US 3792783 A
A pipe handling system for delivering pipe sections to a well drilling derrick, comprising: pipe rack means; elongate conveyor means disposed alongside the rack means; feed means movable from an inoperative position to an operative position by which a section of pipe may be lifted from the rack means for transfer to the conveyor means; and means mounted on the conveyor means for advancing pipe sections received thereon to the derrick.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
@niied ew s Patent 11 1 Brown Feb. 19, 1974 [5 PEPE HANDUNG SYSTEM 3,053,401 9/1962 Jinkins, 1r 214 25  Inventor: Cicero o 90 Katy 3,559,821 2/1971 James 214/25 Freeway, Houston, Tex. 77024 FOREIGN PATENTS 0R APPLICATHONS 22 Filed: May 24 1972 1,316,672 12/1962 France 214/1 PB  Appl 256355 Primary Examiner-Frank E. Werner Related US. Application Data Attorney, Agent, or FirmTorres and Berryhill  Continuation-impart of Ser. No. 125,740, March 18, I
1971, Pat. No. 3,706,347. 57 s CT 52 us. ca. 214/25, 214/1 P 1/75/85 A Pipe handling system delivering Pipe 51 1111. c1 E2111 19/14 a drilling derrick comprismg: Pipe means;  New oi Search H 214/25 1 P 1 PB; 175/85 elongate conveyor means dlsposed alongslde the racl 175/52 means; feed means movable from an lnoperatlve position to an operative position by which a section of  References Cited pipe may be lifted from the rack means for transfer to the conveyor means; and means mounted on the con- UNITED STATES PATENT-S veyor means for advancing pipe sections received 3,254,776 BI'OWH thereon to the derrick 3,587,822 6/1971 White... 214/1 PBX 2,643,006 6/1953 King 2l4/2.5 8 Claims, 12 Drawing Figures PAIENIEU FEB x 9 m4 SHEET 2 BF 6 rn FFFF .9
PIPE HANDLING SYSTEM CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION The present application is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 125,740 filed on March 18, 1971 by Cicero C. Brown now issued as US. Pat. No. 3,706,347.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention pertains to oil and/or gas drilling systems. In particular, it concerns pipe handling systems for delivering pipe sections to a well drill derrick. Y
2. Description of the Prior Art In the rotary drilling of oil and gas wells, the drill string is made up of pipe sections commonly stored on a pipe rack at one side of the derrick floor. These pipe sections are picked up individually by conventional hoist means mounted in the derrick and screwed successively in the string of pipe already suspended in the well bore. In withdrawing the drilling string, the procedure is reversed, the pipe sections or stands being broken out as the string is withdrawn from the well and returned to the pipe storage rack. Conventionally, these operations require considerable manual labor and expenditures of time in making so called round trips."
In my U.S. Pat. No. 3,706,347, an improved pipe handling system is disclosed which includes power operated conveyor means for transferring the pipe section from the storage rack to the derrick. A power operated swivel supported by the derrick hoist is provided for moving the pipe sections into and out of connection with the drill string and for rotating the same. The various power operated elements of the system and their arrangement are such as to greatly reduce much of the manual effort as well as the time and expense ordinarily required.
The system disclosed in the aforementioned patent application includes a pair of storage racks for thepipe stands, of sections, disposed in parallel on opposite sides of an elongate conveyor unit pivotally mounted so as to be tiltable from side to side to receive pipe sections transferred alternately from the storage racks in an automatic manner. The conveyor unit is provided with power operated endless belt means for advancing the pipe section to the well derrick. The conveyor unit includes articulated rearward and forward sections piv-' otally connected to permit vertical angular movement of the forward section relative to the rearward section. Thus, an inclined channel is provided by which the pipe sections or stands might be directed toward the derrick which is ordinarily elevated at some height above the pipe rack.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention is directed toward improvements in the pipe storage racks and conveyor unit of the aforementioned US. Pat. No. 3,706,347. As in the previous system, the present invention contemplates a pair of storage racks, for pipe stands or sections, disposed in parallel on opposite sides of an elongate conveyor unit to receive pipe sections from the storage racks. The conveyor unit is provided with power operated means for advancing the pipe sections to the well derrick.
However, the means for transferring pipe stands or sections from the storage rack to the conveyor unit of the present invention has been improved. No longer is it necessary to tilt the conveyor unit to receive pipe sections from the storage rack. Feed means is provided which is movable from a first position to a second position by which at least one of the pipe sections is lifted from the storage racks and allowed to roll onto the conveyor means. The feed means also prevents other pipe sections from rolling toward the pipe rack until returned to the first position. As in the previous embodiment discussed, the conveyor unit is tiltable from side to side and actually is tilted to transfer pipe sections from the conveyor unit back to the pipe storage rack when pipe sections are being removed from the drilling string. 7
In the previous system, the conveyor unit comprises articulated forward and rearward sections pivotally connected to permit vertical angular movement of the forward section relative to the rearward section. Thus, the forward section can be positioned so as to direct pipe sections onto the drilling derrick floor. When the forward section is so disposed in such an embodiment, the pipe section or stand is supported only at its ends. This is no great problem with the normal 30 foot pipe joint. However, it is frequently desired to work with foot pipe stands which include three joints of pipe. If 90 foot pipe stands are supported at each end, there is considerably more bending stress in the pipe stands. Furthermore, with the articulated conveyor unit, it is almost impossible to transfer a 90 foot pipe stand from the well derrick back to the pipe storage rack. With the angles and weights involved, the force required to push the pipe stand from the forward section to the rearward section is almost prohibitive. For this reason, the receiving trough of the conveyor unit of the present invention is pivoted about one end to permit vertical angular movement of the entire receiving trough from a substantially horizontal position to an inclined position in which the pipe sections received thereon are sup ported throughout their entire length. The system includes power operated means for effecting the angular movement of the conveyor unit and guide means to guide the end of the conveyor in this angular movement.
As in the previous system, the pipe rack of the present invention comprises platform means tiltable about an axis parallel to the conveyor unit. Thus, pipe sections thereon may be gravity fed toward the conveyor. However, in the present invention, power operated means is provided for varying the angle tilt of the platform means. The power operated means may comprise a vertically movable piston and cylinder assembly provided with a stop nut for locking the piston and cylinder assembly in a preselected position.
Other features, objects and advantages of the present invention will become more-readily apparent from the following detailed description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings which illustrate preferred embodiments of the invention.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a plan view of empty pipe storage racks and the conveyor unit of a preferred embodiment of the invention shown disposed in a position adjacent a drilling derrick;
FIG. 2 is a plan view similar to FIG. 1 showing the racks with pipe sections in place thereon, one pipe section being shown loaded on the conveyor and partially advanced toward the derrick;
FIGS. 3A and 3B, together, taken along line 33 of FIG. 1, comprise a side elevation view, partially in section, showing the conveyor unitin the horizontal position for receiving pipe sections from the adjacent pipe racks;
FIG. 4A and 58, together, taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 2, comprise a side elevation view, partially in section, showing the conveyor unit in a vertically inclined position for transferring a pipe section received thereon to the well derrick;
FIG. 5 and 6 are sectional elevation views of a preferred embodiment of a power operated jack suitable for tilting the pipe rack platform of the invention, FIG. 5 showing the jack in a lowered position and FIG. 6 in a vertically elevated position;
FIG. 7, taken along line 77 of FIG. 3A is a transverse cross-sectional view of the conveyor unit and pipe racks of the pipe handling system of the present invention;
' FIG. 8, taken along line 8-8 of FIG. 3B, is a partial transverse cross section of the pipe handling system of the invention illustrating the conveyor unit in the horizontal position for receiving pipe sections from the pipe racks;
FIG. 9 is a partial cross-sectional view similar to FIG. 8 illustrating the'conveyor unit in a tilted position for transferring pipe sections from the conveyor unit to the adjacent pipe racks; and
FIG. 10 is a detailed cross-sectional elevation view illustrating the end of the conveyor unit of the present invention in an elevated position and registered with an inclined receiving trough affixed to the floor of the drilling derrick.
DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT In the drawings, FIGS. 1-10, there is shown a pipe handling system comprising a pair of parallel pipe racks R disposed alongside a conveyor assembly C for transferring pipe sections P between the pipe rack R and derrick D. The pipe handling system comprises askid mounted frame designated generally by the numeral 10, which includes a pair of parallel spaced-apart skid members 11, surmounted by a plurality of longitudinally spaced apart upright support plates 12 extending transversely of the skids. A plurality of horizontally disposed, longitudinally spaced apart rack members 13a, 13b, 13c, 14a, 14b, and 14c extend outwardly on opposite sides of the frame 10 with their inner ends pivotally attached by support brackets 15 to the upper corners of support plates 12, (see FIG. 7). The outer ends of the rack members are supported from jacks which are vertically movable to position the rack members on an incline toward or away from conveyor assembly C, as will be more fully described hereafter also.
The conveyor assembly C is disposed longitudinally and centrally of frame 10 in the space between the inner ends of the rack bars 13a-c and 14a-c and includes an elongate bed frame31 and an elongate receiving trough 32. As best seen in FIG. 7, the bed frame 31 may be conveniently fabricated from an l-I-beam while the receiving trough- 32 may be fabricated from a structural angle member. Longitudinal skirt portions 33 may be attached to the angle member to provide additional structural support and guidance. The bed frame 31 is supported on and pivotally attached to the support plates 12 of the skid frame 10. Thus, the entire conveyor assembly is tiltable along a central horizontal axis to and from the inner ends of adjacent pipe racks R. (See FIG. 9). In the horizontal position of FIGS. 1, 3A and 3B, the receiving trough 32 is carried on and supported by bed frame 31. However, the receiving trough 32 is attached to the bed frame only by a pivot connection 35 near the rear end of the conveyor assembly C. Thus, the receiving trough 32 is free for angular vertical movement from the horizontal position of FIGS. 3A and 38 to the inclined position of FIGS. 4A and 43. Such movement may be effected by a power cylinder 38 pivotally attached at one end 39 to main frame 10 and at the opposite end 40 to receiving trough The conveyor assembly C is also provided with an endless cable 41 which is trained over a plurality of suitably positioned idler and tensioning pulleys 42-45, including a drive pulley 45 which may be connected to a conventional reversible motor (not shown) which may be driven by air, hydraulic fluid, or electricity. The cable 41 runs along the bottom of receiving trough 32 and returns underneath the receiving trough. (See FIG. 7). A pusher or lug 46 is attached to the cable 41 for reciprocating sliding movement in receiving trough 32 to move pipe sections thereon.
To transfer pipe sections P from one of the parallel pipe racks to the conveyor assembly C, the selected pipe rack is tilted and downwardly inclined toward the conveyor assembly C by proper positioning of power jacks 20. Thus, the pipe joints roll toward the conveyor assembly C. Stop lugs 38 (see FIG. 7) may be longitudinally spaced along the sides of receiving trough 32 to prevent pipe sections from prematurely moving onto the conveyor assembly C. Mounted at longitudinally spaced positions along the frame 10 are a plurality of vertical feed cylinders 51. Each of these feed cylinders is provided with a rod 52 to the end of which is attached a foot member 53. When it is desired to place a particular pipe section on the conveyor assembly C, pressure may be applied to the cylinder 51 causing the rod 52 and foot 53 to move upwardly lifting the section of pipe P closest to conveyor assembly C to a point where the pipe section P is permitted to roll over the stop 38 into receiving trough 32. (See FIG. 8). With the rod 52 and foot 53 in this elevated, or section, position, other pipe sections are prevented from rolling toward the conveyor assembly C. Only when the cylinder 51 is returned to the initial, or first, position of FIG. 7 will another pipe section be allowed to roll against stop 38 and be in position for transfer to the conveyor assembly C.
Also provided in conveyor assembly C are tilting and centering cylinders and 90. The tilting cylinder 80 is pivotally attached at one end 81 to frame 10 and at the opposite end 82 to a mounting lug 83 welded to the side of conveyor bed frame 31. Centering cylinder is pivotally attached at one end 91 to frame 10 and at the opposite end 92 to a centering lug 93 secured to the bottom of conveyor bed frame 31. By appropriate direction of pressure fluid to cylinder 80, the conveyor assembly C may be tilted toward either of the racks R (see FIG. 9). Centering cylinder 90 may be appropriately actuated to hold the conveyor assembly C in the centered position. The purpose of these cylinders 80, 90 will be more clearly seen hereafter.
As best seen in FIGS. 5 and 6, the adjustable jacks for tilting the pipe rack platforms include a pedestal comprising a base 51, support legs 52 and support collars 54. Attached by threads 53 to the support collar 54, is a cylinder 55 in which is mounted for reciprocation a piston 56 and piston rod 57. The piston 56 is provided with a conventional seal assembly 58 held in place by a head plate 59. Attached to the opposite end of rod 57 are support caps 61 and bearings 62. The outer end of each pipe rack support member 13 may be affixed to bearing cap 61 by cap screw 63 for support thereon. When fluid is introudced to the head side of cylinder 55 through conduit 65, rod 57 causes the respective support member end 13 to be elevated, as shown in FIG. 6. If the outer ends of the support members 13 of one of the parallel racks are elevated in this manner, the rack platform will be inclined toward the conveyor assembly causing pipe sections thereon to roll in that direction. If pressure is removed and the rod allowed to return to the position of FIG. 5, a platformwill be inclined away from the conveyor section causing pipe sections thereon to roll away from the conveyor assembly. This position will be assumed during removal of pipe stands from the well string. The jacks can also be adjusted manually by providing means such as annular flange 68, for engagement with a rod or handle (not shown). A lock nut 66 may be threadedly attached to rod 57 so that the rod and its supported member 13 may be locked in a particular position.
To transfer sections of pipe from one pipe rack R to the conveyor assembly C and eventually to derrick D, the particular pipe rack R from which pipe is to be taken is first tilted or placed in an inclined position by raising corresponding jacks 20. The pipe sections roll by gravity toward the conveyor assembly C where they are stopped by stops 38 attached to receiving trough 32. Then pressure is applied to feed cylinders 51 causing the foot 53 tomove vertically upward lifting one section of pipe above the stop 38 and allowing it to roll by gravity onto the receiving trough 32. The foot 43 and connecting rod 52 prevent other pipe sections from. rolling toward the conveyor assembly C until a later time when the rod 52 is retracted or moved toward the initial position shown in FIG. 7. Once a pipe section has been placed in the receiving trough 32, the trough is vertically pivoted to the inclined position of FIGS. 4A and 4B by applying pressure to the lift cylinder 38. The forward end of trough 32 is provided with a stop member 39 which engages the end of an inclined receiving trough 70 affixed to the derrick D (see FIG. 10). Vertical guide members 75 (see FIG. 7) keep the end of the trough 32 moving in the desired path.
Once the forward end of conveyor receiving trough 32 is properly registered with derrick receiving trough 70, power is applied to drive the cable 41 in the proper direction causing pusher 46 to move the pipe section in the trough 32 up the incline and onto the derrick platform where it is lifted by appropriate derrick equipment and made up with the drill string. The lifting lug peated until the desired number of pipe sections are tranferred to the derrick. Of course, the pipe sections from the opposite rack R may be tranferred by tilting that rack toward the conveyor assembly C.
To remove pipe sections or stands from the derrick D, the particular pipe rack R which is to receive the pipe sections is first tilted so as to be inclined downward away from the conveyor assembly C. Then the reor pusher 46 is then returned to the initial position and the inclined conveyor receiving trough 32 is returned to its initial horizontal position. Then the lift cylinder 6 ceiving trough 32 is elevated to the inclined position of FIGS. 4A and 4B and the lower end of a section of pipe is placed on the derrick receiving trough and slid onto the upper end of conveyor receiving trough 32 for engagement with the lifting lug or pusher 46. Then the cable is reciprocated so that the lug 46 moves down the incline toward the rear of the conveyor assembly C. As this is done the pipe section contacting the lug 46 is lowered down the incline until it is fully supported on the conveyor receiving trough 32. Then, pressure is re lieved from the lift cylinder 38 allowing the receiving trough 32 to be returned to the horizontal position of FIGS. 3A and 3B.
Next, the tilting cylinder is actuated causing the entire conveyor assembly C to be tilted in the direction of the receiving platform R as seen in FIG. 9. This causes the pipe section in the receiving trough 32 to be transferred from the conveyor assembly C to the downwardly tilted rack R where it rolls by gravity to a stop against the next pipe section on the platform R. Then, the conveyor assembly C is returned to the non'tilted or initial position by tilting cylinder 80 and the cycle is repeated until all pipe sections desired are tranferred from the derrick D to the pipe rack R.
Thus, with the present invention the conveyor assembly is improved so as to support the received pipe sections throughout their lengths permitting handling of increased length pipe stands. The feed mechanism allows transfer of pipe sections from the storage racks to the conveyor without having to tilt the conveyor. The pipe racks are more easily positioned with power jacks. All of this is accomplished with a less complex construction and a simpler operating system.
Many variations of the invention may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit of the invention. It is therefore intended that the scope of the invention be limited only by the claims which follow.
1. A pipe handling system for delivering pipe sections to a well drilling derrick, comprising:
a. pipe rack means for horizontally supporting a plurality of pipe sections in parallel relation to each other;
b. elongate conveyor means disposed alongside said rack means to receive pipe sections from said rack means;
0. feed means movable from a first position to a second position by which at least one of said sections is lifted from said rack means and allowed to roll onto said conveyor means, said feed means preventing other pipe sections from rolling toward said conveyor means until returned to said second position; and
d. means mounted on said conveyor means for advancing the received pipe sections into the derrick;
e. said conveyor means including an elongate bed frame and an elongate trough member pivotally connected at one end thereof to said bed frame to permit vertical angular movement from a substantially horizontal position to an inclined position in which said pipe sections received thereon are supported throughout their length, said bed frame being tiitable along its longitudinal axis when said receiving trough is in the horizontal position to permit transfer of pipe sections received thereon to said rack means.
2. A pipe handling system as set forth in claim 1 including power operated means connected to said trough member for effecting said angular movement of said trough member.
3. A pipe handling system as set forth in claim 2 including vertical guide means engageable with one end of said trough member to guide said trough member in said angular movement. I
4. A pipe handling system as set forth in claim 3 including an inclined receiving trough on said derrick registrable with one end of said trough member when in said inclined position to receive pipe sections from said conveyor means.
5. A pipe handling system as set forth in claim 4 in which said trough member and said derrick receiving trough are provided with stop means to prevent misalignment of said trough member and said derrick trough means in said inclined position.
6. A pipe handling system as set forth in claim 1 including power operated means engaging said rack means for tilting said rack means about an axis parallel to said conveyor means, said power operated means comprising a vertically movable piston and cylinder assembly provided with a stop nut for locking said piston and cylinder assembly in a preselected vertical position, said assembly comprising a threaded rod by which said assembly may be manually operated.
7. A pipe handling system as setforth in claim 1 in which said means for advancing said pipe sections into said derrick comprises: an endless cable, running along the bottom of said trough member and returning underneath said trough member; a lug member attached to said cable; and drive means engaging said cable for reciprocating sliding movement of said lug member within said trough member.
8. A pipe handling system as set forth in claim 1 in which said trough member comprises stop means preventing pipe sections from rolling onto said conveyor means from said rack means, said feed means compris ing a plurality of hydraulic cylinders having rods extending therefrom to which a foot member is attached, said foot member being engageable with a first of said pipe sections, on extension of said rods, to lift said first pipe section over said stop member and allowing it to roll onto said conveyor means, but preventing other pipe sections from rolling toward said conveyor means. l=