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Publication numberUS3266582 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 16, 1966
Filing dateAug 24, 1962
Priority dateAug 24, 1962
Publication numberUS 3266582 A, US 3266582A, US-A-3266582, US3266582 A, US3266582A
InventorsGeorge Homanick
Original AssigneeLeyman Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Drilling system
US 3266582 A
Abstract  available in
Images(5)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

A118 l6, 1966 G. HoMANlcK 3,266,582

' DRILLING SYSTEM Filed Aug. 24, 1962A 5 sheets-sheet 1 IN VENTOR.

GEORGE HoMnN/c/c BY G. HoMANlcK 3,266,582

DRILLING SYSTEM 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 m. m. m w a M .6 w m uw 1 m 7 o H u n E l|\ N) ma m y EN I N N E L W" mm\ L B Aug. 16, 1966 Filed Aug. 24, 1962 Aug. 16, 1966 G. HoMANlcK v DRILLING SYSTEM Filed Aug. 24, 1962 5 Sheets-Shea?l 3 l l I I l I I l DRILLING SYSTEM 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 A118- 16, 1966 G. HoMANlcK DRILLING SYSTEM Filed Aug. 24, 1962 Q d@ l GEORGE HoMn/v/c/C BY (Jaja/g .S'Ern CRA/6 ,47' Tok/w56 United States Patent O 3,266,582 DRHLLING SYSTEM George Homanick, Livonia, Mich., assigner to The Leyman Corporation, Cincinnati, Ohio Filed Aug. 24, 1962, Ser. No. 219,264 8 Claims. (Cl. 175--57) This invention relates to a novel drilling system, and more particularly to a high-speed drilling system wherein all make-up operations are effected at the derrick oor level, as compared to the conventional arrangement where joints are made from thirty to ninety feet in the air above the drilling oor.

THE PROBLEM A conventional drilling rig utilizes a derrick in which sections or stands of drill pipe are racked on end so that the elevators supported by the travelling block can be attached to the top end to lift and swing the sections into place over the drill string for connection before going into the bore. It will be obvious from the foregoing that in order to connect the top of a stand or section to the elevators, a man is required at that point to make the connection. Since 'a section of drill pipe is thirty feet long, minimum, it is obvious that the man supervising this operation must be at least thirty feet in the air, as on a swinging scaffold or other support. It will be obvious that this itself is not only a dangerous operation, ibut in the case of malfunction of the connecting operation, there is not only the high danger, but the additional fact that the equipment is practically inaccessible as regards the ability of a man with only two hands, i.e., without power equipment, dangling in the air to correct the malfunction.

Accordingly, it is believed that it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that the present method of drilling earth bores such as oil wells, using elevators, and connecting to a section at a minimum of thirty feet in the air, is not only dangerous, but an antiquated system and method of operation.

It is also known that on floating drilling vessels, the problems of guiding and stabbing drill pipe and drill collars on a rocking vessel are extremely complicated. The pendulum-like swinging action of the travelling block and drill pipe combination is extremely hazardous and makes alignment and threading of the pipe connections difficult and time-consuming. In handling drill collars, guiding and positioning is effected by ropes; and the physical efforts of men and the dangers to them in performing these operations, even in the calmest of seas, leaves much to be desired.

Accordingly, an important advance in the art would b OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION It is accordingly an important object of the present invention to provide a novel drilling system capable of interim automation, requiring no physical effort, but -retaining human control and monitoring.

A further object is to provide semi-automatic method and apparatus for making and breaking drill string wherein the pipe sections are always confined and guided.

ice

A further object is vto provide method and apparatus for drilling wherein the pendulum swinging action of the travelling block and drill pipe during make-up operations is nullied.

A still further object is to provide -rnethod and apparatus for drilling wherein all pipe make-'and-break operations are performed at substantially derrick oor level, thus making it easy to monitor all drill string assembly and disassembly operations.

A further object is to provide method and apparatus for drilling, wherein the upper and lower ends of the drill pipe sections -are guided and confined in all pipemaking and breaking and transferring operations by the aid of automation components.

A further object is to provide method and apparatus for drilling wherein hydraulic control of the drill head provides accurate and shockless thread engagement.

Other objects of this invention will appear in the following description and appended claims, reference being had to the accompanying drawings forming a part of this specification wherein like reference characters designate corresponding parts in the several views.

FIGURE l is a fragmentary side elevation view of drilling apparatus incorporating the present invention;

FIGURE 2 is a top plan view of FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 2A is an enlarged fragmentary view of FIG- URE 2;

FIGURE 3 is an enlarged side elevation of the travelling block and drill head assembly of FIGURE 1 with the drill head lowered to the bottom of the travelling block in contrast to the raised position of FIGURE l;

FIGURE 4 is a front elevation View of FIGURE 3;

FIGURES 5-10 are schematic illustrations showing a trip-in sequence; and

FIGURES 11-15 are schematic illustrations showing a trip-out sequence.

PERSPECTIVE VIEW Briey, the present invention relates to method and apparatus for drilling wherein a derrick, travelling block and draw 'works of substantially conventional arrangement form the environmental surroundings for a novel powered drill head that cooperates with a transfer unit and powered trolley device to retain a drill string section under control at all times and guide the same either into or out of alignment on the drilling axis with a degree of accuracy greater than that provided by hand make-up operations and providing improved safety by the elimination of manual labor for such operations.

It is further to be noted that all stands are racked horizontally and all make-up operations performed at drilling floor level.

THE ENVIRONMENT ported by X-braces 36 and 38 are utilized for vertical travel and alignment of the drill head suspension assembly 40 forming part of the invention. A conventional draw works, not shown with depending cables 39 is utilized for controlling assembly 40.

In view of the foregoing brief environmental description, a complete and accurate description of the invention now follows:

THE INVENTION The drill head suspension assembly 40 As best shown in FIGURES 1 4 a travelling block assembly is indicated at 42 and includes a housing 44 in which two sheaves 46 are journalled in axially aligned, but spaced relation as best indicated in FIGURES 2 and 4 within appropriate recesses 4S. It will be noted that the housing 44 is of substantial body, providing great structural strength for purposes of lifting a drill string of many tons of weight. As part of housing 44, it will be noted that at the sides, there are two downwardly extending plate-like support arms 50, which as best shown in FIGURES 1 and 3 are provided with openings 52 in in the upper portions to accommodate hydraulic cylinders 54, and openings 56 in the lower portion having parallel sides 58 that serve as guides for vertically movable support blocks 60 and 61.

It will be noted that each of the hydraulic cylinders 54 is tted with a piston rod 62, connected at its lower end to the top surfaces 64, 65 of support blocks 60, 61. It will be understood that by appropriate application of hydraulic fluid into the hydraulic cylinder 54, the support blocks 60, 61 can be vertically moved with a high degree of accuracy under powered control.

The entire drill head suspension assembly 40, including the travelling block assembly 42, just described, is adapted for guided vertical movement in cooperative relationship with the previously mentioned parallel vertical guides 34 carried by the derrick 20, through sets 74 of guide rolls placed at the top and bottom on the travelling block assembly. By reference to the drawings, each set '74 of guide rolls will be noted to include two Aspaced side rolls 66, engageable with the edges 68 of parallel vertical guides 34; and a center roll 70 oriented 90 relative to the axes of rolls 66, to engage face 72 of vertical guides 34. While the roll 70 is shown to be in planar axial alignment, but oriented 90 from rolls 66, it is to be understood that the broad scope of invention would include other than planar axial alignment of all three rolls. Designating each of the sets of rolls including rolls 66 and roll 70 as a set 74, it will be noted that four such sets are employed and by reference to FIGURE 4 that two sets are used along each side of the travelling block assembly at top and bottom in vertical alignment to provide accurately guided movement of the drill head suspension assembly along the drilling axis 76.

The drill head Also, by reference to FIGURES 1-4 of the drawings, the drill head, designated by the reference numeral 78, will be observed to be cradled between the support arms G of travelling 4block assembly 42, as best shown in FIGURE 4, and being supported on heavy stub shafts 80 at each side in suitable apertures 82 at the lower portion of travelling support blocks 60, 61. Note that spacers 84 are provided :at each side of the drill head 78 to provide clearance between the sides of the unit and the travelling support blocks 60, 61. 0n the support Iblock 60 side, the spacer 84 is tted with a ring gear 86 that mates with a power gear 88 of a reversible motor 90, carried in a recess 91 in travelling block 60 in spaced relationship above the stub `shaft 80. By this arrangement, the orientation of the drill head 78 can be accurately controlled for purposes to be hereinafter described. Of course, it is to -be understood that motor 90 can be either fluid powered or electrically powered commensurate with supplies available at the drilling site.

It will be noted that the drill head 78 is provided with an axially-extending drill stub or spindle 92 having a male box joint 94 at the terminal end, 'best shown in FIG- URES 1 and 2, for connection to the female box joint of a pipe section or drill stem in a manner to be hereinafter described.

It is to be understood that the spindle 92 can be made hollow, and is supported for powered rotation in suitable bearings contained within the body of the drill head 78. In this connection, it will be noted from FIGURE 2 that the top of the body 44 of the travelling block 42 is provided ywith an aperture 45 to provide access into the interior of the hollow spindle 92 and thus into the drill string during drilling operations for tests, logging, -shing purposes and the like. It is to be understood that the drill head would include suitable shut-off valves as will be evident to those skilled in the art.

T lie central make-up area By reference to FIGURES 1 and 2, the central makeup area is designated 96 and is suitably positioned on the front side of the derrick 20 and the axis of operation is horizontal and in alignment, but transverse to the drilling :axis 76.

The .central make-up area 96 includes a transfer unit 98 that is adapted to support drill pipe at the forward or female box end, and a powered trolley 11N) to hold or trap and guide the other end of a pipe section or stand. Before describing specic details of the transfer unit, it will be mentioned that this unit clamps the female end of the pipe and serves to displace the pipe section or stand axially for pipe make-up or spin out with the drill head spindle 92 when the same has been powered into a horizontal position.

Now, |by reference to FIGURES l and 2, it will be noted that the transfer unit 9S includes a vertically extensible standard 162 that is in effect a hydraulic hoist including a cylinder 1114 and piston 106, it being understood that suitable supply lines will be provided for an appropriate hydraulic actuating fluid. It is also to be understood that limits are established for vertical movement of the device.

It will be noted that a support plate 108 is provided at the top of cylinder 1114 and carries a hydraulic cylinder 110 -at the right end thereof, as viewed in FIGURE l. The support plate 168 is provided with a guideway, hidden, in the form of a slot, to facilitate linear movement of a T-shaped support 112 having a horizontal leg 114 and a vertical leg 116 extending upwardly at about the center. It will -be understood that the horizontal leg 114 is provided with guide means on the bottom side, hidden, to mate with the guide slot of support plate 108. Also, for movement purposes, the horizontal leg 114 is provided with a downwardly extending tab 118, passing through the hidden slot of support plate 10S. The hydraulic cylinder 110 is provided with a piston rod 120 that has its -left end secured to the tab 118 and thus it will =be understood that by `appropriate application of hydraulic fluid to the cylinder, the support 112 can beV moved linearly toward and away from the male box joint 94 of the drill head stub 92, shown in FIGURES l and '2.

At this point it should be noted that vertical leg 116 is V-notched to cradle the drill stand and abut the back side of the female joint.

By reference to FIGURE 1, it will be understood that the horizontal leg 114 of bracket 112 extends forwardly beyond the vertical leg 116 to provide a cylinder support platform as at 122, as shown in FIGURE 2A. As shown in FIGURE 2A, the platform 122 carries opposing cylinders 124 with female box end grippers 126 at the forward ends of the piston rods 128 to grip the box end while the drill head spins in the male lbox joint 94.

In order that action may be controlled from a fixed starting point, a stop control cylinder 130 is carried on platform 122 and has its piston rod 132 connected to a stop arm 134, slidable along the forward end of support platform 122 in a guide as at 136, FIGURE 2A.

From the foregoing, without reference to the trolley supporting the right or male end of the stand, it will vbe observed that when the stand is positioned within the V-n-otch of the vertical leg 116 of support 112, cylinder 110 can be used to power the 4support 112 forwardly to abut the rear end of the box joint 138, FIGURE 2, and move the box joint forward to abut the pivot stop arm `184, having been moved into engageable relation by actuation of stop control cylinder 130. Actuating cylinder 130, to extend rod 132, is effective to move the stop arm 134 into alignment with the stand. This is the indexing operation and places the box end 138 in an exact position so that subsequent powering motion of cylinder 110 is effective to move the box end 138 forward to an exact engaging position with the male box end 94 of drill head 78 under careful control. It will be noted that the opposing cylinders 124 power the female box end grippers 126 to grasp the box end 138 and prevent rotation during the spin-in of the male box joint 94.

The make-up section trolley As best shown at the right side of FIGUR-ES l and 2, the make-up section trolley is generally designated by the reference numeral 100. However, before describing the specifi-c details of the trolley, it should be pointed out that it operates on a pair of parallel and horizontally disposed rails 142 supported by posts 143. It will be noted that the rails 142 are of U-channel, providing an upwardly open trough.

It will be noted that the trolley 100 includes a body member 146 having upper rollers 148 journalled to the sides thereof as on shafts` 150, FIGURE 2, and adapted to glide in the up-open trough of the rails .142; and lower rollers 152 journalled as by shafts, hidden, and adapted to engage the underside of rails '142 and lock on the body 146 for linear movement along the ra-ils.

At the forward end of the body 146, there is provided a yoke 154 in the form of upper and lower forwardly extending arms 156 and 158 between which are pivotally mounted retractable pipe support arms 160, 162, FIG- URE 2. As best shown in FIGURE 2, vthe arms 160, 162 are provided at their back ends with apertured bosses '164, 166, through which are extended vertical pivot pins 16S. .Forwardly of the bosses 164, 166, each arrn 160, 162 is provided with an outwardly-extending, wing-like roller arm 170, 172. `It will be noted that rollers 174 are journalled on the outer ends of arms 170, 172 to iit within the channel or trough of rails 142. By this arrangement, as will be described later, the arms 160, 162 are held together to support the bottom of a stand during movement to the drill axis, but can be cammed outwardly and inwardly to pass around a pipe at the drilling axis.

As best shown in FIGURE 2, it will also be noted that the arms 160, 162 carry at their extreme forward ends horizontally disposed rolls 176 of tapered configuration. Rearwardly and upwardly of the rolls 176 there is also provided a set of oppositely disposed rolls 178 having their inner ends spaced slightly, as indicated. At this point, it should also be mentioned that the forward rolls 176 are also spaced slightly at their inner ends in the same manner. The rear rolls 178 are also tapered. This lconfiguration is advantageous in that a drill stand 18() placed on the forward rolls will be directed to the center automatically to be cradled in the slot between the inner ends of the rolls.

By reference to FIGURES l and 2, it will be noted that the rolls`176 and 178 have their axes spaced apart a distance slightly greater than the length of a box joint 182 of the drill stand 180. This permits some latitude in loading, by a suitable crane mechanism, of the drill stand 180 into the make-up section trolley 100 and onto the forward transfer unit 98. As previously mentioned, provision is made for slack or misalignment in the transfer unit 98, by virtue of the upstanding vertical leg 116 of support 112.

Before proceeding further with the discussion, it should be noted that the arms 160, 162 of the trolley 6 are opened and closed by cam tracks located adjacent the front ends of the trackways or rails 142.

By reference to FIGURE 2A of the drawings, it will accordingly be noted that each track 142 is provided with a detour or switch section 184 that includes front gates 186 and rear gates 1-88. It will be understood that when the front gates 186 are opened and the rollers 174 of arms 160, 162 of the trolley 100 are diverted to the detour switch section 1'84, the arms will be swung apart while passing through the detour section and then will be pulled back together in leaving the detour section. The gates 186 and 1188 are so arranged and interlocked that when one set is open, the other set is closed and spring-loaded to the closed position. Thus, in the position shown in FIGURE 2, when the trolley 100 is moved forwardly, the gates 188 are opened to pass the wheels 174 and then return to the position indicated. When the trolley is reversed, the gates `186 now being opened will divert the wheels 174 to the detour channels 184 and swing the arms 160, 162 apart and then as they pass out of the detour section they will be swung back together again. This is used in the trip-in cycle as will be described later. In the trip-out cycle the gates are reversed; thus the gates 188 are closed and the gates 186 spring-loaded to an open position. The manner in which this function takes place also will be described hereinafter.

The trolley 100 is powered by connection to a chain 100a that is carried by sprockets 104th, 100e, and is positioned along the side of the central make-up area 96, as shown in FIGURE 2.

The sprockets 100b, 100C are mounted on shafts for rotary movement, carried in antifriction bearings, and chain 188e runs therebetween. Power for driving the chain 100:1 is supplied by a hydraulic motor ltld, connected to a gearreducer 100e and in turn connected in driving relation to the shaft on which the sprocket e is carried. A servo valve 1001 controls motor 100d.

Connection between trolley 100 and chain 100e is provided by an arm 100g extending from trolley body 146, FIGURE 2, an-d connected at its outer end to the chain as at 100k.

The power tong equipment As part of the environmental background of the present invention, tonging and bowl chuck equipment indicated by the reference numeral 190 is provided on the derrick floor to support the drill string, and to make-andbreak pipe joints. Also, blow-out preventer equipment of known configuration is utilized, though not described to avoid complicating the disclosure.

Referring to FIGURE 1, and as shown schematically, it will be noted that the tonging and bowl chuck equipment includes a make-and-break chuck 192 and a bowl chuck 194. By reference to FIGURE 4, it will lbe noted that the make-and-break chuck 192 includes a set of three radially movable upper guide arms 196, powered by suitable hydraulic cylinders for guiding the male bottom box joint 182 of a drill stand into the top female box joint of the drill stem supported in the bowl chuck 194. In the housing 198 of the make-and-break chuck 192, there is provided an upper set of rotatable makeand-break arms 200 and a lower set of non-rotatable make-and-break arms 202. The upper make-and-break arms 200 are supported within a sub-housing, not shown, that is rotatable relative to the main housing 198; however, the lower set of make-and-break arms 202 is not rotatable. Thus, when the lower set of arms 202 is clamped against the top box joint of the drill string and the arms 200 against the bottom box joint of a superjacent drill stand and the arms 200 rotated, the joint will be either made or broken out. Further, details of the make-and-break chuck alluded to will be found in co-pending application Serial Number 52,274, now Patent No. 3,158,213, led August 26, 1960 and assigned to the same assignee as the present invention.

Although automatic equipment is preferred, economic factors may not justify such; therefore, within the broad scope, the present invention is adapted to use with a conventional bowl chuck and power tongs at this environmental point of the description. The automatic mechanism 192 alluded to, will, of course, provide for substantially complete automation or interim automation in accordance with the present invention.

PRELUDE TO OPERATION Before providing a detailed description of the manner of operation of the present invention, it should be pointed out that an important aspect of the interim automation System is Never let go of the drill pipe. This means that both upper and lower ends of the drill stand to be added or removed from the drill string are guided and confined in all pipe-making and transferring operations by the aid of automated components. This arrangement clearly circumvents the pendnlum'swinging action of the travelling block and drill pipe during the makeup operation, which, of course, is extremely hazardous and often damaging to the tool joint threads. Especially in marine operations on floating drilling vessels, the premise of the present invention, Never let go of the drill pipe will become specially evident to those steeped in this art.

In View of the foregoing and now turning to FIG- URES -10 of the drawings, inclusive, a trip-in sequence will be analyzed.

OPERATION The trip-in sequence By reference to FIGURE 5, it -will be noted that the rotatable drill stub 92 of drill head 78 has, by rotating the drill string, driven the bit into earth formations to the point where the top female box end 138` is at the bottom of the make-and-break chuck 192, FIGURE l, so that it can be gripped by the lower radially xed jaws 202, FIGURE 4. Further, it will be noted that the support block 60 has moved to the bottom of the parallel sides or ways 58 of the support arms 5t) so that during the drilling operation, the entire weight of the string has been supported by the travelling block assembly 42 rather than by the hydraulic cylinders 54, FIG- URE 3, whose function is to provide vertical adjustability to the drill head 78 during make-up operations.

And now `by reference to FIGURE 6, it will be noted that the joint between the drill head spindle 92 and the string has been broken through the functioning of the make-and-break chuck 192, and that the drill head 78 has been raised through functioning of the cylinders S4, FIGURES 3 and 4, to lift the terminal end 94 of the drill spindle 92 upwardly to clear the make-and-break chuck 192.

Now by reference to` FIGURE 7, it will be noted that the drill head 78 has been indexed 90 to the horizontal from the previous ve-rtical position, and by means of a pre-set stop, aligned with a dou-ble drill stand 1S@ supported at its forward end by the transfer 'unit 98 and `by its rear end by the powered trolley i). It should be noted by reference to FIGURE 7 that the trolley 165) after being loaded is, at this point, moved forwardly a short distance and the purpose is to prevent the male box joint 182 from being dropped off the rolls 176, FIGURE 2, when the transfer unit 9S moves the stand 180 forwardly to spin in the joint between the male box joint 94 of the drill head and the female box joint 138 of the stand.

By reference now to FIGURE 8, it will be noted that the drill head '78 and stand 180 have been joined, it being understood that the vertically extensible standard 102, FIGURE 1, has been retracted downwardly to clear the trolley 100 when it comes forward as the stand is lifted.

Now by reference to FIGURE 9, it will be understood 'that the, drin head 7s has been raised with forward movement of the trolley 10i) to bring the stand 18) into alignment over the drill string. Note that the trolley 10i) has retained the bottom end of the stand in a trapped position throughout this movement. Also note that the trolley 10), rolls 176 and 178 now hold the bottom end of the stand 181) in close vertical alignment to the drill stem for the stabbing-in operation which follows. Note that the drill head 78 has been retained in its same relative position by the hydraulic cylinders 54, FIGURES l and 3, on the plate-like support arms 50 of travelling block assembly 42 of drill head suspension assembly 4t) so that movement of drill 'head 78 and trolley 19) have been tied together.

Note in FIGURE 9, that at this instant the make-andbreak chuck 192 is powered upwardly and the upper guide arms 196 powered inwardly to grasp the stand in guiding relation just above the male box joint 182. By this operation, control of the lower end of the stand is also assumed by the make-and-break chuck; but when the trolley is reversed and arms 161), 162 separated, control will be transferred entirely to the make-and-break chuck until make-up is complete.

By reference to FIGURE 10, it will be noted that the downward movement of the stand 180 has been effected through the hydraulic cylinders 54, FIGURES l and 3, of the travelling block assembly and the make-and-break chuck 192 sim-ultaneously lowered to stab-in the joint. This .is effected by rotation of the drill spindle and by the interaction of jaws 21)() and 262, FIGURE 4, of the make-and-break chuck 192. At this time, the trolley 104) has been retracted, causing the det-our segments 134 of the cam tracks to pivot the arms 160, 162 outwardly around the stand to release the same. Also, as shown in FIGURE 10, release of the make-and-break chuck mechanism from the stand and further release of the bowl chuck 194 has been effected so that drilling can be resumed.

Summatz'on of the typical trip-n cycle The drill pipe yis removed from a horizontal storage area and deposited by an automatically positioned crane in the central make-up area, still in a horizontal position. Simultaneously, the drill head 78 which has just lowered the entire pipe string into the bowl chuck 194, spins out and is hydraulically elevated so that the stub thereof clears the make-and-break chuck 192. In this position the drill head 78 swings 90 to the horizontal 4to make-up with the next stand of pipe. With the drill head spindle rotating, the transfer unit displaces the next stand of drill pipe into a mating relationship with the drill head spindle. After the connection is made, the drill head and pipe elevate to the upper terminal position, with the trol-ley guiding the movement of the lower end of the drill pipe right into the derrick to the drilling axis. The make-an-break chuck elevates and extends the pipe guiding jaws around the lower end of the drill pipe, to provide lthe required guidance during the ensuing pipe stabbing operation. The drill head and `make-an-break chuck descend with the drill pipe rotating into a mating relationship with the drill pipe string supported in the safety chuck. VIt is important to note that this descending movement of the drill pipe takes place by hydraulically feeding the drill head and pipe combination while the t1 avelling block remains stationary, thus providing accurate and shockless thread engagement.

After the lower tool joint connection is made, the make-and-break chuck seats the joint to the required torque value. Now, with the bowl chuck 194 open and the load supported by the travelling block, the entire string is lowered sixty (60) feet while the trolley moves back to its yoriginal position. The bowl chuck is again set and the drill head spins out and is hydraulically elevated to clear the make-and-break chuck, whereupon the drill head yis rotated to the horizontal position for joint is then broken.

repetition of the cycle by makeup with the next stand of -drill pipe.

Note that .all of this action has taken place without the intervention of human hands to the make-up operation. Only push button human intervention has been provi-ded by the operator or hoist man controlling the vertical position of the drill head suspension assembly and the drill head on the travelling b-lock assembly by operation of the hydraulic cylinders 54.

The trip-out sequence Now by reference to FIGURES 11-15, inclusive, a trip-out sequence will be analyzed in accordance With the present invention.

As shown in FIGURE 1l, we may assume that the drill stub 92 of the drill head 78 has been connected to the top end of the dri-ll string through cooperative operation With the make-and-break chuck 192 and the bowl chuck 194. Travelling block assembly 42 is bottomed on a positive stop and then drill head 78 lowered hydraulically by cylinders 54 to make engagement with tool joint 138. A positive point of reference is thus provided and the stop removes springiness of cables 39.

By reference to FIGURE 12, the make-and-break chuck 192 and the bowl chuck 194 Aare released and power applied t-o the lifting block assembly 42, through the sheaves 46; and the entire string has been raised to expose a double stand 180 with the bottom male box joint 182 in. alignment with the break-out jaws 200, FIGURE l, and the top female end 138 in alignment with the bottom jaws 202 of the make-and-break chuck 192. This At this time the trolley l100 is moved inwardly and with reversal of the gates 186, 188, FIGURE 2, the arms 160, 162 of the trolley are moved to a position just ready to embrace the lower end of the stand 180.

Now by reference to FIGURE 13, it will be noted that through the hydraulic cylinders 54, FIGURES 1 and 3, the drill head 78 has been hydraulically fed upwardly relative to assembly 42, and along with the makeand-break chuck 192, so that the trolley 100 has also been brought into trapping relation to the stand. The make-and-break chuck is then dropped away.

By reference to FIGURE 14, the drill head has descended through operator control of the draw works and .as such -descent was effected the trolley 100 retracted tol swing the bottom end 182 to the retracted horizontal position. Note that the drill head 78 has retained its same elevated position on the travelling block assembly 42, providing proper alignment of the stand 180 in the central make-up area 96 and s-o that the drill head is clear for indexing back to vertical. Note that the transferv unit 98 at the left side is still retracted at this point and that the trolley 100 still embraces the other end of the stand inwardly of the t-ool joint portion 182. Visualize now that the transfer unit 98 is elevated upwardly and moved forwardly to grasp the female joint portion '138 and the joint spun out by powering the drill spindle 92. Unit 98 then retracts to the exact position of FIG- URE 2 and the trolley is held still.

As shown in FIGURE l5, the drill head 78 has been indexedto thel vertical and is now ready to reach down into the make-and-break chuck 192, to make connection with the top end of the drill string once again for removal of another stand. At this time the trolley 100 is moved to the dotted outline position for unloading before the drill head starts its upward vertical movement. At this point the' racking crane lifts the horizontal stand out of transfer 98 and trolley'100, freeing these elements for recycle. As previously mentioned, the stand is cranetransferred to horizontal storage. Y

InFIGURE 1l, the drill head has been dropped down to make connection and the cycle is ready to be repeated, following FIGURES l2-15, inclusive.

1 0 BRIEF SUMMATION In view of the foregoing, the trip-in cycle involves the following steps:

(a) Breaking the drill head loose from the string;

(b) Moving the drill head up for clearance over the make-and-break chuck, on the travelling block assembly 42; moves trolley forward ahead of bottom joint;

(c) Indexing the drill head 90 into alignment with a drill stand previously loaded on transfer unit and powered trolley;

(d) Moving stand axially into connection with drill head;

(e) Lifting drill head and moving trolley to pull stand to drilling axis alignment; and

(f) Stabbing in under control and releasing lower end of stand for drilling.

The trip-out cycle isbriefly summarized as the following steps:

(a) Connecting drill head to top of drill string and releasing string;

(b) Lifting the string the length of the stand;

(c) Breaking out the stand and adjusting the stand to clear the knocker chuck and engage the trolley;

(d) Lowering drill head and reversing trolley and moving stand to horizontal position, and breaking the stand away from the drill head;

(e) Indexing drill head back to vertical; and

(f) Dropping drill head to move trolley to release position for unloading, and for connection of drill head to string for recycle.

In view of the foregoing, it will be understood that the present invention provides a rapid interim automated system that can be applied to conventional drilling equipment, retrogressing slightly from a purely automated system. In accordance with the present invention, limited automation now has been applied to conventional equipment; but first, the highest level of equipment automation has been sought out; then, utilizing the important basic principles, a retrogression to a level of design determined by economic circumstances has beenmade. Of course, the benefits of interim automation are correspondingly reduced and equipment operation is semi-automatic; but at least the direction of development is more compatible with the precepts of automation, a technology which will eventually reach all industries. Viewing the highest state of the art and stepping back to a lower level of technology while retaining the basic principles of pure automation is a more effective approach than to attempt to apply automation to equipment which was originally conceived for manual operation vand dedicated to the application of operator elort and vigilance.

In considering some of the fundamental principles of the pure automated drilling units which have been retained in the pressent interim automation system, an important concept of "Never let go of the drill pipe has been retained. This is brought out in the previous discussion Where both ends of the drill stand are always under guidance and control and conned in all pipemaking and transferring operations by the aid of automation components. It will be shown that this arrangement has circumvented the pendulum swinging action of the travelling block and drill pipe during the make-up operation which is extremely hazardous and often damaging to tool joint threads.

EXTENDED SCOPE OF INVENTION A While the prior description has related to the use of a double stand 180, it is to be understood that the broad scope of invention will encompass the single and treble stands as well.

Also, the prior description has shown the drill head being indexed to the front side of the derrick for cooperation with the transfer unit and the trolley. The broad scope of invention would of course include operation of the drill head either to the front end or back side of the drilling derrick.

Still further, the prior description has related to the use of an automated make-and-break chuck as forming the subject of copending application Serial No. 52,274, now Patent No. 3,158,213, file-d August 26, 1960. However, it is to be considered within the scope of invention to apply the present system to a conventional bowl chuck and power tongs in place of the automatic make-and-break chuck 192. By so operating, it will be obvious that a truly interim automation system is provided in accordance with the present invention using a conventional derrick and conventional bowl chuck and power tongs with modified travelling block assembly.

While the foregoing description has related to a threaded connection between the drill head spindle and the pipe stand, it is to be considered within the scope of invention to use a grapple or bowl chuck grasping connection at this point. l

The foregoing description has alluded to the fact that pipe is moved to the horizontal position in the central make-up area by means of a crane from an adjacent storage area. Also from the foregoing description it will be understood that the storage area suitably provides for the storage of pipe in horizontal rows. Further it should be pointed out that the horizontal storage would suitably include sets of rows of pipe. Such storage is preferred for most eifective operation. However, the broad scope of the invention would include other than horizontal storage, with suitable transfer to the central make-up area being provided.

RSUM ASPECTS AND ADVANTAGES It will be noted that advance is provided in the art by the present invention by the fact that 60 foot stands of pipe are horizontally disposed in pipe racks and transferred by a crane to a central make-up area. As previously discussed, all make-and-break operations are elected at substantially derrick floor level where, in the event of malfunction, operators standing on a firm footing and having power equipment available can remedy any defects.

Still further, all make-and-break operations can be automated or, with a lesser degree of automation, at least the stabbing-in operation is under machine guiding control rather than muscle power guiding control. In this aspect of the invention, it will be noted that the rollers 176 and 178 of the trolley 100 are so spaced as to provide a guiding hold on the lower end of the stand to limit pendulum swinging movement and make the stabbing-in operation by use of a subjacent bowl chuck a mechanized procedure without the necessity of human hands for guiding. In this respect it is to be considered within the scope of the invention to have rollers 176 and 178 imovable together to embrace the stem for stabbing-in.

A further advantage of the present invention resides in the fact that the drill head is slidably mounted and hydraulically powered in the gui-ded travelling block, to provide cushioned drill pipe make-up.

Thus, in accordance with the present invention, the drill pipe is confined as well as guided directly into the center of the derrick for the next operation.

A further advantage of the present invention is that the trolley guides -the lower end of the drill pipe right into the drilling axis during the pipe elevating operation.

During the elevating of the drill head and travelling block combination, the drill head is gradually rotated to maintain a position determined by the axis of the drill pipe.

Further advantage in the interim automation system of the present invention is in the fact that a conventional draw works is utilized for elevating and lowering drill pipe; however, actual drill pipe movement during make-up and break-up operations is controlled and cushioned; thus, accurate pipe positioning is assured and remains independent of operator accuracy in positioning the travelling block for the make-up operation.

It is a further advantage of the present invention that a reasonably high speed operation is provided. Trip time with the interim automation .system of this invention should be in excess of ve thousand feet per hour, with only one man performing the actual drilling ope-ration.

Perhaps an even more important consideration is the fact that all drill pipe make-up operations are performed at substantially derrick floor level, thus making it easier to monitor all drill string assembly operations.

O-shore operations applications-Automatic drilling techniques in accordance with the present invention can be readliy applied to fixed platforms or floating barges in off-shore operations. Actually, the application of automation in this area can result in greater cost savings than in land based operations, because of the la-rge number of persons involved, along with the attendant problems of logistics.

On floating drilling vessels, automation is especially desirable because of the problem of guiding and stabbing drill pipe and drill collars on a rocking vessel. The pendulum swinging action of the travelling block and drill pipe combination is extremely hazardous and makes the alignment and threading of the pipe connection diflicult and time consuming. In handling drill collars, guiding and positioning effected by ropes and the physical efforts of men even the calmest of `seas leaves much to be desired. In accordance with the present invention, as previously brought out, these problems are overcome.

claim:

l. In a method of adding a stand of pipe to a drill string, the steps of grasping the top end of the drill string,

positioning a stand of drill pipe horizontally at about the drill floor level in transverse intersecting alignment with the drilling axis and with the top end adjacent the drill axis and the bottom end spaced about the length of the stand further away from the drilling axis,

grasping the top end of the stand and trapping the bottom end while in a horizontal position,

moving the top end vertically upwardly adjacent and along the drilling axis and simultaneously moving the bottom end horizontally toward the drilling axis to swing the stand into coaxial alignment on the drill axis above the drill string,

connecting the bottom end of the stand to the drill string, and

untrapping the bottom end of the stand.

2. In a method of removing a stand of pipe from a drill string, the steps of grasping the top end of a drill string,

moving the string upwardly `to expose the top stand,

grasping the string beneath the top stand, breaking the exposed stand out of the string while trapping the bottom end of the stand,

simultaneously moving the top end vertically downwardly along and adjacent the drill axis and moving the bottom end horizontally away from the drill axis to swing the stand from coaxial alignment on the drill axis to a horizontal position adjacent the drill axis,

and releasing the stand .at the top end and untrapping the bottom end.

3. In a method of removing a stand of pipe from a drill string, the steps of exposing the top end of the stand,

grasping the top end of the stand,

restraining the bottom end of the stand,

breaking and spinning out the stand from the string while restraining the bottom Iof the stand in axial alignment to the drilling axis,

trapping the bottom end of the stand,

relieving the previously-imposed restraint,

simultaneously removing the top end vertically downwardly along and adjacent the drilling axis and moving the bottom end yhorizontally away from the drill- 13 ing axis to swing the stand from coaxial alignment on the drill axis to the horizontal plane, `then releasing the stand at the top end and untrapping the bottom end. 4. In a method of removing a stand of pipe from a drill a derrick having vertical guide means thereon,

a body member having a sheave journalled for rota- -tion thereon,

said .body member having at least one downwardly depending arm forming a vertical guideway,

a support block movable on said guidevvay, string, the steps of a hydraulic cylinder having one end connected to said grasping the top end of the stand, body member and the other end connected to said trapping the bottom end of the stand, support block, means for introducing hydraulic uid breaking the stand out of the string, and into said cylinder to move said support block, simultaneously moving the top end vertically downa drillhead carried by said support block for pivotal wardly along and adjacent the drill axis and moving movement `on a horizontal axis, the bottom end away from the drill axis to swing the Ineens fOr eonflollably pivoting Said dfillhead, and stand from coaxial alignment 0n the drill axis to means mounting said body to said guide means for horizontal. lineal vertical movement. 5. In ,an interim automatic drilling system, including 15 8- In a drilling System, a derrick having ventical railsy a derrick having vertical guide means thereon, a travelling block, and ya travelling block, means including a cable connected te incve the iravmeans for moving Said travelling block along Said verelling block, tical guide means, the improvement wherein the travelling block comprises Said travelling bleek including e body member, a tbody member having at least one sheave journalled gnldeWaY Ineens 0n Said bOdY member,

for rota-tion thereon, a drillhead mounted for movement on said guideway said body member having downwardly depending arms means, v

forming guideways on eimer Side, means supporting said drillliead for pivotal movement support blocks movable in Said guideways between vertical and horizontal positions, means for moving said support blocks on said guideand means for plv'otmg Sald dnuhead ways, a drillhead carried by said support blocks for pivotal References Cited by the Exammer movement on a horizontal axis, UNITED STATES PATENTS means for controllably pivoting said drillhead, 2,425,292 8/ 1947 McCoy 2l4-2.5 and means mounting said body to said rails for lineal 2,630,931 3/ 1953 Douglas 214-658 Vertical movement, 2,643,005 6/1953 De JHIIle- 214-25 6. The invention defined in ciaim s wherein the body 2,848,196 8/1958 Simmonds 175-52 of the -travelling block includes a passage in axial align- 2,956,782 10/1960 Mlstmt 175-203 X ment with the drillhead providing access tothe drill string. Scott 2122-25 X 7. In an interim .automatic drilling system including 350833342 $1963 Ileetr a travelling block,

means including a cable connected to'move the trav- 4 elling block,

the improvement wherein the travelling block comprises 0 ERNEST R. PURSER, Primary Examiner. CHARLES E. OCONNELL, Examiner.

I. A. CALVERT, Assistant Examiner.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification175/57, 29/426.3, 414/22.54, 173/213, 29/468, 175/85, 414/22.57, 29/426.4, 173/46
International ClassificationE21B19/20, E21B19/00
Cooperative ClassificationE21B19/20
European ClassificationE21B19/20