Laby® Compressor

Laby® Compressor – Contactless Labyrinth Sealing for Highest Availability

75 Years of Continuous Development

Since Burckhardt Compression first introduced the Laby® Compressor in 1935 we have been able to increase our application know-how. In close cooperation with our customers we have transferred this know-how into a second to none compressor solution with outstanding performance. Originally designed for the safe compression of ammonia, continuous improvements and further developments have made the Laby® today one of the most reliable compressor solutions for numerous applications handling complex gases:
– bone-dry gases
– humid gases
– cryogenic gases
– dirty, dust laden, contaminated gases in fouling services
– clean gases where no pollution of the gas is allowed
– reactive, explosive, corrosive or toxic gases

All major industrial gas suppliers, global players in the polyolefin production, renowned process licensees, international partners for gas liquefaction systems and many producers of chemicals trust Burckhardt Compression and depend on the unsurpassed reliability of Laby® Compressors. Thousands of installations underscore this long success story.
Laby® CompressorLaby® – Design Features (click to enlarge)

What’s the Secret Behind?

Laby® Compressor
Labyrinth sealing (click to enlarge)

The Laby® is a vertical in-line reciprocating compressor with a simple and rugged compressor design including two features which make the Laby® unique.

Labyrinth Sealing – for Contactless, Oil-free Compression

The unique technology is applied between the piston and the cylinder wall and between the piston rod gland and the piston rod. The labyrinth sealing effect is created by numerous tiny throttling points. At each of these throttling points, pressure energy is transformed into kinetic energy as a result of the flow restriction. The process continues at each throttling point/volume chamber combination along the piston and piston rod gland until the required reduction in pressure is attained. A small clearance volume is maintained between the adjoining surfaces. The low level amount of gas passing through the sealing system is recovered internally.

Separation of Sealing and Guiding Elements – for Lowest Wear and Lowest Maintenance

The strict separation of the lubricated guiding elements in the crankgear from the contactless sealing elements of the piston and piston rod is essential for the functionality and efficiency of the compressor. The oil scraper rings, located close to the guide bearing, ensure the most efficient removal of oil from the piston rod. Lubricating oil is prevented from entering the compression room.


Compressor type D/E K
Discharge pressure [bara] / [psia] up to 300 / 4350 up to 120 / 1740
Capacity [Nm3/h] / [scfm] up to 48’000 / 28’000 up to 15’000 / 8’800




Gases Handled

  • Ammonia
  • Argon
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Chlorine
  • Dust laden gases
  • Hydrocarbon gases
  • Mixed gases
  • Nitrogen
  • Oxygen
  • Process air
  • Refrigerants
  • VCM (Vinyl Chloride Monomer)