US 3921823 A
A derrick mounted on a ship has three automatic pipe shifting units that compensate for the sway of the vessel during a drilling operation at sea. Both rotary and reciprocal movement are provided by jack members and turrets. Gripping jaws permit the rotation of the held pipe, while aligning flanges insure precise location. The middle shifting unit provides a vertical jack member for elevating its respective gripping jaw.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Bourree et al.
[ 51 Nov. 25, 1975 MOVEMENT COMPENSATING APPARATUS FOR FLOATING DRILLING Inventors: Rene Bourree; Michel Brin, both of Le Plessisi Robinson, France Assignee: Groupment pour les Activities Atomiques et Avancees GAAA, Le Plessis-Robinson, France Filed: Jan. 30, 1974 Appl. No.: 438,045
Related U.S. Application Data Continuation-impart of Ser. No. 208,106, Dec. 15, 1971, abandoned.
Foreign Application Priority Data  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,416,815 3/1947 Calhoun 214/1 P 3,061,011 10/1962 Paget 2l4/2.5 X 3,633,767 l/1972 Mitchell et a1 214/25 Primary Examiner-Frank E. Werner Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Sughrue, Rothwell, Mion, Zinn & Macpe ak  ABSTRACT A derrick mounted on a ship has three automatic pipe shifting units that compensate for the sway of the vessel during a drilling operation at sea. Both rotary and reciprocal movement are provided by jack members and turrets. Gripping jaws permit the rotation of the held pipe; while aligning flanges insure precise location. The middle shifting unit provides a vertical jack member for elevating its respective gripping jaw.
2 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures A 11 10 A L. r .1
US. Patent Nov. 25, 1975 Sheet 10f4 U.S. Patent Nov. 25,1975 Sheet2of 4 3,921,823
US. Patent Nov. 25, 1975 Sheet3of4 3,921,823
US. Patent Nov. 25, 1975 Sbc-et40f4 3,921,823
n 73 75 7" l/ 1 i 71 T,
MOVEMENT COMPENSATING APPARATUS FOR FLOATING DRILLING CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION I This application is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 208,106, filed Dec. 15, 1971, and abandoned upon the filing of the present application.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates to a shifting assembly intended for handling drill pipes mounted on a derrick. It is particularly well suited for such derricks located on board a ship performing drilling operations at sea.
2. Description of the Prior Art It has not been possible to handle drill pipes, and more particularly, triple drill pipes, within a derrick installed on board a ship during drilling operations at sea in the same manner as in a derrick installed as a stationary unit on land or on a fixed platform attached to land. The well known influence of wind combines with the rolling and pitching movements caused by the swell and the waves to move all triple drill pipe elements during displacement away from their intended destination.
Generally, equipment designed for moving triple drill pipe elements within a derrick installed on board a ship must not merely suspend these drill pipes on the end of a cable, but must ensure a constant rigid bilateral connection between the derrick and the moving element. The bilateral connection must be ensured from the moment when the triple element is released to the moment when it is again fixed, this being applicable whatever its movement, vertical or horizontal. The triple drill pipe element must be held firmly at least by two points, to avoid any accidental rotating movement.
Shifting equipment must therefore be provided which is capable of ensuring, during any movement of a triple drill pipe element, a permanent bilateral connection enabling the drill pipes to be gripped or deposited above the drill pipe string on the tool-joint of the latter, and to remove the drill pipes normally at the point from which a transfer carriage grips them to deliver them in a horizontal position; in addition, the shifting assembly must enable the drill pipes to be delivered at a takeup point with a view to temporary vertical storage in the derrick. Moreover, such a device must be as light as possible, so as not to overload the structure of the derrick.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It can be seen, consequently, that the conditions to which such a shifting assembly must comply are contradictory: rigidity in the balance of a long and heavy element such as a set of three drill pipes requires great strength in the shifting unit and a massive structure, the capability of performing complex operations at points remote from one another requires a device having great volume; these two factors contradict the imperative necessity of lightness imposed on the device. The present invention has nevertheless sought to conciliate these different factors by reverting to a compound motion.
The object of the invention is therefore an automatic shifting assembly for a derrick erected on board a ship for drilling at sea, enabling the movement, inside the derrick, of a multiple drill pipe element held in a substantially vertical position, from the well to a transfer carriage or to a take-up point for possible vertical storage and vice-versa, by successive connected upward or downward, longitudinal and rotating movements during which the handled element is held permanently by at least two ,collets. This assembly comprises three shifting units arranged respectively one above another, the lower shifting unit, the middle shifting unit and the upper shifting unit, characterized in that the three shifting units are each provided with a rotating turret. In the middle shifting unit and in the upper shifting unit, the rotation turrets can be driven in a radial longitudinal movement byacarriage installed on a fixed frame connected to the derrick. In the middle shifting unit, the collet is further supported by a carriage sliding vertically along an arm provided on the carriage having a radial longitudinal movement.
With such an assembly of shifting units, it is possible to grip a triple drill pipe element at any useful point of the derrick, using short travelling distances and limiting the length of the travel paths which the moved elements will take to a minimum, by means of a judicious combination of rotating and longitudinal movements.
Finally, the arm supporting the collet can slide in relation to its rotation turret.
To simplify the various maneuvers and the production of the shifting units, it is preferable, in certain cases, to make a single shifting unit bear the weight of the triple drill pipe element load, the other shifting units merely preventing the rotation of the drill pipe elements aboutaxes other than the axis of symmetry. For reasons of simplicity, the middle shifting unit often fulfills that function; the collet can then grip the element at the base of one of the two available tool-joints. The jaws of the colle'ts are then provided with bearing rollers. The lower drill pipe of the triple element can then be unscrewed or screwed without any inconvenience in relation to the last tool-joint of the drill pipe string.
To ensure firm and accurate control during these operations, the devices implemented are preferably hydraulically controlled jacks, but it is obviously possible, without going beyond the scope of the invention, to use electric motors or any other equivalent means.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART The invention will be better understood on referring to an embodiment described by way of a non-limiting example, in which:
FIG. 1 shows the location of the shifting units;
FIG. 2 is a sectional view along line AA in FIG. 1 of the upper shifting unit;
FIG. 3 is an elevational view of the middle carriage;
FIG. 4 is a partial sectional view along line BB in FIG. 3 of the middle shifting unit;
FIG. 5 is the complete sectional view of the same shifting unit along line BB in FIG. 3, and
FIG. 6 is a diagram describing the handling of a triple drill rod element.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT FIG. 1 shows the outside contour of the derrick I and the center line 2 of the well. From top to bottom, the three shifting units can be distinguished as follows: the upper shifting unit comprises a collet 10 at the end of a horizontal am 11 supported by a turret 12, itself mobile on a horizontal carriage 13 which can be driven in a longitudinal movement in relation to a frame 14 connected to the derrick.
The middle shifting unit 200 comprises a collet 20 mobile along an axis vertical in relation to a cranked arm whose horizontal part 46 is itself driven in a horizontal longitudinal movement in relation to a turret 22. The turret can turn to the right and to the left through more than 90 in relation to a main carriage 23, itself radially mobile in relation to the frame 24 connected in a fixed way to the derrick.
The lower shifting device 300 comprises a collet 30 on the end of a horizontal arm 31, supported, itself, by a turret 32 which can rotate in relation to a frame 34.
FIG. 2 is a sectional view of FIG. 1 along AA; the collet and the arm 11, as well as the slide rails of the carriage 13 on the frame 14 can be distinguished therein.
FIG. 3 gives a more accurate idea of the middle shifting unit. The collet holding a triple drill pipe element below the tool-joint can be distinguished therein. The jaws of the collet open and close when a roller 27 moves inside a cam 28 under the action of a jack 29.
The collet 20 is driven in a vertical movement by a vertical carriage by means of two bearing rollers 41 and 42 which move along a bearing race 43 formed in the vertical portion of the arm 21. The collet 20 and the carriage 40 are driven in motion under the action of the rod 44 of a jack 45. The arm is a cranked part which comprises a vertical portion 21 which has just been described and a horizontal portion 46.
A movement of the horizontal portion 46 of the arm in relation to the turret 22 sets the triple element 25 supported by the collet 20 with the vertical portion of the arm 21, in motion. Such a longitudinal movement is effected by means of the bearing rollers 48 and 49 of the arm in relation to the turret 22, this movement being guided by the fixed armguide roller 50. This longitudinal movement is controlled by the jack 51 connected to the arm, whereas its piston 52 rests against a fixed point 53 connected to the turret 22. Lastly, when it moves to grip the triple drill pipe elements, the movement of the arm is guided by the centering device 47 extended towards the front by two symmetrical flanges 26 and 26 bearing centering rollers 47 and 47 (see FIG. 4).
The turret 22 can be turned on its pivot 54 by means of two rotation jacks 55 and 55, the latter alone being shown in FIG. 3. This turret is capable of being set in motion, in its turn, by the movement of the carriage 23 sliding on rollers such as 56 and 57 on a bearing race 58 fixed to the frame 24 connected to the derrick. Ultimately, the various possible movements are as follows:
1. opening and closing of the jaws by means of the jack 29;
2. lifting and lowering of the collet 20 along the vertical part of the arm by means of the jack 3. horizontal longitudinal movement of the arm in relation to the turret 22 by means of the jack 51;
4. rotating of the turret 22 in relation to the horizontal carriage 23 by means of the cylinders and 55'; and
5. longitudinal movement of the carriage 23 on the bearing race 58 connected to the frame 24, by means of a motor 59.
The purpose of designing the apparatus to have capability (3) as well as capability (5) may be explained as follows. Capability (5) is needed to bring the collets 10, 20, and 30 close to a pipe element 25 in the waiting position. This motion typically takes place at high speed. Then, capability (3) is needed because the engaging of the pipe element 25 in the collets 10, 20, and 30 requires a short movement of the collets in the direction of the pipe element at a low speed until the pipe element is gripped by the collets. Once the pipe element has been gripped, the cranked arms can be retracted at a much higher speed than they were extended, and then the turrets can be moved themselves as units. This twostep process is explained in more detail hereinafter.
The upper shifting unit 100 comprises a collet analogous to the collet described above. It can also comprise a centering means analogous to the centering device 47 of the middle shifting unit 200.
FIG. 4 shows an enlarged view of a cross-section of the vertical carriage along BB, as well as the vertical portion of the arm. It makes it possible to understand better the two essential movements consisting of the opening of the collet and of the vertical longitudinal movement of the vertical carriage in relation to the vertical portion of the arm.
When the middle shifting unit brings the triple drill pipe element towards the transfer carriage taking up the triple element in a vertical position to store it in a horizontal position, the final movement of the shifting unit is guided by a deflector 65 connected with the carriage. The shifting unit then rests against the deflector 65 through the centering rollers 47 and 47 mounted on the flanges 26 and 26 of the centering device 47.
The flanges of the vertical portion of the arm can be seen at 21, the sectional view of the collet opening and closing control cam jack at 29, and the cam for moving the rollers 27 and 27 at 28 and 28. When the two bearing races of the rollers 27 and 27 move towards each other, the jaws 20 and 20 pivot about the axis 60 and move away to leave the triple element 25 free. It can, moreover, be seen that the rollers 61, 62, 63 and 64 enable a rotation of the triple element about its longitudinal axis with a view to enabling the screwing and unscrewing of the end of the tube on the tool-joint of the drill pipe string.
Also, in FIG. 4, a cross-section of the flange of the vertical carriage 40 and the roller 41 of the vertical carriage can be seen. Opposite the centering device 47 and its roller 47', the deflector 65 of the carriage has been shown, in discontinuous lines, effecting the transfer of the triple element from the vertical position to the horizontal position. The rollers 47 and 47" come into contact with the profile of the deflector 65 and thus bring the triple drill pipe element into its precise position for its loading onto the carriage effecting the transfer.
FIG. 5 shows the complete cross-section along view BB. The triple drill pipe 25 held by the jaw 20 is free to rotate due to the rollers such as 61, rollers 27 enabling the opening of that jaw in the vertical carriage 21, the turret 22, the bearing race of the rollers 48, 48', 49, 49' of the movement for the arm in relation to the turret 22, can be distinguished. To simplify the draw ings, the centering device 47 and the rollers 47 and 47" of that centering device have not been shown. On the other hand, the pivot 54 of the turret 22, as well as the jacks 55 and 55' controlling the rotation of the turret can be seen. Lastly, the main horizontal carriage 23 and its motor 59 can be discerned.
FIG. 6 is a diagram showing, in a horizontal plane, the various positions taken up by the collet 20 during the handling of a triple drill pipe element between the well and the transfer carriage which is to bring the drill pipes out of the derrick into a horizontal storage position. The point 72 is the center line of the well, and the position 75 is the retracted position of the collet. The position 74 is the position for the loading of the triple element on the transfer carriage.
This figure makes it easier to understand the sequence of the handling operations for a triple drill pipe element between the well and the transfer carriage by means of the middle shifting unit 200 and of the upper shifting unit 100. The lower shifting unit 300 is, indeed, used only in the transfer operation for a casing between the well and a vertical storage point. In that case, it is provided with a collet analogous to the collet of the middle shifting unit described above.
The sequence of operations can be divided into sixteen elementary connected operations which can even be effected simultaneously in certain cases. These operations are the following:
l. Lifting of the drill pipe string fixed to a lifting means (which is not an object of this patent).
2. (Simultaneous operation). The two collets of the upper and middle shifting units go from the retracted position 75 to the waiting position 71.
3. Laying of the triple element on chocks, leaving a residual tension with a view to keeping the triple element in the extended position.
4. The collets advance at high speed from the waiting position 71 to the position 72 by means of the carriages 23 and 13. The arm 21 and the arm 11 continue the movement at low speed until the moment when the triple element is engaged in the collet.
5. Closing of the collets (very rapid operation).
6. The collet returns to position 72. This lowamplitude course is effected by withdrawing the arm in a very short time.
7. Opening of the lifting means; whereby the triple element is no longer guided except by the middle shifting unit.
8. Withdrawal and lowering of the lifting means; the performance of this operation does not hinder the two following operations which are more often carried out simultaneously.
9. Unscrewing the connection after installing the lower guide arm preventing the tool-joint from shifting immediately after unscrewing.
10. Making the collets 20 come into contact with the tool-joint. The collets of the middle shifting unit effecting the lifting movement in two phases:
101 High-speed lifting until detection of the tooljOll'lt;
102 Low-speed lifting for handling the triple element causing the releasing and lifting of the triple element;
1 l. Rotating of the arm from 72 to 73. This operation is carried out by rotating the turret driven by the jacks 55 and 55 l2. Advancing the arms from 73 to 74. This advancing operation comprises a first part at full power up to the moment when one of the rollers 47' and 47" comes into contact with the profile of the deflector 65 of the transfer carriage. A reduction in the oil pressure on the jacks controlling the rotating and the jack controlling the movement of the arm limits the effort exerted on the carriage. Thus, the triple element is brought into a precise position in relation to the carriage, cancelling the influence of the play and of the deformations produced by the effect of any motion on all the assembled elements.
13. Closing the collets of the carriage around the triple element.
14. Opening the collets of the shifting unit.
15. Withdrawal of the collets from 74 to 73 by sliding the arm.
16. Putting the shifting assembly in the retracted position 75 to clear the passage for the triple element connected to the transfer carriage during its lowering movement from the vertical position to the horizontal position.
The reverse operations carried out by the shifting units during transporting of the triple drill pipes from their storage to the drilling well can be clearly understood without their having to be described.
While the above describes the preferred embodiment, it should be clear that various modifications can be accomplished within the scope of the present invention and accordingly, the present invention should be determined from the following claims.
What is claimed is:
1. Apparatus for automatically shifting sections of pipe back and forth between operational and storage positions in a derrick which is part of a floating drilling rig, said apparatus comprising at least two shifting units arranged vertically in the derrick, each of said shifting units comprising:
a. a carriage movably mounted for horizontal movement on a frame fixedly connected to the derrick;
b. means for radially moving said carriage;
c. a turret rotatably mounted on said carriage;
d. means comprising at least one rotation jack for rotating said turret on said carriage;
e. an arm movably mounted on said turret, said arm comprising a horizontal part and a vertical part;
f. means comprising a jack for effecting horizontal movement of said arm on said turret;
g. gripping means mounted on the vertical part of said arm; and
h. means comprising a jack mounted on said arm for controlling the opening and closing of said gripping means.
2. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein said gripping means is movably counted on the vertical part of said arm and further comprising means for effecting vertical movement of said gripping means on the vertical part of said arm.