|Publication number||USRE40944 E1|
|Application number||US 10/972,111|
|Publication date||Oct 27, 2009|
|Priority date||Aug 12, 1999|
|Also published as||US6469637|
|Publication number||10972111, 972111, US RE40944 E1, US RE40944E1, US-E1-RE40944, USRE40944 E1, USRE40944E1|
|Inventors||Terry A. Seyler, Macmillan M. Wisler|
|Original Assignee||Baker Hughes Incorporated|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (45), Non-Patent Citations (1), Classifications (10), Legal Events (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The field of this invention relates to telemetry systems for transmitting data from downhole drilling assemblies to the surface, and more particularly to a mud-pulsing valve and control system which can generate multi-level signals by producing a variety of pressure amplitude levels so that the quantity of data encoded or the number of bits transmitted can be increased without increasing the frequency of the transmitted signal.
Measurement-While-Drilling (MWD) or Logging-While-Drilling (LWD) applications use a mud-pulse system of telemetry to create acoustic signals in the drilling fluid that is circulated under pressure through the drillstring during drilling operations. Information acquired by downhole sensors is transmitted by suitably timing the formation of pressure pulses in the mud stream. This information is received and decoded by a pressure transducer and computer at the surface. Typically, these systems have involved a valve and a control mechanism known as a pulser or a mud pulser. Operation of the valve sends a pulse up the drillstring at the velocity of sound in the drilling mud. The rate of transmission of data is relatively slow due to pulse spreading, distortion, attenuation, modulation rate limitations, and other destructive forces such as ambient noise in the drillstring. The mud pulser generates digital 1's and 0's, depending on whether it is open or closed. One prior attempt to increase the data rate is to increase the frequency of the pulses. However, increasing the pulse frequency makes it more difficult to distinguish between adjacent pulses because of short resolution periods.
Negative pulsing systems employ a valve which temporarily allows flow from the drill collar into the annulus, thus bypassing the bit. These systems have a disadvantage of taking flow away from the bit. Positive pressure pulse systems have been- created by temporarily restricting the downward flow of drilling fluid by partial blocking of the fluid path in the drillstring. Pulse detection at the surface can sometimes become difficult due to attenuation and distortion of the signal and the presence of noise generated by the mud pumps, the downhole mud motor, and elsewhere in the drilling system. The presence of grit and other particles in the mud also creates certain operational problems for transducers in the drillstring. Both the positive and negative mud pulse systems generate base band signals. A desirable objective to increase the transmission rate of data is to provide an increased band width signal in the form that provides easy delineation at the surface of the well.
In the past, mud pulse systems that transmit mud pulse signals of differing amplitudes have been developed. In one design, a poppet and orifice structure uses a configuration which provides a tendency for the poppet to remain in the closed position. A bypass line is provided around the poppet and orifice and to a driving piston on the poppet. The poppet valve opens by a pilot valve connected on the bypass conduit of the piston assembly. When the pilot valve turns off, mud flow is blocked through the piston assembly. Relief valves are provided in the bypass conduit downstream of the piston.
These relief valves are pre-calibrated to a particular pressure level which causes each valve to leak mud to prevent the predetermined pressure level from being exceeded. Thus, use of a variety of relief valves allows for the creation of a pressure pulse with an independent amplitude. This system and variations thereof are described in detail in U.S. Pat. No. 5,586,084.
However, this system suffers from various disadvantages. The control that it provides over the movements of the poppet are, at best, indirect. Through the use of the bypass line, the movements of the poppet are controlled by an applied hydraulic pressure acting in conjunction with a spring force. The physical movements of the poppet are not measured; thus, when the relief valve or valves selected reach their predetermined release pressure, the specific amplitude of the pulse generated is uncertain. This is also because erosion on the orifice or poppet affects the amplitude of the pulse generated and the control system described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,586,084 has no provisions for compensation for such erosion effects. Additionally, the use of bypass passages in drilling mud service also creates potential plugging problems in the small components, which would undermine the effectiveness of that system. The system of the prior art thus requires the use of many relief valves or a motor-driven variable restrictor which further presents operational difficulties in mud service. These components must be calibrated for the poppet and orifice combination in its new condition and cannot respond effectively to effects of erosion or dramatic differences in mud flow rates and operating pressures.
It is an object of the present invention to provide a mud pulser whose position is, directly set in response to measured pressure uphole in the drill-string. Another objective of the present invention is to be able to obtain greater precision in the amplitude of the pulses generated by sensing not only the measured pressure, but also its rates of increase. Another objective is to use the measured pressure from the pulses generated to translate directly to physical movement of the mud pulser to obtain greater control of the pulse amplitudes generated. Another objective is to be able to create baseline amplitudes and to maintain such amplitudes despite changing physical conditions of the mud pulser or in pressure and flowrates of the mud circulating through the drillstring. These and other advantages of the present invention will become more apparent to those skilled in the art from a review of the preferred embodiment described below.
A telemetry system involving a shear-type mud pulser valve as the preferred embodiment is described. The control system includes a motor driver for the mud pulser which, in essence, moves one movable plate with respect to a stationary plate to create openings of various sizes. Pressure is sensed uphole of the pulser valve and is compared in real time to the desired pressure pulse amplitude. By allowing different relative rotational positions of the rotatable plate with respect to the stationary plate, different amplitudes can be achieved to further enhance the transmission of data to the surface. The control system compensates for wear in the mud pulse valve itself as well as drastic changes in mud flow and pressure. The configuration is simple and not prone to fouling from grit or other particles in the mud. The system is capable of creating an initial baseline array of a variety of pulse amplitudes, and thereafter providing the required relative rotation between the stationary and rotatable plates so as to be able to duplicate the baseline pulse amplitudes despite changes in the valve condition or in the flowing conditions of the mud.
Supported within the drill collar 10 are downhole instrument 16 which are used for measurement of a variety of conditions downhole of the formation as well as the circulating mud. A processor 18 is mounted adjacent the instruments 16. One of the many functions of the processor 18 is to control the motor 20. Motor 20 is connected directly to plate 22, which is also shown in FIG. 2. Plate 22 has a series of openings 24 which, in the preferred embodiment, match the openings 14 of plate 12. The openings 14 and 24 are preferably crescent-shaped, but other configurations can be used without departing from the spirit of the invention. Motor 20 can orient plate 22 in different positions with respect to the fixed plate 12.
The operation of the control system is illustrated in FIG. 3. Arrow 44 schematically represents the mud flow in the drill collar 10 past the mud pulser valve 46, which is illustrated in
Those skilled in the art can now see that the system described above, by increasing the number of available pressure pulse amplitudes dramatically increases the quantity of data encoded or the number of bits transmitted without increasing the frequency of the transmitted signal. The pressure measurement is direct at transducer 48. The output from the comparator 50 results in a direct physical movement of the motor 20, which in the preferred embodiment can be stepper motor. There is no dependence on the circulating mud to position the pulser valve 46, as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,586,084. The control of the pulser valve 46 is direct by motor 20. Wear in the openings 14 and 24 can be compensated for by the processor 18. In essence, at the start of operations, the baseline is established for the various pulses, as shown in FIG. 2. Thereafter, the relative positions of the plates 12 and 22 can be adjusted to duplicate the target amplitudes shown in
Additionally, the shape of the pulse can also be controlled by this invention. It is known in the art that pulses can become skewed in time and thus made harder to detect at the surface because of shape or phase distortion. The pressure feedback and rapid aperture response of the present invention allows optimal pulse shaping for optimal detection at the surface.
In other respects, the nature of the pulse signaling generated by the pulser valve 46 using binary 0's and 1's is similar to the techniques of the prior art, such as, for example, illustrated in U.S. Pat. No. 5,586,084. The design of the actual pulser valve 46 itself is commonly referred to as a shear valve and can be of a type used and disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,630,244.
With the present invention, narrow bypass passages which could clog up with grit and other particles in the drilling mud, are not employed. These techniques represent one of the shortcomings in the prior attempts to transmit larger amounts of data faster, as illustrated in U.S. Pat. No. 5,586,084. Yet another advantage of the present invention is the direct control of the mud pulser 46 and the ability to more finely control the shape of the pulses, such as illustrated in
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.
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|U.S. Classification||340/856.3, 340/854.3, 181/102, 340/853.3, 367/85, 367/84|
|International Classification||E21B47/18, G01V3/00|
|Apr 22, 2010||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|Dec 14, 2010||CC||Certificate of correction|
|May 30, 2014||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Oct 22, 2014||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|