FIELD OF INVENTION
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention is used to carry and position a drilling apparatus in oil and gas industry. In particular, the invention of an articulated arm assembly described here is to carry and position a drilling related apparatus such as power tong, roughneck, drill sting, top drive, casing tong and any other applicable apparatus from the storage position to a working position such as well center or mouse hole with a means of safer, more efficient and reliable, and also less risk for rig crew to hand the drill string during drilling operation.
In drilling industry, handling a drilling string is routine and tedious work performed almost on daily basis. The apparatus normally called power tong or roughneck is often utilized to make or break the threaded tool joint connection of a drilling string.
It is necessary to move the power tong or the roughneck between various locations including well center, mouse hole and a storage position. But it could be difficult to move such device on the rig due to unit heavy weight, limited space around the well center, which can cause accidents that could damage drilling apparatus and injure rig crew.
One method in prior art to carry the power tong or roughneck in the prior art form well enter back forward to a storage position is mount the unit on a trolley that rides on a pair of tracks mounted on the drill floor. The problem with this configuration is that the floor mounted tracks often create tripping hazards for the rig crew. It becomes difficult and usually complex when multiple locations are required to move the units. It takes too much space on the rig.
A second type of carrying device is to use a telescopic arm driven by hydraulic cylinder. It requires extra space and costly to manufacture, and also it is limited with the weight and size.
A third type of device for positioning is to swing the tong or roughneck using a C-shaping mechanism where the unit is pivotally hanging on the top the structure. The problem of this type of device is difficult to position the unit because the weight of unit keeps the vertical position. Moreover it is limited with relative short reach out.
A fourth type of device (U.S. Pat. No. 700,502) discloses a dual parallelogram arms and mechanically synchronized between the dual parallelograms. A hydraulic cylinder drives the first parallelogram, and the second parallelogram is forced to extend and retract with synchronized link. The problems related to this device are that it has too many linkages and rotational elements that tend to wear and fail even, and that structurally the synchronized linkage as a main load path, becomes a weak link and easily wear and break. It is costly to fabricate and difficult to service.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Many of these positioning device disclosed in the prior arts are generally having too many moving elements difficult to control, prone to wear and break. All the devices lack self-holding function in case a hydraulic cylinder breaks, which can cause the tong or the roughneck to fall on the floor if that happens. It would be desirable to develop a positioning device that is ease to fabricate, few moving elements, reliable and simple to position the unit.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The invention of an articulated arm assembly described here is developed to carry a drilling related apparatus such as power tong, roughneck, drill sting, top drive, casing tong and any other applicable apparatus from the storage position to a working position such as well center or mouse hole. The preferred embodiment includes a combination of a pair of offset parallelograms and the dual compression support members, a column, a guide moving along the column. When a hydraulic cylinder or pneumatic cylinder moves the guide up and down along the column, the parallelograms swing in and out by the support members. It transfers the vertical movement of a guide to the horizontal movement of the drilling apparatus. Further, unlike the devices in all prior arts, in this invention once the drilling apparatus is swung out in a desire position, the guide will stay in the current location with friction between the guide and column even removed, therefore, the drilling apparatus attached to the parallelogram will not fall to floor.
FIG. 1 is a preferred embodiment of the articulated arm assembly.
FIG. 2 is a typical arrangement of the articulated arm assembly with drilling apparatus in both storage and desired position such as well center.
FIG. 3 is the configuration drawing of one preferred embodiment of this articulated arm assembly without showing a drilling apparatus or tool attached.
FIG. 4 shows dual parallelograms in a preferred embodiment in this invention.
FIG. 5A, 5B, 5C, 5D show the alternative embodiments that can achieve the same results disclosed in this invention without departing the essence of this invention.
DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENTS
FIG. 6 also shows another embodiment that is basically falling well within the same scope of this invention.
FIG. 1 is a 3d picture showing the preferred embodiment of the articulated arm assembly without showing a drilling apparatus attached the lower end of the parallelogram.
FIG. 2 is a typical arrangement of the articulated arm assembly with drilling apparatus such as a power tong attached to the lower end of the parallelogram. It shows the drilling apparatus is located in a storage position and travels to the well center by the articulated arm assembly.
FIG. 3 is the configuration drawing of a preferred embodiment of this articulated arm assembly without showing a drilling apparatus or tool attached.
The arm assembly comprises at least one parallelogram which includes a upper member or linkage 12, lower member or linkage 13, a lower bracket 15, a upper linkage or the guide 8, wherein all the said members 12, 13 and the lower bracket 15 and the guide 8 are pivotally connected with pins.
The arm assembly further comprises a column 9, a pedestal 2 to support the column. A hydraulic cylinder 7 is connected the guide 8 moving up and down along the column 9. A plurality of rollers 10 mounted to the guide roll on the outer surface of the column 9 while the guide moves up and down along the column 9.
In a preferred embodiment a second guide 4 is also attached to the lower portion of the column 9, and a second hydraulic cylinder 5 connects to the first guide 8 at its upper end and the lower end of the second cylinder 5 connects to the pedestal 2. Once the second guide 4 moves up and down long the column 9 driven by the said second cylinder 5, the first said guide 8, the first cylinder 7, the said support member 18 and the drilling apparatus will move simultaneously with the second guide 4 along the column 9, wherein a hydraulic valve holds the said first cylinder 7 so the piston of the first said cylinder piston can not be extended or retracted
The arm assembly further comprises at least one support member 18 which is pivotally connected to the at least one member either 12 or 13, the lower end 3 of the support member is also pivotally connected to second guide 4. The lower end 3 of the support member 18 stays the same location and the upper end 17 of the support member 18 pushes or pushes the parallelogram when the guide 8 moves up and down, therefore, the parallelogram member 12 and 13 swing in and out while the column 9 is always remains in substantially vertical position.
The advantage of this arm assembly is that a drilling apparatus attached to the bracket 15 will maintain the same orientation without titling forward or backward while it unit travels back or forward from well center to the storage position. In addition, once the unit travels close to the desired well center, the support member 18 and the guide 8 will hold the parallelogram and thus the drilling apparatus in the desired position even if the cylinder 5 fails to hold, therefore, this arm assembly provides an inherent mechanical safety means to prevent from potential equipment damage or rig crew injury.
A preferred embodiment of this arm assembly has dual parallelograms 19 & 22 and dual support members 18 & 20 offset in parallel planes with a distance approximately to the column width. A dual compression support member 18 & 20 connect, in a preferred embodiment of this invention, to the middle or the vicinity of middle of lower member 13 with pivotal pins 17, and the lower end of support member 18 is attached to a second guide 4 with pivotal pins.
The alternative embodiments are shown in FIG. 5A, FIG. 5B, FIG. 5C, and FIG. 5D by connecting the support member 18 to the upper member 12 instead to the lower member 13 in FIG. 5A, or by adding more support members 18 b in FIG. 5B, or adding additional member 23, 24, 25 in FIG. 5C, 5D,
An another embodiment shown in FIG. 6 is to add a third member 26 in parallel to the member 12 and 13.
It should be appreciated by those of skill in the art, in light of present disclosure, that many variations or similar embodiments can be made to obtain the same or similar results disclosed in the invention, essentially within the same spirit and scope of this invention.