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Publication numberUS20050269133 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/137,052
Publication dateDec 8, 2005
Filing dateMay 25, 2005
Priority dateJun 4, 2004
Also published asCA2508157A1
Publication number11137052, 137052, US 2005/0269133 A1, US 2005/269133 A1, US 20050269133 A1, US 20050269133A1, US 2005269133 A1, US 2005269133A1, US-A1-20050269133, US-A1-2005269133, US2005/0269133A1, US2005/269133A1, US20050269133 A1, US20050269133A1, US2005269133 A1, US2005269133A1
InventorsGraham Little
Original AssigneeGraham Little
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Handling apparatus
US 20050269133 A1
Abstract
A handling apparatus comprising: a base unit; a first elongate support pivotally coupled at a first end to the base unit; a second elongate support pivotally coupled at a first end to the base unit; a head assembly for releasably retaining an elongate member, said head assembly being supported, in use, by the first and second elongate supports; wherein the first and second elongate supports are pivotally coupled to the head assembly at respective second ends thereof; and whereby the first and second elongate supports can pivot relative to the base unit whilst remaining substantially mutually parallel with at least part of the head unit maintained in a substantially constant orientation.
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Claims(29)
1. A handling apparatus comprising:
a base unit;
a first elongate support pivotally coupled at a first end to the base unit;
a second elongate support pivotally coupled at a first end to the base unit;
a head assembly for releasably retaining an elongate member, said head assembly being supported, in use, by the first and second elongate supports;
wherein the first and second elongate supports are pivotally coupled to the head assembly at respective second ends thereof; and
whereby the first and second elongate supports can pivot relative to the base unit whilst remaining substantially mutually parallel with at least part of the head unit maintained in a substantially constant orientation.
2. A handling apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein the first and second supports are substantially co-planar.
3. A handling apparatus as claimed in claim 2 wherein the first and second supports are, in use, provided in a substantially vertical plane.
4. A handling apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein there is provided a driving mechanism for forcing the first and second supports to pivot relative to the base unit.
5. A handling apparatus as claimed in claim 4 wherein the driving mechanism can force one of the first and second supports, which in turn forces the other support.
6. A handling apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein the head assembly comprises a first head portion which is pivotally coupled to the second ends of the first and second supports.
7. A handling apparatus as claimed in claim 6 wherein the head assembly further comprises a second head portion which is selectively orientable relative to the first head portion.
8. A handling apparatus as claimed in claim 7 wherein there is provided a driving mechanism for orientating the second head portion relative to the first head portion.
9. A handling apparatus as claimed in claim 7 wherein the second head portion supports one or more clamping mechanisms for clamping onto an elongate member.
10. A handling apparatus as claimed in claim 9 wherein the one or each clamping mechanism comprises a pair of jaws.
11. A handling apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein the handling apparatus is for handling elongate members which are drill rods.
12. A handling apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein the handling apparatus comprises at least one pair of jaws for gripping an elongate member to be handled, said pair of jaws being operable between a more open configuration and a more closed configuration by a driven member moveable between a first position and a second position, wherein the relative motion of the jaws between the more open configuration and the more closed configuration is substantially in a plane, and the direction of movement of the driven member between the first and second positions is substantially perpendicular to said plane.
13. A handling apparatus for handling elongate members comprising:
a base unit;
at least one support member extending from the base unit, the at least one support member being pivotally attached to the base unit towards a first end of said at least one support member; and
a head assembly comprising a retaining mechanism for releasably retaining elongate members;
wherein the head assembly includes a first link for attachment between the at least one support member and the retaining mechanism, said first link being pivotably coupled with respect to the retaining mechanism and the at least one support member.
14. A handling apparatus as claimed in claim 13 wherein the handling apparatus further comprises a second link between the first link and the retaining mechanism, said second link being pivotally coupled to the first link and the retaining mechanism.
15. A handling apparatus as claimed in claim 14 wherein there are provided at least two support members, each pivotally coupled to the base unit and each pivotally coupled to the first link.
16. A handling apparatus as claimed in claim 15 wherein the at least two support members are arranged to remain substantially mutually parallel during use of the apparatus.
17. A handling apparatus as claimed in claim 14 wherein a locking mechanism for preventing pivotal movement of the second link relative to the first link is provided.
18. A handling apparatus as claimed in claim 17 wherein the locking mechanism comprises a locking member adapted to prevent relative movement of adjacent portions of the first and second links.
19. A handling apparatus as claimed in claim 13 wherein the apparatus further comprises a support driving mechanism for forcing relative pivotal movement of the at least one support and the base unit.
20. A handling apparatus as claimed in claim 14 wherein the apparatus further comprises a retaining-mechanism driving mechanism for forcing relative pivotal movement of the retaining mechanism relative to the at least one support.
21. A handling apparatus as claimed in claim 20 wherein the retaining-mechanism driving mechanism comprises a first driving element for forcing relative pivotal movement of the second link relative to the first link, and a second driving element for forcing relative pivotal movement of the retaining mechanism relative to the second link.
22. A handling apparatus as claimed in claim 13 wherein at least one pair of jaws is provided to grip elongate members.
23. A handling apparatus as claimed in claim 13 wherein the base unit is rotatable about a substantially vertical axis.
24. A handling apparatus as claimed in claim 13 wherein the base unit is provided with a frame or track along which it can be moved laterally.
25. A handling apparatus as claimed in claim 13 wherein the handling apparatus further comprises at least one pair of jaws for gripping an elongate member to be handled, said pair of jaws being operable between a more open configuration and a more closed configuration by a driven member moveable between a first position and a second position, wherein the relative motion of the jaws between the more open configuration and the more closed configuration is substantially in a plane, and the direction of movement of the driven member between the first and second positions is substantially perpendicular to said plane.
26. A handling apparatus which includes at least one pair of jaws for gripping an elongate member to be handled;
wherein said at least one pair of jaws is operable between a more open configuration and a more closed configuration by a driven member which can be moved between a first position and a second position;
and wherein the jaws operate substantially in a plane, and the direction of movement of the driven member between the first position and the second position is substantially perpendicular to said plane.
27. A handling apparatus as claimed in claim 26 wherein the handling apparatus comprises at least two pairs of jaws which operate in substantially parallel planes.
28. A handling apparatus as claimed in claim 26 wherein the driven member is driven by fluid pressure.
29. A handling apparatus as claimed in claim 26 wherein the driven member is part of a piston assembly.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a handling apparatus and especially but not exclusively to a handling apparatus for drill rods.

BACKGROUND

There are a number of difficulties associated with powered equipment for handling drill rods, including lack of space at some mast locations, adequately accurately orientating the drill rods for insertion into a drill string or placement on a drill rod stand, and stable and secure handling of drill rods of considerable length and mass.

It would be desirable if at least preferred embodiments of at least some aspects of the invention could mitigate one or more of these difficulties.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided a handling apparatus comprising:

a base unit;

a first elongate support pivotally coupled at a first end to the base unit;

a second elongate support pivotally coupled at a first end to the base unit;

a head assembly for releasably retaining an elongate member, said head assembly being supported, in use, by the first and second elongate supports;

wherein the first and second elongate supports are pivotally coupled to the head assembly at respective second ends thereof; and

whereby the first and second elongate supports can pivot relative to the base unit whilst remaining substantially mutually parallel with at least part of the head unit maintained in a substantially constant orientation.

Preferably the first and second supports are substantially co-planar.

Preferably the first and second supports are, in use, provided in a substantially vertical plane.

Preferably there is provided a driving mechanism for forcing the first and second supports to pivot relative to the base unit.

The driving mechanism may force one of the first and second supports, which in turn forces the other support.

The head preferably includes a first head portion which is pivotally coupled to the second ends of the first and second supports.

The head preferably includes a second head portion which is selectively orientable relative to the first head portion.

Preferably there is provided a driving mechanism for orientating the second head portion relative to the first head portion.

The second head portion preferably supports one or more clamping mechanisms for clamping onto an elongate member.

Preferably the one or each clamping mechanism comprises a pair of jaws.

Preferably the handling apparatus is for handling elongate members which are drill rods.

Preferably the handling apparatus further comprises at least one pair of jaws for gripping an elongate member to be handled, said pair of jaws being operable between a more open configuration and a more closed configuration by a driven member moveable between a first position and a second position, wherein the relative motion of the jaws between the more open configuration and the more closed configuration is substantially in a plane, and the direction of movement of the driven member between the first and second positions is substantially perpendicular to said plane.

According to a second aspect of the present invention there is provided a handling apparatus for handling elongate members comprising:

a base unit;

at least one support member extending from the base unit, the at least one support member being pivotally attached to the base unit at a first end of said at least one support member; and

a head assembly comprising a retaining mechanism for releasably retaining elongate members;

wherein the head assembly includes a first link for attachment between the at least one support member and the retaining mechanism, said first link being pivotably coupled with respect to the retaining mechanism and the at least one support member.

Preferably the handling apparatus further comprising a second link between the first link and the retaining mechanism, said second link being pivotally coupled to the first link and the retaining mechanism.

Provision of serial first and second links between the support member and the retaining mechanism helps provide a wide range of possible orientations for the retaining mechanism relative to the at least one support member facilitating capture of elongate members in a wide range of orientations.

Preferably there are provided at least two support members, each pivotally coupled to the base unit.

Preferably the at least two support members are pivotally coupled to the first link member.

Preferably the at least two support members are arranged to remain substantially mutually parallel during use of the apparatus.

A locking mechanism for preventing pivotal movement of the second link relative to the first link may be provided.

The locking mechanism may comprise a locking member adapted to prevent relative movement of adjacent portions of the first and second links.

The said adjacent portions of the first and second links are preferably spaced apart from the pivotable coupling of the first and second links.

The said adjacent portions of the first and second links may define respective apertures.

The locking member may be adapted to be retained in said apertures.

The apparatus preferably further comprises a support driving mechanism for forcing relative pivotal movement of the at least one support and the base unit.

The apparatus preferably further comprises a retaining-mechanism driving mechanism for forcing relative pivotal movement of the retaining mechanism relative to the support.

The retaining-mechanism driving mechanism preferably comprises a first driving element for forcing relative pivotal movement of the second link relative to the first link, and a second driving element for forcing relative pivotal movement of the retaining mechanism relative to the second link.

The driving mechanisms and/or driving elements preferably comprise hydraulic pistons. However, as an alternative, other driving mechanisms or elements could be used as one or more driving mechanisms and/or elements.

The retaining mechanism preferably comprises an elongate frame.

Preferably, in use, the elongate frame is adapted to be at a fixed angle relative to an elongate member being retained by the retaining mechanism.

Preferably, in use, the elongate frame is adapted to be substantially parallel to an elongate member being retained by the retaining mechanism.

In a preferred embodiment which includes first and second supports, adapted to remain substantially mutually parallel, the second link may be pivotally locked relative to the first link, and the orientation of the first link is maintained constant during pivoting of the support members due to the four-bar linkage formed by the base unit, support members and first link. This means that the orientation of the second link is constant even when the second link, and the retaining mechanism, are being moved laterally relative to the base unit. Thus, the orientation of the elongate frame of the retaining mechanism is determined by the relative orientation of the elongate frame and the second link. Thus one or more stops or limiters may be provided on the second link to define the extremes of the orientation of the elongate frame. This can be of considerable utility since in, for example, a situation where elongate members are to be picked up from a rack where they are to be provided by the apparatus at 30 degrees to the vertical, the steps or limiters can be set to define appropriate angles of the elongate frame. This helps eliminate operator error and greatly facilitates handling elongate members.

In a preferred embodiment at least one pair of jaws is provided to grip elongate members.

The jaws are preferably moveable parallel to the elongate frame. This allows proper positioning of elongate members in, for example, a preferred embodiment in which the height at which the elongate frame is positioned varies as the elongate frame is moved laterally towards or away from the base unit.

Preferably the base unit is rotatable.

Preferably the base unit is rotatable about a substantially vertical axis.

Preferably the base unit is provided with a frame or track along which it can be moved laterally.

Preferably the handling apparatus further comprises at least one pair of jaws for gripping an elongate member to be handled, said pair of jaws being operable between a more open configuration and a more closed configuration by a driven member moveable between a first position and a second position, wherein the relative motion of the jaws between the more open configuration and the more closed configuration is substantially in a plane, and the direction of movement of the driven member between the first and second positions is substantially perpendicular to said plane.

It will be understood that the base unit may include two or more parts without departing from the scope of the invention. For example providing first and second parts which might be considered to be separate base units, with a first elongate support coupled to the “first” base unit and a second elongate support coupled to the “second” base unit is an option that should be considered to fall within the scope of the first and second aspects, and of the claims relating to these aspects.

According to a third aspect of the present invention there is provided a handling apparatus which includes at least one pair of jaws for gripping an elongate member to be handled;

wherein said at least one pair of jaws are operable between a more open configuration and a more closed configuration by a driven member which can be moved between a first position and a second position;

and wherein the jaws operate substantially in a plane, and the direction of movement of the driven member between the first position and the second position is substantially perpendicular to said plane.

Preferably the handling apparatus comprises at least two pairs of jaws.

Preferably said at least two pairs of jaws operate in substantially parallel planes.

Preferably the driven member is connected to at least one jaw of a pair of jaws by a link assembly.

The driven member may be driven by fluid pressure.

The driven member may be part of a piston assembly.

The driven member may be part of a hydraulic piston assembly.

The axis of the piston is preferably substantially perpendicular to the plane in which the jaws operate.

The link assembly preferably connects the driven member to each of the jaws of a pair of jaws.

The link assembly is preferably arranged so that as the part of the driven member which is attached to the link assembly is moved away from the plane of the jaws, at least one part of the link assembly is drawn towards a centreline of the jaw assembly. Thus the jaws may be forced together.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Preferred embodiments of aspects of the present invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a side view of a handling apparatus, in the form of a drill rod handler, in a first position;

FIG. 2 is a side view of the drill rod handler of FIG. 1 positioned to take a drill rod from an inclined mast;

FIG. 3 is an enlargement showing the drill rod handler as shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a side view of the drill rod handler of FIGS. 1 to 3 stacking a first drill rod in a rod stacking frame;

FIG. 5 is an enlargement of the drill rod handler as shown in FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a side view of the drill rod handler of FIGS. 1 to 5 stacking a rod in a stacking frame which is almost full;

FIG. 7 is an enlargement of the drill rod handler as shown in FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a side view of the drill rod handler arranged and positioned to pick up a substantially horizontal drill rod;

FIG. 9 is a side view corresponding to a short time after the rod handler of FIG. 8 has picked up the drill rod, illustrating how the handler and rod have moved;

FIG. 10 is a side view corresponding to a short time after the position shown in FIG. 9 has occurred, and illustrating the handler having moved the drill rod to a vertical orientation for loading into a rotation head;

FIG. 11 is an enlargement of the drill rod handler as shown in FIG. 10;

FIG. 12 is a side view of a drill rod handler about to be used for taking drill rods from a vertical mast and placing them in a rod stacking frame;

FIG. 13 is a side view of the drill rod handler engaging a vertical drill rod at a vertical mast;

FIG. 14 is an enlargement of the drill rod handler as shown in FIG. 13;

FIG. 15 is a side view of the drill rod handler having moved a drill rod from the vertical mast to an empty rod stacking frame;

FIG. 16 is an enlargement of the drill rod handler as shown in FIG. 15;

FIG. 17 is a side view of the drill rod handler placing a drill rod in the frame shown in FIG. 15, when the frame is almost full;

FIG. 18 is an enlargement of the drill rod handler as shown in FIG. 17;

FIG. 19 is a side elevation of part of a handling apparatus, in the form of a drill rod handler, showing a retaining mechanism including two pairs of jaws for gripping a drill rod;

FIG. 20 a is a plan view of a pair of jaws, and corresponding operating mechanism, of the mechanism of FIG. 19 in an open configuration;

FIG. 20 b is a side view of the operating mechanism for the jaws in the configuration shown in FIG. 20 a;

FIG. 21 a is a plan view of a pair of jaws and corresponding operating mechanism in a more closed configuration; and

FIG. 21 b is a side view of the operating mechanism for the jaws in the configuration shown in FIG. 21 a.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

With reference to the drawings, a preferred embodiment of a handling apparatus in the form of a drill rod handler, generally designated 100, is illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 7 in a configuration suitable for, and in the stages of taking drill rods 70 (one at a time) from an inclined mast 75 and stacking the drill rods in a rod stacking frame 80.

As shown in FIGS. 1 to 8, and with particular reference to FIG. 1, the drill rod handler 100 comprises a base 102 and first and second support members in the form of respective first and second arms 104, 204. The arms 104, 204 are pivotally attached to the base 102 at their respective first ends 106, 206 and are pivotally attached to a first link in the form of an elevator frame 110, at their respective second ends 108, 208. The pivotal attachments of the arms 104, 204 are spaced apart appropriately, and the arms 104, 204 are dimensioned so that the arms remain parallel in use, and consequently the orientation of the elevator frame 110 remains constant in use, irrespective of changes in the angle of elevation of the arms 104,204.

Providing two parallel arms provides greater load bearing capacity than would a single arm, and allows long rods to be handled.

The arms 104, 204 can be moved by a driving mechanism in the form of first and second hydraulic cylinders 120, 130. The first hydraulic cylinder is pivotally attached to the base 102 at a first end 122 thereof and is pivotally attached to a first end 142 of a floating support 140 at the second end 124 of the first hydraulic cylinder 120. The first end 132 of the second hydraulic cylinder 130 is attached to the first end 142 of the floating support 140, and the second end 134 of the second hydraulic cylinder 130 is attached to the first arm 104. The second end 144 of the floating support 140 is pivotally attached to the base 102. Retracting of one or both of the hydraulic cylinders 120, 130 pulls the arms 104, 204 and elevator frame 110 into a more elevated position, so that the elevator frame is laterally relatively close to the base 102.

The elevator frame 110 is pivotally attached to a second link member in the form of a loader tilt arm 150, by a pivot arrangement 152. However, as illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 8, the elevator frame 110 and the loader tilt arm 150 can be prevented from relative pivotal movement by insertion of a locking insert pin 154 which passes through coaxially aligned apertures in the elevator frame 110 and the loader tilt arm 150.

The loader tilt arm 150 is pivotally attached to an elongate frame in the form of a loader head frame 160. The loader head frame is provided with first and second sets of jaws 162, 164, which are spaced apart by a spacer 166. A head cylinder 168 is operable to move the spacer 166 and jaws 162, 164 along the loader head frame 160.

A third hydraulic cylinder 170 is provided for driving relative pivotal movement of the elevator frame 110 and the loader tilt arm 150 (although it cannot be effectively operated while the locking insert pin 154 is in position).

A fourth hydraulic cylinder 180 is provided to drive relative pivotal movement of the loader tilt arm 150 and the loader head frame 160.

As the orientation of the elevator frame 110 (in the plane of the arms 104,204) is constant during use, when the locking insert pin 154 is in position, the orientation of the loader tilt arm 150 is also constant, so the orientation of the loader head frame 160 can be determined by the fourth cylinder 180 which can control the orientation of the loader head frame relative to the loader tilt arm 150. Adjustable stops or rotation limiters 182, 184 are provided on the loader tilt arm 150 to allow desired extremes of orientation of the loader head frame 160 to be preset prior to use of the rod handler 100.

As shown in FIGS. 2 to 7, the rod handler 100 can be used to take rods from an inclined mast 75 of any of a wide range of angles of inclination—about 45 degrees to 90 degrees for the illustrated embodiment—and place them in the rod stacking frame 80.

The base 102 is pivotable about a vertical axis by a hydraulic motor 190 and is moveable laterally along a track structure 193 upon which it is mounted, by a transverse motor 195, so as to be able to allow the rod handler to access both the mast 75 and the rod stacking frame 80.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 4 to 7 the fourth cylinder 180 is retracted so that the loader head 160 comes into contact with the stop 182 which is adjusted prior to use to provide the correct orientation of the loader head 160 to stack a rod in a stacking frame with a given known racking angle.

As shown best in FIGS. 2 and 3 the fourth cylinder 180 can be extended so that the loader head 160 comes into contact with the stop 184 which is adjusted prior to use to provide the correct orientation of the loader head 160 to correspond to the orientation of the mast 75.

Use of the adjustable stops 182,184 thus allows rods 70 to be moved between a mast 75 and a stacking frame 80 without requiring an operator to exercise great skill in orienting the loader head to the correct rod orientation for each rod.

Although as shown in FIGS. 1 to 7, the orientation of, for example, the loader tilt arm 150 remains constant, it will be appreciated that its elevation changes as the orientation of the arms 104 varies. This can be compensated by using the head cylinder 168 to alter the elevation of the jaws 162, 164 relative to the loader head frame 160, as can be seen by a comparison of FIGS. 5 and 7.

FIGS. 8 to 11 show the rod handler 100 being used for loading drill rods 70 from a stack in which they are orientated horizontally, and operating to load them into a vertical rotation head. The important difference between this operation and the operation illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 7 is that in order to pick up horizontal rods the locking insert pin 154 is removed. This allows the loader tilt arm 150 to be pivoted relative to the elevator frame 110 by the third cylinder 170, providing a greater range of movement of the loader head frame 160. Apertures 150 a, 110 a which were (as illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 7) held together by the insert locking pin 154, have been moved apart as shown in FIG. 8.

The operations involved in loading drill rods 70 from a stack in which they are orientated horizontally, and operating to load them into a vertically orientated rotation head are illustrated by and explained with reference to FIGS. 8 to 11. It is perhaps worth noting that because the fourth cylinder 180 can be locked in a predetermined position (using needle valves in a preferred embodiment), the loader head frame 160 is locked in a predetermined position relative to the loader tilt arm 150, and orientation of the loader head frame 160 and rod 70 are determined by operation of the third cylinder 170.

As shown in FIG. 8, the third cylinder 170 is retracted, corresponding to the loader head frame 160 being in a horizontal orientation.

As shown in FIG. 9 the third cylinder is partially extended to rotate the loader head frame 160 into an inclined orientation, and at the same time the first and second cylinders 120,130 are retracted to elevate the elevator frame 110, loader tilt arm 150 and loader head frame 160.

As shown in FIGS. 10 and 11, the motor 190 rotates the arms 104,204, elevator frame 110, loader tilt arm 150 and head frame 160, typically 180 degrees about a vertical axis to move the rod 70 to the mast. Simultaneously the third cylinder continues to extend, until (in this example) the drill rod 70 is vertical, and the first and second cylinders 120,130 continue to retract to elevate the rod and adjust the horizontal distance between the rod 70 and the base 102.

As shown in FIG. 11 the rod 70 can be lowered by operation of the head cylinder 168.

FIGS. 12 to 18 show the rod handler 100 being used for taking rods from a vertical mast 75 a and placing them in a rod stacking frame 80. Similarly to the situation shown in FIGS. 1 to 7, the insert locking pin 154 is used to pivotally lock the loader tilt arm 150 and the elevator frame 110, and prevent operation of the third cylinder 170. The upper stop 182 can be used to preset the vertical rod position, and the lower stop 184 to preset the angle for racking. The operations involved in taking rods from a vertical mast and placing them in a rod stacking frame are illustrated by and explained with reference to FIGS. 12 to 18.

The operations are not dissimilar from those described with reference to FIG. 1 to 8. FIG. 12 shows the rod handler 100 in the same configuration as in FIGS. 15 and 16, but, for clarity, without the vertical mast 75 a or rod stacking frame 80.

With reference to FIGS. 13 and 14 the fourth cylinder 180 is retracted until the loader head frame 160 (and the rod 70) is vertical, a position which is determined by previous adjustment of upper stop 182. This orients the loader head frame for removal of a rod 70 from the vertical mast 75 a.

As shown in FIGS. 12, 15 and 16, the fourth cylinder 180 is extended until the loader head frame 160 contacts the lower stop 184, which has been preset to give the correct angle for racking.

The transverse motor 195 is used to move the rod handler 100 between the mast and the rod stacking frame 80.

It will be appreciated from the description above how operation of the first and second cylinders 120,130 and head cylinder 168 effects the elevation and reach of the arms 104,204, loader head frame 160 and rod 170, so that the rod handler can stack rods 70 onto a rod stacking frame which is empty (as in FIGS. 15 and 16) or substantially full (as in FIGS. 17 and 18).

FIG. 19 shows the loader head frame 160, head cylinder 168, and jaws 162, 164 in more detail.

FIGS. 20 a to 21 b illustrate how the jaws 162 are operated. The jaw arrangement 162 is designed to be compact in order to allow access to rods when, for example, there is a rod close to either side of the rod it is desired to pick up using the jaws 162.

Each of the first and second jaw elements 220, 240 of the pair of jaws is mounted to a respective first or second jaw holder 228, 248, by jaw pins 222. This allows easy replacement of the vulnerable jaw elements 220, 240. Each jaw holder 228, 248 is pivotably mounted to a mounting plate 227, via an insert 230, such that pivoting of the jaw holders 228, 248 allows the jaws to open or close. The jaws are operable by a hydraulic cylinder 201 which passes between the jaw holders 228, 248, in order to provide a compact configuration. The hydraulic cylinder 201 is attached at each of its ends 202 to a pair of plate links 209, and respective first and second plate links 209 of each pair are attached to the first and second jaw holders 228, 248. When the cylinder 201 is extended, or stroked out, as shown in FIGS. 21 a and 21 b, the distal ends of the first and second plate links 209 of each pair are forced away from each other, and the ends of the plate links 209 which are attached to first and second jaw holders 228, 248 are consequently pulled in towards the axis of the cylinder 201, thus clamping the jaws. It is desirable to have the cylinder aligned substantially perpendicular to the plane of the jaws in order to keep the jaw arrangement compact and help avoid the cylinder obstructing access by the jaws to objects to be grasped. In order to balance forces within the mechanism, the cylinder 201 is able to float through bushes 232 provided in the mounting plate 227. The cylinder contains a spring to bias it to its extended position, so the jaws are closed, or kept closed in the event of a hydraulics failure. It will be appreciated that hydraulic retraction of the cylinder, as shown in FIGS. 20 a and 20 b, will cause the jaws to open allowing release of an object held.

It will be appreciated that in some contexts (such as, for example, the following claim 1) the head assembly may be considered to include (but is not limited to embodiments including) the loader tilt arm 150 and the elevator frame 110 or links that have at least some functions in common with those elements.

This application claims priority from Australian Provisional Application No. 2004903011 the entire disclosure of which is hereby incorporated herein by reference.

Modification and improvements may be made to the described embodiments without departing from the scope of the invention as claimed.

It is to be understood that, if any prior art publication is referred to herein, such reference does not constitute an admission that the publication forms a part of the common general knowledge in the art, in Australia or in any other country.

In the claims which follow and in the preceding description of the invention, except where the context requires otherwise due to express language or necessary implication, the word “comprise” or variations such as “comprises” or “comprising” is used in an inclusive sense, i.e. to specify the presence of the stated features but not to preclude the presence or addition of further features in various embodiments of the invention.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7469749 *Feb 21, 2007Dec 30, 2008Live Well Service, A Division Of Precision Drilling CorporationMobile snubbing system
US7802636 *Feb 23, 2007Sep 28, 2010Atwood Oceanics, Inc.Simultaneous tubular handling system and method
US8083009 *Nov 13, 2006Dec 27, 2011Renzo ComacchioWell drilling machine with new drill pipe loader
US8408334 *Dec 7, 2009Apr 2, 2013T&T Engineering Services, Inc.Stabbing apparatus and method
US8469085Aug 4, 2010Jun 25, 2013T&T Engineering Services, Inc.Pipe stand
US8474806Jan 26, 2009Jul 2, 2013T&T Engineering Services, Inc.Pipe gripping apparatus
US8496238Feb 14, 2009Jul 30, 2013T&T Engineering Services, Inc.Tubular gripping apparatus with locking mechanism
US8646522Sep 6, 2011Feb 11, 2014T&T Engineering Services, Inc.Method of gripping a tubular with a tubular gripping mechanism
US8671626 *Jul 10, 2012Mar 18, 2014Astec Industries, Inc.Apparatus and method for a drilling rig assembly
US8690508May 24, 2011Apr 8, 2014T&T Engineering Services, Inc.Telescoping jack for a gripper assembly
US20120305233 *Jan 19, 2011Dec 6, 2012Suk Shin InRod-mounting apparatus for drilling apparatus
WO2009055861A1 *Oct 31, 2008May 7, 2009Graham LittleHandling apparatus
WO2011120627A2 *Mar 10, 2011Oct 6, 2011Herrenknecht Vertical GmbhMethod and apparatus for supplying drill pipes to and removing them from a drilling apparatus
WO2013110119A1 *Jan 17, 2013Aug 1, 2013Seed QuentonRod loader attachment
Classifications
U.S. Classification175/52, 175/85
International ClassificationE21B19/00, E21B19/14, E21B19/15
Cooperative ClassificationE21B19/155, E21B19/14
European ClassificationE21B19/15B, E21B19/14
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Dec 14, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: SANDVIK MINING AND CONSTRUCTION AUSTRALIA PTY LIMI
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:UDR GROUP LTD;REEL/FRAME:018656/0598
Effective date: 20060608
Aug 10, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: UDR GROUP LTD, AUSTRALIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:LITTLE, GRAHAM;REEL/FRAME:016627/0305
Effective date: 20050629