment.

Contact us for more information about our machinery vibration services capabilities, any other capabilities, or how to contract with SwRI. Give us the opportunity to become an extension of your engineering department.