December 2008

Pipe-handling system enhances safety

Vol. 229 No. 12   RIGFLOOR EQUIPMENT Pipe-handling system enhances safety Weatherford’s Iron Derrickman Plus pipe-handling system enab

Weatherford’s Iron Derrickman Plus pipe-handling system enables hands-free handling of tubulars on offshore jackup or platform drilling rigs. This patent-pending, racking-board-mounted system lifts up to 23,000 lb (10,433 kg) and eliminates the need for personnel on the derrick or on the drill floor when tripping or making connections, Fig. 1. Designed to mount into existing offshore jackup or platform drilling rigs, the system vertically lifts double and triple stands of drillpipe up to 10-in. (254-mm) diameter, and racks these stands into racking-collar fingers on the well-center side of the system. The design combines innovative mechanical engineering, positive control of hydraulic closed-loop proportional circuitry, electrical remote motion controls, radio, and a direct-wired operator’s panel, giving the operator an intuitive feel of all movements. Applications include offshore jackup and platform drilling rigs and any closed-derrick rigs.

Fig. 1

Fig. 1. Weatherford’s pipe-handling system lifts double and triple stands of drillpipe, HWDP and drill collars up to 10 in. (254-mm) dia.

The Iron Derrickman Plus system operates from the rig floor by portable or wired remote control, significantly enhancing safety by removing personnel from the mast and floor when racking or unracking pipe during tripping operations.

Rig-up and rig-down are simple; it is attached to, or is built as part of, the racking board. Mounting is against the inside of the derrick, below the racking board. The unique rotating design of the system offers simplicity of operation, low derrick loading characteristics, and smooth control of all pipe movements. The system lifts a stand of pipe by gripping the pipe body wall, moves the stand in a controlled path between well center and a designated spot in the setback area, and automatically racks the stand in the fingerboard. The position of the system is not in the critical path for pipe movement between the setback area and well center. In the unlikely event of malfunction, the system can be parked in its retracted position, allowing manual pipe racking operations to quickly resume pipe tripping or drilling. WO 


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