Rotating Equipment

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Rotating Equipment is a term generally used in the oil and gas and process industries to describe mechanical components that use kinetic energy to facilitate the movement and processing of fluids, gases, and various process materials. Rotating equipment includes, but is not limited to pumps, compressors, fans and blowers, turbines, gearboxes, and agitators and mixers.

Despite the vital role of rotating equipment in most operations, it is often managed separately from fixed equipment due to its distinct design, maintenance, and inspection requirements. Also, the majority of recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices (RAGAGEPs) for rotating equipment pertain to the design, fabrication, and installation of the equipment. As such, most of the inspection and testing requirements are derived from the manufacturer’s recommendations, common industry practices, and operating experience and history.

Common Rotating Equipment


Pumps are responsible for moving fluids from one location to another. Pumps come in various types, such as centrifugal pumps and positive displacement pumps, each designed for specific applications. Centrifugal pumps rely on the centrifugal force generated by a rotating impeller to transport fluids.  

Maintenance of pumps typically involves monitoring seals, impellers, and bearings, and performing regular inspections to prevent leaks and optimize efficiency.


Compressors play a crucial role in altering gas or air pressure within industrial setups. They encompass two primary categories: centrifugal and reciprocating. Centrifugal compressors utilize rotating impellers to elevate gas pressure, while reciprocating compressors rely on piston-driven mechanisms for compression.

Maintenance routines for compressors entail meticulous checks on seals, valves, and piston mechanisms, alongside comprehensive assessments to ensure optimal pressure and minimal energy losses.

Fans and Blowers

These components facilitate air or gas movement within industrial systems, offering ventilation or pressure alterations. Fans and blowers operate across various scales and purposes, from air circulation to cooling systems, aiding combustion, and maintaining optimal environmental conditions within processing units.

Maintenance practices for fans and blowers concentrate on inspecting blades, bearings, and motor operations, ensuring sustained functionality and minimizing potential disruptions.


Turbines serve as energy conversion mechanisms, transforming fluid or gas energy into mechanical power. Gas turbines and liquid turbines represent two fundamental categories, each tailored to specific applications such as power generation or propulsion systems.

Maintenance protocols for turbines encompass rigorous checks on rotor blades, combustion systems, and overall system performance to ensure sustained efficiency and mitigate operational risks.


Gearboxes are instrumental in adjusting the speed and torque of rotating equipment. Their role involves transmitting power between rotating components, necessitating precise gear alignments and lubrication to mitigate wear and enhance operational longevity.

Maintenance procedures for gearboxes revolve around regular lubrication, gear inspections, and alignments to prevent mechanical failures and optimize performance.

Agitators and Mixers

Agitators and mixers facilitate homogeneous blending or stirring of materials within containers or processing vessels. They play a pivotal role in achieving consistent product quality and chemical reactions.

Maintenance routines involve examining agitation mechanisms, shafts, and motors, ensuring smooth operations and consistent mixing capabilities. 

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Articles about Rotating Equipment
May/June 2020 Inspectioneering Journal

Compressors are often taken for granted and the integrity of supporting structural foundations may sometimes not receive the attention deserved. This article focuses on essential considerations regarding the integrity of structural foundations.

March/April 2019 Inspectioneering Journal

According to industry experts, particle contamination in lubricants is the number one cause of lubricant-related equipment failure. Fortunately, there are steps operators can take to reduce contamination and increase the service life of equipment.

Authors: Troy Goldman
Online Article

Inspectioneering recently had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Cary Forgeron and Samuel Fisher about the importance of oil analysis to effectively managing the reliability of rotating equipment used in the the O&G and other processing...

Authors: Jeremiah Wooten
July/August 2012 Inspectioneering Journal

Steam turbines exist in most every major industrial facility. Many of these turbines have been running for years and have been very stable. Typically, after a period of time, the equipment is shut down for maintenance during a planned outage. It is...

January/February 2004 Inspectioneering Journal

Casting defects are an age old problem for our industry that seems to be getting worse as foundries in the older industrialized world shutdown for economic reasons.

Authors: John Reynolds
Partner Content

The OmniScan™ X3 64 phased array and TFM flaw detector is equipped with enhanced phased capabilities and even faster TFM. The rugged and portable instrument features powerful 64-element probes with a 128-aperture TFM.

January/February 2000 Inspectioneering Journal

Part 1 provided a review of RBI for pressure vessels and piping and an introduction to application of RBI to rotating equipment and the differences between approaching the two different types of equipment. As promised, Part 2 will delve more deeply...

Authors: Gene R. Meyer
January/February 1997 Inspectioneering Journal

There are a number of terms to describe commonly experienced problem conditions with reciprocating compressors. One of the terms that I have always appreciated is the pendulum action of a large unsupported mass on the end of a vibrating pipe.

Authors: Del Underwood

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