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Publication numberUS3715055 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 6, 1973
Filing dateJun 16, 1971
Priority dateJun 16, 1971
Publication numberUS 3715055 A, US 3715055A, US-A-3715055, US3715055 A, US3715055A
InventorsFerguson L, Frazier B, Freeman N, Kendrick W
Original AssigneeHalliburton Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for injecting one or more articles individually into a tubular flow path
US 3715055 A
Abstract  available in
Images(5)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Feb; 6, 1973 KENDR|K ET AL 3,715,055

APPARATUS FOR INJECTING ONE OR MORE ARTICLES INDIVIDUALLY INTO A TUBULAR FLOW PATH Filed June 16, 1971 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTORS. WILLIAM D. KENDRICK BRUCE J. IFRAZIER NORMAN L. FREEMAN LYNDEL G. FERGUSON ATTORNEY FIGURE l Feb. 6, 1973 W. D. KENDRICK ET L 3,715,055 APPARATUS FOR INJECTING ONE OR MORE ARTICLES INDIVIDUALLY INTO A TUBULAR FLOW PATH Filed June 16, L971 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 FIGURE 2b FIGURE 2 FIGURE 20 INVENTORS. WILLIAM D. KE NDRICK BRUCE J. FRAZIER NORMAN IL. FREEMAN LYNDEL G. FERGUSON ATTORNEY 3,715,955 s INDIVIDUALLY Feb. 6, 1973 w. n. KENDRICK ET AL APPARATUS FOR INJECTING ONE OR MORE ARTICLE INTO A TUBULAR FLOW PATH F1106 June 16, 1.971

5 Sheets-Sheet 3 FIGURE 2c K N AN I M w mmEE NNZEG R R VKRFE N F l. L J" G M WILLIA sauce NORMAN LYNDEL w. n. KENDRICK ETAL 3,715,055

APPARATUS FOR INJECTING ONE OR MORE ARTICLES INDIVIDUALLY INTO A TUBULAR FLOW PATH 5 Sheets-Sheet 6 Filed June 16, 1971 FIGURE 3a FIGURE 3b FIGURE 3 nm K m A S .m RMU TDEEG N H E R RE VKRFF W D LG N MEA u MM LURN w m B L Feb. 6, 1973 w p KENTQRICK E' I AL 7 3,715,055

APPARATUS FOR INJECTING ONE OR MOHE ARTICLES INDIVIDUALLY INTO A TUBULAR FLOW PATH Filed June 16, 1971 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 FIGURE 4 United States Patent Ofi ice 3,715,055 Patented Feb. 6, 1973 U.S. Cl. 221-75 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This invention relates to an apparatus for dispensing objects and more particularly to an apparatus with a grooved sleeve and a shaft having a helical rib thereon rotatably mounted in the sleeve, the objects being dispensed by the rib pushing them along the groove and out of the apparatus as the shaft is rotated.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION In the completion of oil and gas wells it is common practice to cement casing into the well and perforate it opposite the producing formation, such perforations being for the purpose of admitting oil and/or gas into the casing and thence to the surface of the well. Subsequent to perforating the casing, the formation may be treated by pumping acid or fracturing fluid down the casing and into the formation via the perforations. Such treatment opens and/or enlarges drainage channels in the formation so as to enhance the producing ability of the well. As is well known to those skilled in the art, the treating fluid enters those zones of the formation having the highest permeability while the zones of the formation having lower permeabilities, and therefore requiring treatment the most, receive very little or none. The remedy to this problem was disclosed in US. Pat. 2,754,910 wherein it was proposed to temporarily block Off those perforations leading to the higher permeable zones so as to divert the treating fluid into the lower permeable zones. The blocking agents used are objects having a size slightly larger than the perforations and a density approximately equal to the treating fluid. These objects which may be rounded and referred to as perfpac balls, are dispensed into the treating fluid and carried thereby to the perforations through which most or all of the fluid flows at the lowest pressure. The fluid pressure holds the objects or balls in sealing position against the perforations so that the treating fluid is diverted into the lower permeable zones.

Almost from the inception of the above-discussed method, workers have attempted to develop dispensers capable of being employed in high pressure environments and where the treating fluid is heavily laden with abrasives such as sand, glass beads, and the like. Further problems acknowledged by those skilled in the art include 2 unintentionally dispensing more than the desired number of balls and a lack of a reliable mechanical means of forcing the balls into the flow stream.

The present invention provides an apparatus for dispensing objects, which comprises a housing, a sleeve having at least one groove positioned in the inner wall and extending from one end to another, said sleeve positioned in said housing, a shaft having a helical rib, said shaft rotatably mounted in said sleeve, said rib and said groove combining to a plurality of separate compartments.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS An apparatus for dispensing objects constructed in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention is illustrated in the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a partially cross-sectional view of the preferred embodiment of the invention shown positioned in working relation with a flow line;

FIGS. 2, 2a, 2b and 2c illustrate certain components of the invention of FIG. 1; and

FIGS. 3 and 3a illustrate different embodiments of the components of the invention shown in FIGS. 2 and 2a.

FIG. 3b depicts a second embodiment of the shaft of FIG. 2a.

FIG. 4 illustrates another embodiment of the apparatus having an integral housing and sleeve.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION FIG. 1 illustrates the perfpac ball dispenser, designated generally by reference numeral 10, constructed in accordance with the preferred embodiment of the instant invention. The housing 11 of dispenser 10' consists of three components numbered 12, 13 and 14, and are referred to as the lower case, upper case and top plate, respectively. Lower case 12 in the shape of pipe tee, provides the connections for tying dispenser 10 into the flow line leading to the well (neither flow line nor well are shown). These connections are conventional, high pressure union fittings, a wing nut 15 fitted onto the right hand end 16 of the horizontal section of case 12 and external threads 17 and seal ring 18 on the left hand end 19 thereof. As is well understood by those skilled in the art, the ends of the flow lines contain complementary fittings to these described.

Passageway 20 in the horizontal section of case 12 is equal in internal diameter to the aforementioned flow line.

The vertical section of lower case 12 terminates at an upper end 21 which is also a conventional union fitting having external threads 22 and seal ring 23.

Upper case 13, which describes an inverted U, has on its lower end 25 a wing nut 26 which engages aforementioned external threads 22, thereby joining together lower and upper cases 12 and 13.

The ceiling of case 13, designated at 35, is characterized by a plurality of downward extending pins 29, lodged in recesses 30, and a passageway 31 extending from ceiling 3 35 upwardly. Note that passageway 31 is enlarged at its point of intersection with ceiling 35 so as to provide a recess 32 in which is lodged a high pressure seal ring 33.

Passageway 31, extending upwardly, intersects the surface of an upwardly open central cavity 34 which in turn intersects the surface of upper end 35 of case 13. Central cavity 34 is provided to house a conventional bushing 36 containing thrust bearings 37.

In addition to cavity 34, upper end 35 contains a plurality of threaded apertures 38 which receive bolts 39. Bolts 39 fasten top plate 14 to upper case 13 as shown.

Top plate 14, besides having apertures 40- for bolts 39, has a passageway 41 axially aligned with aforementioned passageway 31. Plate 14 has mounted on its left hand side a conventional mechanical counter 42 which contains actuating arm 43. Mounted on the right hand side of plate 14 is a lock pin bracket 44 containing lock pin 45.

The vertical section of case 12, case 13, passageways 31 and 41 define a continuous conduit 46 which receives a sleeve 47 and shaft 60. Referring now to FIGS. 2, 2a and 2b, sleeve 47 and shaft 60 are illustrated separately for clarity.

FIG. 2 shows sleeve 47 whose lower end 48 is open and upper end 49 is closed except for a central passageway 51 and a plurality of recesses 52.

Inner wall 55 contains grooves 56 individually lettered a, b, c and d, which spiral to the right and extend throughout the length of sleeve 47. The angle of spiral remains constant from upper end 49 down almost to groove outlet 57 a, b, c and d respectively and d not shown) at the lower end 48 where the angle abruptly changes toward the horizontal.

FIG. 2a shows shaft 60 which has three sections designated by the letters A, B and C.

Section A consists of that part of the shaft having a continuous helical, laterally extending rib 61 which spirals to the left. The angle of spiral remains constant from the top of section A, designated at 62, throughout its length except at outlet 63, wherein the angle abruptly changes toward the vertical.

Sections B and C of shaft 60 are of necessary diameters so as to fit in aforementioned passageways 51, 41 and 31. The upper end 65 of shaft 60 contains a horizontal bore 66 which will be referred to below.

'FIG. 2b is an end view taken along line 2b--2b of FIG. 2a and shows base 64 of shaft 60 and outlet 63 of rib 61.

FIG. 2c illustrates sleeve 47, rolled out flat, with section A of shaft 60, also flattened-out, superimposed thereon. Note that the grooves 56 cross rib 61 at about 90 degrees. This view shows, in two dimensions, the creation of compartments 67 when shaft 60 is positioned within sleeve 47 as seen in FIG. 1. Shown in such compartments 67, are perfpac balls 68. Referring to both, FIGS. 1 and 20, it can be seen that perfpac balls 68 are individually confined by shaft 60, grooves 56 and the flights of rib 61. Thus each ball 68 is in its own compartment 67. The importance of this can be seen by referring to lower ends 48 and 64 of sleeve 47 and shaft 60, respectively. Note that a ball 68 can leave dispenser only when outlet 57 of the particular groove 56 containing ball 68 becomes exactly aligned with the outlet 63 of rib 61. All other balls 68 are confined to their individual compartments 67 and cannot leave dispenser 10 except by the way discussed above.

Referring back to FIG. 1, sleeve 47 and shaft 60 are seen positioned in conduit 46 of dispenser 10. Aforementioned pins 29, seated in recesses 52, prevent rotation of sleeve 47.

Shaft 60, extending through passageways 51, 41 and 31 emerges above plate 14 where it passes into passageway 69 in crank 70, and is attached thereto via pin 71 extending through bores 72 in crank 70 and bore 66 in shaft 60 (FIG. 2a). By virtue of such attachment, sleeve 47, shaft 60, upper case 13, top plate 14 and all components attached to the above noted items except case 12 are removed from lower case .12 as one unit, hereinafter designated 73.

Crank 70 includes crank arm 74, crank plate 75 and counter actuating pins 76.

OPERATION OF THE EMBODIMENT OF FIG. 1

The perfpac ball dispenser 10 may be operated as follows:

Dispenser 10 is connected into a flow line (not shown) after which unit 73 is removed therefrom, inverted and the required number of perfpac balls 68 loaded therein. Loading takes place by dropping a ball 68 into outlet 63, rotating crank arm 74 counterclockwise sufiicient to align the next compartment with said outlet, dropping a second ball 68 in, and so on. After such loading, lock pin 45 is turned inwardly until it presses firmly against crank plate 75 so as to prevent unintentional rotation of crank 70. Unit 73 is replaced into and connected with lower case 12 via wing nut 26.

At such time during the treatment of the subject well that one or more perfpac balls 68 are required to be injected into passage 20 and hence into the wall bore (not shown), lock pin 45 is turned outwardly releasing crank 70. Crank arm 74 is rotated clockwise suificient to bring outlet 63 into alignment with a groove outlet 57 so a ball 68 will be forced out into the conduit 20 and hence into the Well. At the same time, all other balls 68 in dispenser 10 are being forced downwardly along their respective grooves 56 by rib 61. Each such turn is registered on counter 42 by one of the counter actuating pins 76 striking actuating arm 43.

As is well known to those skilled in the art, the pressure required to treat oil and gas wells can be quite high; in fact, pressures in the range of 15,000 pounds per square inch are not uncommon. Under such conditions crank 70 would be difiicult to rotate in the absence of bushing 36 and its thrust bearings 37. As can be seen in FIG. 1, the arrangement of the several components of dispenser 10 are such that the only moving surfaces in contact one with the other is shaft 60 pressing on bushing 36 which in turn presses on top plate 14.

Referring now to FIG. 4, a different embodiment 210 of the apparatus is shown in which the outer housing 11 and sleeve 47 of FIG. 1 are formed as an integral, internally channeled housing assembly 211 having internal helical grooves 256 located in the internal surface thereof similar to those of sleeve 47 in FIG. 1. Apparatus 210 has the identical ribbed shaft 60 coaxially and rotatably mounted therein as in the ball dispenser 10 shown in FIG. 1, which shaft 60 serves to form separate compartments 267 by the intersection of the ribbed section 61 with the grooves 256 in housing assembly 211. These separate compartments 267 each may contain one spherical object 68 to be dispensed and serve to move the individual objects 68 downwardly to be injected into the tubular flow path 220 through rotation of shaft 60.

Alternatively it would be possible, as was done in FIGS. 3 and 3b, to place the helical rib 61 on the inner wall of the housing assembly 211 and the spiral channels 256 on the surface of shaft 60.

DESCRIPTION OF THE COMPONENTS OF FIGS. 3, 3A AND 3B In FIG. 3, sleeve 147 has, rather than grooves as in sleeve 47 (FIG. 2), a continuous helical rib 148. The angle of spiral of rib 148 remains constant throughout the length of the sleeve except at rib outlet 149 at base 150 of sleeve 147 wherein the angle abruptly changes toward the vertical. As wtih sleeve 47, sleeve 147 contains a passageway 151 and recesses 154 on its upper end 155.

FIG. 3a, a sectional view taken along line 3a-3a of FIG. 3, shows outlet 149 at base 150..

FIG. 3b illustrates shaft 160 which corresponds to shaft 60 illustrated in FIG. 2a. However, instead of having a helical rib on section A, there are a plurality of grooves 161. The angle of spiral of grooves 161 remains constant throughout the length of section A except at groove outlet 162 at base 163 of shaft 160 wherein the angle abruptly changes toward the horizontal. As with shaft 60, shaft 160 contains bore 166 at upper end 165.

The positioning and operation of sleeve 147 and shaft 160 in dispenser is the same as described for sleeve 47 and shaft 60 above.

Although not shown, other embodiments of sleeve 47 and shaft 60 can be used. For example, the grooves in sleeve 47 can be vertical. In another case the grooves and rib were constructed without a change in the angle of spiral. In both of the above cases, and in others not herein enumerated, the various embodiments were found to give good operating results.

Laboratory and field tests conducted on the instant invention have demonstrated that excellent results are achieved in extremely high pressure environments (25,000 p.s.i.) and where the treating fluid, which fills the interior of the dispenser, is heavily loaded with solid material such as sand or glass beads.

The most important and novel feature of the instant invention is the structural arrangement of the grooves and helical rib. As stated above, individual compartments are formed by the cooperation of the sleeve and rib so that each perfpac ball is mechanically captivated. As the shaft is rotated, the balls are forced along the grooves in the sleeve and out of the dispenser. And as can be seen in FIG. 1, only one ball is forced from the dispenser at a time.

Another advantageous feature of the instant invention is the interchangeability of the sleeves and shafts so as to accommodate perfpac balls of different sizes.

The method of rotating shaft 60 has been disclosed as being by hand, other methods may be used as well; e.g., a simple air cylinder and ratchet mechanism. Also, instead of a mechanical counter, remote counting can be provided by many electrical devices availablp commercially.

The instant invention has been described in a background of treating a hydrocarbon producing formation, where during such treatment, it is necessary to dispense spherical perfpac balls into the well without interrupting the operation. Such use is not to be construed as limiting the instant invention as it has utility in a great number of other situations and industries. For example, the invention can be used particularly in the food preparation industry as well as in the chemical and drug industry wherever it is necessary to periodically dispense objects, of whatever shape, into a static or dynamic environment. Also the instant invention lends itself readily to use in hostile environments such as encountered in space and underwater exploration.

Although the invention has been described with reference to the embodiment illustrated, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that additions, modifications, substitutions, deletions, and other changes not specifically described may be made which fall Within the spirit of the invention as defined in the following claims.

What is claimed is:

1. An apparatus for dispensing objects, which comprises:

(a) a housing;

(b) a cylindrical tubular sleeve having at least one groove positioned in the inner Wall and extending from one end to another, said sleeve positioned in said housing; and

(c) a shaft having a helical rib, said shaft rotatably and coaxially mounted in said sleeve, said rib and said groove combining to form a plurality of separate compartments.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said groove spirally extends through said inner wall of said sleeve, the angle of said spiral, relative to the longitudinal axis of said sleeve, being complementary to the angle of spiral of said helical rib, and the direction of said spiral being opposite to the direction of spiral of said helical rib so that said groove crosses said rib at about degrees.

3. An apparatus for dispensing objects, which comprise:

(a) a cylindrical tubular housing;

(b) at least one axially extending groove in the inner wall of said housing; and

(c) a shaft having a spiraling rib thereon rotatably and coaxially mounted in said housing, said rib and said groove forming one or more separate compartments.

4. An apparatus for dispensing objects, which comprises:

(a) a housing;

(b) a sleeve having an open end and at least one groove spirally extending from one end to the other end of said sleeve on the interior thereof, said sleeve positioned in said housing; and

(c) a shaft rotatably mounted in said sleeve, said shaft having a lower end adjacent said open end of said sleeve, and an outwardly projecting rib spiralling about the length of said shaft.

5. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein the angle of said spiral of said at least one groove complements the angle of said spiral of said rib.

6. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein:

(a) the angle of said spiral of said at least one groo ve adjacent said open end of said sleeve is about 90 degrees relative to the longitudinal axis of said sleeve; and

(b) the angle of said spiral of said rib adjacent said lower end of said shaft is about zero degrees relative to the longitudinal axis of said shaft.

7. An apparatus for dispensing objects, which comprises:

(a) a housing;

(b) a sleeve having a helical rib on the interior thereof, said sleeve positioned in said housing; and

(c) a shaft rotatably mounted in said sleeve, said shaft having at least one longitudinal groove thereon, said helical rib and said at least one longitudinal groove forming at least one compartment.

*8. Apparatus for storing and conveying discrete particles one at a time at a desired controlled rate into a tubular flow stream, said apparatus comprising:

outer tubular housing means;

inner carrier means concentrically and rotatably located within said housing means;

first helical spiral means in the internal surface of said outer housing means, said spiral means forming first conveyance channels in said inner surface of said housing means, said channels having a width generally greater than that of the discrete particles being conveyed;

second helical spiral means on the external surface of said inner carrier means, said second spiral means forming second conveyance channels in said external surface, said second conveyance channels having a width generally greater than that of the discrete particles being conveyed, said second spiral means being further arranged at an angle to said first spiral means thereby forming individual particle compartments by the intersection of said first conveyance channels with said second conveyance channels; and

turning means attached to said apparatus and arranged to provide rotation of said inner carrier means with respect to said housing means.

9. An apparatus for dispensing objects, which comprises:

(a) a housing having an open end and a helical rib on the interior thereof, said rib extending to said open end;

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2/1929 Walker 221--75 6/1961 Hamilton 198--213 STANLEY TOLLBERG, Primary Examiner

Referenced by
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US7571773Apr 17, 2008Aug 11, 2009Baker Hughes IncorporatedMultiple ball launch assemblies and methods of launching multiple balls into a wellbore
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Classifications
U.S. Classification221/75
International ClassificationE21B33/03, E21B33/068, B65G53/00, B65G53/30
Cooperative ClassificationB65G53/30, E21B33/068
European ClassificationB65G53/30, E21B33/068