US 3785506 A
Drill pipe handling apparatus for taking pipe from a well derrick floor to a pipe rack, wherein the pipe is transferred to a lower pivotable pipe support disposed in proximity to the pipe rack, and the pipe is then gradually lowered from said pipe support onto the pipe rack by a pivoting of the pipe support, and with the pipe supported during its lowering on a pair of pipe support arms extending laterally relative to the pipe support and pivoting in response to the weight of the pipe thereon.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Crocker et al.
[ 1 DRILL PIPE HANDLING APPARATUS  Inventors: Roger A. Crocker; Jim F.
Schoolcraft, both of Wiekett, Tex.
 Assignee: Roger A. Crocker, Wickett, Tex.
 Filed: Sept. 10, 1971 ] Appl. No.: 179,502
 US. Cl 214/1 P, 214/25  Int. Cl E211) 19/00  Field of Search 214/25, 1 P, l PA, 214/77 R  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,335.71) 11/1943 Williams 214/2.5
2,789,707 4/1957 Wolf 214/77 R 3.667.621 6/1972 Barlow 214/1 P n Ill? 1 I s 1 5] Jan. 15, 1974 Maydew 214/2.5 Tucker 214/2.5
Primary ExaminerFrank E. Werner AttorneyPravel, Wilson & Matthews  ABSTRACT Drill pipe handling apparatus for taking pipe from a well derrick floor to a pipe rack, wherein the pipe is transferred to a lower pivotable pipe support disposed in proximity to the pipe rack, and the pipe is then gradually lowered from said pipe support onto the pipe rack by a pivoting of the pipe support, and with the pipe supported during its lowering on a pair of pipe support arms extending laterally relative to the pipe support and pivoting in response to the weight of the pipe thereon.
9 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures PATENTEDJAN 1 51am sum 20$ 3 1 DRILL PIPE HANDLING APPARATUS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The field of this invention is drill pipe handling apparatus.
In the past, various efforts have been made to provide apparatus for laying drill pipe down from the floor of a well derrick which is at a height well above the ground level to a pipe rack located at or near the ground level. Examples of such apparatus are US. Pat. Nos. Re:24,907; 3,143,221; 3,159,286; 3,169,645; and 3,494,483.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a pipe handling apparatus which has a new and improved means for controlling the delivery of the pipe from a lower pivotable pipe support to a pipe rack therebelow. The present apparatus also has new and improved means for controlling the descent of pipe in an inclined trough from the derrick floor to the lower pipe support.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OFTl-IE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an isometric view of the apparatus of this invention shown in its normal usage for handling drill pipe;
FIG. 1A is a partial view of the apparatus of this invention, showing pipe being discharged onto the pipe rack; FIG. 2 is an elevation of the apparatus of this invention, illustrating same with a length of pipe on the lower substantially horizontal longitudinally extending pipe support, with the pipe disposed in two dollys movably mounted in such support;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged plan view of the reel means shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 for transmitting movement to the dollys in the pipe support;
FIG. 4 is an isometric view of one of the dollys;
FIG. 5 is an isometric view of the other of the dollys;
FIG. 6 is an enlarged isometric view of the brake means used for controlling the rate of descent of pipe sliding downthe inclined chute of the apparatus of this invention; and
FIG. 7 is a view taken on line 7-7 of FIG. 2 and it illustrates details of the preferred construction for the mounting of the dollys in the pipe support. de
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT In the drawings, the letter A designates generally the pipe handling apparatus of this invention which is adapted to be used for the movement of pipe from the floor 10 of a derrick D, a portion of which is shown in FIG. 1, to a conventional pipe rack P which has a pair of spaced pipes 11 with suitable legs 12 on the ground in the known manner to support drill pipe B which is disposed thereon. Briefly, the apparatus A of this invention includes an inclinded chute 20 which is adapted to receive successive lengths of drill pipe B at the derrick floorl0 for sliding delivery to a front dollyor buggy 21 and also a rear dolly or buggy 22 in a substantially horizontal lower pipe support 23. Each length of pipe thus received on the dollys or buggys 21 and 22 is discharged by pivoting the support 23 so that the pipe rolls onto support arms 24 which are then pivoted by the weight of the pipe so as to cause same to move downwardly to discharge the pipe from the arms 24 onto the pipes 11 of the pipe rack P.
Considering the invention more in detail, the pipe support 23 extends longitudinally and it is preferably formed of a curved plate or partial pipe section 230 having an inner curved surface 231) which is essentially a semi-cylindrical member. The internal construction of the pipe support 23 preferably includes a pair of Iongitudinal I beams 23c which are welded or otherwise affixed to the inner surface 23b of the curved plate 23a. The upper inner curved longitudinally extending portion 23d of each of such members 23 serves as a confining and guide means for the wheels 21a of the buggy 21 (FIGS. 5 and 7) and also for wheels 22a of the buggy 22 (FIG. 4).
The members 23c may thus be termed wheel confining members forming a part of the track for the buggys 21 and 22. The pipe support 23 may be strengthened and made more rigid by welding additional plates 23e and 23f to each other and to the members 23 and the plate 23a as best seen in FIG. 7. The pipe support 23 is preferably pivotally mounted on a plurality of hinges 30 attached therebelow. Such hinges 30 enable the pipe support 23 to be pivoted from the pipe receiving position (FIGS. 1 and 2) to the pipe discharge position (FIG. 1A). Although such hinge or pivot means 30 may be formed in any suitable manner, as illustrated in the drawings, each hinge 30 includes a center hinge sleeve 30a which is welded or is other-wise secured to vertical post 31 forming part of a base assembly with inclined pipes 31a, all of which are welded or otherwise secured to a pair of pipes 32 which form a skid or base for the entire apparatus A. A pair of hinge sleeves 30!) are disposed on each side of the fixed hinge sleeve 30a, and
a hinge pin 30c extends through the sleeves 30a and 30b so that the sleeves 30b may move or pivot about the pin 300 relative to the sleeve 30a.
The pipe support 23 is pivoted from its pipe receiving position (FIGS. 1, 2 and 7) to its discharge position (FIG. IA) manually or by any suitable means such as a hydraulic fluid'system which is partially illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 as including cylinders 33 having pistons therein and piston rods 34 extending therefrom. Each of the piston rods is pivotally connected at 34a to the external surface of the curved plate 23a and each of the cylinders 33 is connected at its lower end 33a to one of the skid pipes 32, with a pivotal connection or other suitable connecting means. When the fluid to the cylinders 33 moves the piston therein, so as to move the stem 34 downwardly within the cylinder 33, the curved plate 23a is caused to pivot about the hinge means 30 from its position shown in FIG. 1 to its position shown in FIG. 1A as will be more evident hereinafter. Fluid pressure is also utilized for causing the piston rod 34 to return the pipe support 23 from the pipe discharge position of FIG. 1A to the pipe receiving position of FIG. 1.
A pair of pipe support arms 24 which are longitudinally spaced from each other so as to support a length of the pipe B thereon are mounted for pivotal movement independently of the pipe support 23 and in response to the weight of a length of pipe B thereon, as will be more evident hereinafter. Thus, each of the support arms 24 is curved so that its lower end is disposed below the support 23 and its upper end is disposed above the support 23 when in the position for receiving pipe thereon. The lower end of each arm 24 is welded or is otherwise secured to a rotatable sleeve 35 (FIG. 2) which is pivotally mounted between one of the sleeves 30b adjacent thereto and another sleeve 35a which is on the other side thereof, both of which are secured to the lower part of the curved plate 23. A pivot pin extends through the sleeves 30b, 35 and 35a, the end of which is shown as 35b in FIG. 1. Such pin 35a may be a continuation of pin 300 which extends through the hinge sleeves 30a and 30b as previously explained. A connecting pivot bracket 350 is connected by welding or other means to the rotatable sleeve 35 for pivotally attaching a piston rod or stem 36 which is connected to a piston (not shown) disposed within a cylinder 37 having its lower end attached to a bracket 37a for pivotal movement with respect to one of the skid pipes 32 (FIGS. 1 and 2).
The cylinders 37 are in a hydraulic or other fluid pressure system which is schematically illustrated in FIG. 2, and which includes a closed tank 38 which has connection with the cylinders 37 through flow lines 37!) and 37c. A valve 37d regulating the flow of the hydraulic fluid from each cylinder 37 through its line 37b back to the tank or chamber 38 is also provided. The fluid pressure system is preferably one having a liquid such as hydraulic fluid therein, with a gas such as nitrogen trapped in the area 38a of the tank 38 above the liquid 38b (FIG. 2) so that when the pistons in the cylinders 37 move downwardly, they force the liquid to rise in the chamber 38 to compress the gas 38a. Such compression of the gas occurs during the gradual lowering of the arms 24 in response to the weight of a length of pipe which is being discharged from the support 23 to the pipe rack P. The compression of the gas 38a is regulated by the setting of the valves 37d, and such gas under compression serves as a spring or cushion so that after the pipe has been released from the arms 24 when the arms 24 are in their lower position, the gas 38a acts to return the arms 24 to the raised position of FIG. 1 automatically.
The construction of the buggys 21 and 22 may vary, but as illustrated in the drawings, the front or forward buggy 21 is adapted to receive the lower end of the pipe B which is discharged from the chute 20. Such buggy 21 therefore has a stop plate 21b against which the end of the pipe B may contact when it initially reaches the buggy 21, as will be more fully explained. The wheels 21a on the buggy 21 are supported on suitable axles 21c which extend through a vertical plate 21d which is welded or is otherwise affixed to the lower mid portion of the curved body 21e of the buggy 21.
A forward cable 40 is attached to the forward end of the buggy 21 by any suitable means such as a clamp 40a. A rear cable 41 is attached to the rear of the forward buggy 21 by a clamp 41a or other suitable attaching means.
The rear buggy 22 has its main body 22b formed arcuately, but it is open at each end since it receives the rear portion of the pipe B (FIG. 2). The wheels 22a are secured on axles 22c which extend through a vertically extending plate 22d which is welded or is otherwise affixed to the lower mid-portion of the curved plate or body 22b. The cable 41 extends through a tube or sleeve 4112 which is welded or is otherwise attached between the rollers 22a and at the lower end of the vertical palte 220' (FIG. 4). The cable 41 slides through the sleeve 41b so that normally movement of the cable 41 may occur relative to the buggy 22. However, an enlargement such as aknot in the cable 41 or a sleeve 41c is clamped to the cable 41, and it is of a size that will not pass through the bore of the sleeve 41b so that when the cable 41 is moved to the right as viewed in FIG. 4, the movement of the cable 41 is transmitted to the buggy 22 upon an engagement of the enlargement 41c with the sleeve 41b. This is illustrated in FIG. 2 and this occurs during the receiving of the pipe B in the buggys 21 and 22, as will be more fully explained.
The reel winch which is used for reeling and unreeling the cables 40 and 41 is shown in particular in FIGS. 2 and 3, as inlcuding a conventional reel 43 which is operated by a motor 44 or other suitable power means operably connected thereto through a belt or other drive systems 45. Preferably, the motor 44 is a reversible type so that the reel 43 may be operated in either direction. Thus, when the reel 43 is turned in a clockwise direction as viewed in FIG. 2, the cable 41 is wound up on the reel 43 and the cable 40 is unwound from the wheel 43. Since both cables are directly connected to the buggy 21, it will be evident that the buggy 21 is moved in the direction of the pulling cable. Thus, the buggy 21 is moved towards the chute 20 when the cable 41 is wound upon the reel 43. On the other hand, the buggy 21 is moved away from the chute 20 when the cable 40 is wound upon the reel 43. Since the cable 41 passes loosely through the bore of the sleeve 41!). the movements of the cables 40 and 41 do not impart any movement to the buggy 22 until the enlargement 41c engages the sleeve 41b when the cable 40 is being wound upon the reel 43, as will be more evident hereinafter.
The chute 20 preferably has therewith a new and improved brake means M which serves to control the rate of descent of pipe sliding down the chute 20 from the derrick D to the support 23. Thus, as best seen in FIG. 6, the brake means M incudes a brake shoe 50 which is partially cylindrical in shape and which is adapted to fit within an opening 51a in a cylindrical cover 51 so that the brake shoe 50 may be fully retracted from the chute 20 if desired. The curved cover 51 preferably has longitudinally extending lateral flanges 51b which fit over similar flanges 20a on the side of the chute 20. Such flanges 20a and 51b are welded together or otherwise afflxed together. The brake means M is preferably disposed at an intermediate point along the length of the chute 20 as illustrated in FIG. 1, but it will be appreciated that it may be disposed at any other suitable point so long as it is capable of retarding and controlling the speed of movement of the pipe B sliding down the chute 20.
The brake shoe 50 is connected to a yoke 55 having a central post 55a with braces 55b welded or otherwise affixed to the shoe 50. The yoke 55 also has an upper laterally extending yoke member 550 which is joined to tubular yoke members 55d, each of which is disposed in a guide cylinder 55c that is welded or is otherwise affixed to the cover 51, preferably with a reinforcing gusset plate 55f therebetween. A hydraulic cylinder 60 is pivotally mounted at 60a and it has a conventional piston therein which is connected to a stem 61 which is pivotally connected at 61a to a yoke extension 61b which is welded or is otherwise secured to the upper yoke member 55c.
Each cylinder 60 has conventional flow lines 60b and 60c which are connected in any suitable hydraulic or fluid depression system for controlling the movement of the piston stems 61 for thereby controlling the position of the brake shoe 50. By reason of the connection of the brake shoe 50 through the yoke 55 to the pistons in the cylinders 60 on each side of the chute 20, a halanced and uniform pressure may be applied to the brake shoe 50 so that it engages the upper surface of the pipe within the chute in a controlled manner for thereby controlling the speed of movement of the pipe as it slides downwardly in the chute 20. Although the lower end of the chute 20 may be supported in any manner with respect to the support 23, preferably the apparatus A has a pair of uprights 65 with a cross bar 66 (FIGS. 1 and 2) so that the lower end of the chute 20 rests upon the cross bar 66. The chute 20 may be fastened by any suitable means either at it upper or lower end to prevent it from moving during usage. During the transportation of the apparatus A on a truck or truck dolly, the chute 20 may be turned over and layed above the support 23 with its upper end then mounted in a cradle 67 of substantially V shape supported on vertical posts 68 which are welded or are otherwise affixed to the base pipes 32 (FIG. 1).
In the operation or use of the apparatus of the invention, each length of pipe B is positioned with its lower end in the upper end of the chute 20, using the elevator at the derrick D or any other suitable handling means. The pipe B is then released and is permitted to slide downwardly in the chute 20, with the brake means M being adjusted so that the brake shoe 50 engages the upper surface of the pipe B as it slides downwardly in the chute 20 to control its rate of descent.
Prior to the lowering of such pipe B in the chute 20, the reel 43 is operated so as to wind up the cable 41 and pull the front dolly 21 to the rear or in a direction towards the lower end of the chute 20 so as to dispose same adjacent to the buggy 22 and in a position so that the end of the pipe B will enter the buggy 21 as it leaves the chute 20. The closed end plate 21b limits the extent of movement of the pipe B in the buggy 21 upon initial positioning therein from the chute 20. Thereafter, the reel 43 is operated to wind up the cable 40 and unwind the cable 41 to thereby move the buggy 21 away from the chute 20 so that the pipe B is moved therewith. The pipe B is actually disposed at an angle above the dolly 22 so that it does not move as the pipe B is being moved with its forward end in the dolly 21. At a short time prior pripr to the upper end of the pipe B being released from the lower end of the chute 20, or shortly thereafter, the enlargement 41c engages the sleeve 41b on the buggy 22 so that the pipe B is then received within the buggy 22 and is moved a short distance therewith. Thus, the pipe B is supported on the support 23 by the buggys 21 and 22.
The operator then operates the hydraulic system for the cylinders 33 to pivot the support 23 about the hinge means 30 so as to move same from the position shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 to the discharge position shown in FIG. 1A. When the support 23 reaches the discharge position of FIG. 1A, the pipe B rolls from the buggys 21 and 22 onto the support arms 24which are then in the raised or pipe receiving position shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The weight of the pipe exerts a force to pivot the arms 24 downwardly and because of the nitrogen spring provided by the fluid pressure system heretofore described, the arms 24 gradually lower automatically due to the weight of the pipe thereon and are moved downwardly to the position shown in FIG. 1A where the pipe B rolls off onto the pipe rack members 11 of the pipe rack P. Additional guide rails 70-rnay be provided along side the support arms 24 to further facili tate the rolling action of the pipe B as it is lowered and discharged from the support arms 24.
During the lowering of the arms 24, the nitrogen or other gas in the area 38a of the tank 38 is compressed to provide a return spring action after the pipe B has been discharged from the arms 24. Such return spring action causes the arms 24 to automatically return to the raised pipe receiving position of FIGS. 1 and 2. In the meantime, the operator operates the hydraulic system for the cylinders 33 to return the pipe support 23 to the pipe receiving position of FIGS. 1 and 2. Such opera tion is repeated for each length of pipe B which is being handled and which is moved from the derrick D to the pipe rack P.
The foregoing disclosure and description of the invention are illustrative and explanatory thereof, and various changes in the size, shape and materials as well as in the details of-the illustrated construction may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention.
1. Apparatus for laying pipe on the pipe rack, comprising:
a pivotable longitudinal pipe support adapted to be pivoted from a support position supporting a length of pipe to a discharge position for laterally discharging the pipe therefrom;
a pair of lateral pipe support arms mounted in proximity to said support for receiving the pipe discharged from said support with the pipe support arms in an upwardly extending position for preventing unrestricted discharge of the pipe to the area therebelow;
arm pivoting means pivotally mounting said arms for pivotal movement from a raised pipe receiving position to a lowered pipe discharge position wherein the pipe is discharged therefrom onto a pipe rack or the like; and
arm control means for automatically controlling the rate of lowering of said pipe support arms.
2. The structure set forth in claim 1, wherein:
said means for automatically controlling the rate of lowering of said pipe support arms operates in response to the weight of the pipe rolling down said arms.
3. The structure set forth in claim 1, including:
arm return means for automatically returning said arms to said raised pipe receiving position after the pipe is discharged therefrom.
4. The structure set forth in claim 3, wherein said arm return means includes:
a fluid system operably connected to said arms and having a gas therewith which is compressed druing the movement of said arms from said raised pipe receiving position to said lowered pipe discharge position for thereafter exerting a resilient returning force to said arms when the pipe is discharged therefrom.
5. The structure set forth in claim 1, wherein:'
each of said support arms is curved from its lower end which is disposed below said pipe support to its upper end which is disposed above and to one side of said support when said support is in said support position.
6. The structure set forth in claim 5, wherein:
said arm pivoting means permits a pivoting of said support arms downwardly to position said upper end of each arm below said support when said arms are in said lowered pipe discharge position.
7. The structure set forth in claim 1, incuding:
a pair of pipe dollys mounted for longitudinal movement in said pipe support and adapted to receive a length of pipe therein.
8. The structure set forth in claim 7, wherein:
each of said dollys is pivotahle with said pipe support has a pair of wheels thereon; and
said pivotable pipe support has a wheel track surface engaged by said wheels as said dollys move longitucharge pipe laterally from said dollys.