US20050135902A1 - Pipe transfer apparatus - Google Patents

Pipe transfer apparatus Download PDF

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Publication number
US20050135902A1
US20050135902A1 US10/739,559 US73955903A US2005135902A1 US 20050135902 A1 US20050135902 A1 US 20050135902A1 US 73955903 A US73955903 A US 73955903A US 2005135902 A1 US2005135902 A1 US 2005135902A1
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Prior art keywords
pipe
track
mast
door
well bore
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Abandoned
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US10/739,559
Inventor
Timothy Spisak
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Spisak Timothy M.
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Priority to US10/739,559 priority Critical patent/US20050135902A1/en
Publication of US20050135902A1 publication Critical patent/US20050135902A1/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E21EARTH DRILLING; MINING
    • E21BEARTH DRILLING, e.g. DEEP DRILLING; OBTAINING OIL, GAS, WATER, SOLUBLE OR MELTABLE MATERIALS OR A SLURRY OF MINERALS FROM WELLS
    • E21B19/00Handling rods, casings, tubes or the like outside the borehole, e.g. in the derrick; Apparatus for feeding the rods or cables
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E21EARTH DRILLING; MINING
    • E21BEARTH DRILLING, e.g. DEEP DRILLING; OBTAINING OIL, GAS, WATER, SOLUBLE OR MELTABLE MATERIALS OR A SLURRY OF MINERALS FROM WELLS
    • E21B19/00Handling rods, casings, tubes or the like outside the borehole, e.g. in the derrick; Apparatus for feeding the rods or cables
    • E21B19/08Apparatus for feeding the rods or cables; Apparatus for increasing or decreasing the pressure on the drilling tool; Apparatus for counterbalancing the weight of the rods
    • E21B19/087Apparatus for feeding the rods or cables; Apparatus for increasing or decreasing the pressure on the drilling tool; Apparatus for counterbalancing the weight of the rods by means of a swinging arm
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E21EARTH DRILLING; MINING
    • E21BEARTH DRILLING, e.g. DEEP DRILLING; OBTAINING OIL, GAS, WATER, SOLUBLE OR MELTABLE MATERIALS OR A SLURRY OF MINERALS FROM WELLS
    • E21B19/00Handling rods, casings, tubes or the like outside the borehole, e.g. in the derrick; Apparatus for feeding the rods or cables
    • E21B19/14Racks, ramps, troughs or bins, for holding the lengths of rod singly or connected; Handling between storage place and borehole
    • E21B19/15Racking of rods in horizontal position; Handling between horizontal and vertical position
    • E21B19/155Handling between horizontal and vertical position

Abstract

A pipe handling apparatus has a substantially horizontal track and a traveling base member which can travel along the length of the track. An elongate mast is provided. One end of the mast is pivotally affixed to the traveling base member, while a pipe gripper assembly is affixed to the other end of the mast. The pipe gripper includes opposing arcuate jaws which can be selectively opened and closed, as desired, around the outer circumference of a section of pipe or other tubular member. The pipe gripper can be rotated three hundred sixty (360) degrees, and can also be tilted, up or down, relative to such mast.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • NONE
  • STATEMENTS AS TO RIGHTS TO INVENTIONS MADE UNDER FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
  • NONE
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • The present invention relates to an apparatus for transferring tubular goods from a pipe rack v-door to a well bore on a drilling rig. More specifically, the present invention relates to an apparatus for transporting tubular goods from a v-door to a well bore on a drilling rig.
  • 2. Brief Description of the Prior Art
  • Standard drilling rigs typically comprise a supportive rig floor, a derrick extending vertically above said rig floor, and a traveling block which can be raised and lowered within said derrick. During drilling operations, such rig equipment is often used to manipulate tubular goods (e.g. drill pipe, tubing, casing and the like) and/or downhole tools in a well bore situated under such derrick. For example, drill bits and/or other equipment are often inserted into a well bore and manipulated within such well bore via tubular drill pipe. Moreover, once a well has been drilled to a desired depth, large diameter and relatively heavy pipe called casing is often installed in the well bore and cemented in place in order to provide structural integrity to the borehole and to isolate downhole formations from one another.
  • When installing casing, drill pipe or other tubular goods into a well bore, such pipe is typically installed in a number of sections of roughly equal length. These pipe sections, often called “joints,” are typically installed one at a time, and screwed together or otherwise joined end-to-end to make a roughly continuous string of pipe. In order to commence the process of inserting pipe in a well bore, a first joint of pipe is lowered into the well bore at the rig floor, and suspended in place using a set of “slips.” Thereafter, a second joint of pipe is connected to the top of said first joint, the slips are removed, and both joints are then lowered into the well bore. The slips are then installed at the rig floor, and the process is repeated until the desired length of pipe has been run into the well bore.
  • In many instances, pipe and other tubular goods are stored horizontally on one or more pipe racks in the general vicinity of the rig floor. As such pipe/tubular goods are needed for installation in a well bore, the desired number of joints are transferred from such pipe rack(s) into the drilling rig derrick; thereafter, such joints are either installed directly into the well, or stored vertically within the derrick. Because most rig floors and associated derricks are typically elevated above such pipe rack(s), transferring pipe sections between a pipe rack and an elevated rig floor requires careful handling of such pipe. Care must be taken to protect the pipe, as well as the personnel around the rig. This is especially true with casing and drill collars, since heavy joints of casing and/or drill collars are frequently more difficult to handle than smaller and lighter pipe, such as drill pipe and tubing.
  • When pipe is transferred from a pipe storage rack to an elevated rig floor, one or more joints of pipe are typically loaded on a ramp-like member, commonly referred to as a “v-door”, which extends between said pipe rack and said elevated rig floor. Because of the difference in elevation between the pipe rack and rig floor, the v-door is frequently inclined at an angle. Once pipe is loaded on to said v-door, the pipe is thereafter lifted, typically one joint at a time, from the v-door into a vertical position in the derrick above the elevated rig floor. Once a joint of pipe is aligned over the well bore (as well as any pipe which has already been inserted therein), the suspended section of pipe can then be connected to the top of the pipe string which is protruding from the well bore. Thereafter, the pipe string can be lowered into said well bore, and the process can be repeated until the desired amount of pipe is inserted into the well.
  • This method of transferring pipe between a pipe storage rack and a derrick has certain limitations. For example, when a section of pipe is lifted from the v-door into the derrick of a rig, the pipe will typically ride or slide up the v-door until the bottom of said pipe reaches the top of said v-door. Once the bottom of said section of pipe reaches the top of the v-door, the lower end of the pipe will often swing across the rig floor in a dangerous and/or uncontrolled manner. This danger increases when the rig is a floating vessel, such as a drill ship or semi-submersible drilling rig, which is susceptible to unpredictable rocking and swaying with wave action.
  • One common practice is to place a rope or other line across the opening in a derrick where the v-door meets the rig floor. This rope is used as a barrier to hold tension against a section of pipe as it is lifted from said v-door; once the bottom of a section of pipe clears the top of the v-door, the rope provides resistence to prevent the pipe from swinging across the rig floor in a dangerous or uncontrolled manner. In most cases, at least one worker will hold on to one end of said rope. Once the bottom of a section of pipe clears the top of the v-door, the worker can gradually let out slack in the rope in order to guide the pipe section in the direction of the well bore in a controlled manner. This practice is labor intensive, in that at least one worker is required to maintain tension in the rope and guide movement of said pipe section. This practice is also dangerous, because one or more workers must frequently be stationed in awkward or precarious positions.
  • It can be seen that it would be desirable to be able to grip a section of pipe positioned on a drilling rig v-door, move same into vertical orientation over a well bore to permit insertion of the subject pipe in such well bore. Numerous devices have been proposed to assist in the movement of tubular members between a pipe storage rack and an elevated rig floor. However, such devices generally do not address problems associated with moving pipe from a rig v-door to the well bore within a derrick. Further, existing pipe handling devices are generally complex in construction, designed for use with a particular type or style of drilling rig, and not easily transported from one drilling rig to another. To this end, a need exists for an improved pipe transfer device which is simple in construction, easy to transport and operate, and which is adapted to be used with a variety of different types of drilling rigs.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE PRESENT INVENTION
  • An object of the present invention is to provide a pipe transfer apparatus for transferring pipe between: (1) a drilling rig v-door; and (2) a vertical position over a well bore. A further object of the present invention is to allow movement of pipe sections between a v-door and a drilling rig derrick, such that said pipe sections can be advanced into a well bore for ultimate use in the drilling process, or as otherwise desired. It is to be appreciated that use of the term “pipe” herein encompasses any elongate element or tubular good which can be inserted into, or otherwise used within, a well bore.
  • The present invention can be easily transported and rapidly installed on a standard drilling rig without substantial alteration of the rig. Moreover, the present invention occupies a minimum amount of space, and does not interfere with other operations performed on a rig.
  • The apparatus of the present invention comprises a substantially horizontal track having two ends, said track being situated on, or in general proximity to, the rig floor of a drilling rig. One terminus of said track is located at or near the opening of the well bore, while the other terminus of said track extends near the upper edge of the v-door where said v-door meets the rig floor. A traveling base member, slidably disposed on said track, can move along the length of said track. In the preferred embodiment, said traveling base member is a platform having a substantially planar upper surface. A means is provided for advancing said base member along the length of said track. In the preferred embodiment, said means for advancing said base member along the length of said track is a ball reverser. Although said ball reverser can be powered using any number of different power sources, in the preferred embodiment hydraulic power is used for this purpose. However, it is to be understood that said ball reverser can be pneumatically or electrically powered, for example.
  • An elongate mast is provided. One end of said mast is pivotally affixed to said traveling base member. Said mast can pivot about a horizontal axis which runs generally perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of said substantially horizontal track. Said mast can also be rotated three hundred sixty (360°) degrees about a vertical axis passing through said base member. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, said mast is rotated by a slew drive. Although said slew drive can be powered using any number of different power sources, in the preferred embodiment hydraulic power is used for this purpose. However, it is to be understood that said slew drive can be pneumatically or electrically powered.
  • A pipe gripper is affixed to the distal end of said mast. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, said pipe gripper includes opposing arcuate jaws, which can be selectively opened and closed, as desired, around the outer circumference of a section of pipe or other tubular member. Said pipe gripper can be rotated three hundred sixty (360°) degrees by rotating said mast about a vertical axis passing through said traveling base member using said slew drive. Further, said pipe gripper can also be tilted, up or down, relative to said mast. In the preferred embodiment, said pipe gripper can be tilted relative to said mast using a cylinder assembly. Although said cylinder assembly can be powered using any number of different power sources, in the preferred embodiment said cylinders are powered using hydraulic power.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 depicts a fragmentary side view of a drilling rig.
  • FIG. 2 depicts a side view of the pipe transfer apparatus of the present invention with the mast in a reclined position.
  • FIG. 3 depicts a side view of the pipe transfer apparatus of the present invention with the mast in an upright vertical position.
  • FIG. 4 depicts the pipe gripper of the present invention in an open position.
  • FIG. 5 depicts the pipe gripper of the present invention in a closed position.
  • FIG. 6 depicts an overhead plan view of the pipe transfer apparatus of the present invention.
  • FIG. 7 depicts a partially exploded side view of the ball reverser of the present invention.
  • FIG. 8 depicts an end view of the pipe transfer apparatus of the present invention.
  • FIG. 9 depicts a side view of the pipe transfer apparatus of the present invention with the pipe gripper in a tilted position.
  • FIG. 10 depicts a side view of the pipe transfer apparatus of the present invention with the pipe gripper in a tilted position and the mast leaning at an angle from vertical.
  • FIG. 11 depicts a side view of the pipe transfer apparatus of the present invention with a section of pipe received within the pipe gripper.
  • FIG. 12 depicts an overhead sequential view of the pipe transfer apparatus of the present invention transferring a section of pipe.
  • FIG. 13 depicts an overhead sequential view of the pipe transfer apparatus of the present invention being repositioned to receive a section of pipe.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION
  • FIG. 1 depicts a fragmentary side view of a drilling rig 100. Drilling rig 100 comprises derrick 101 which extends vertically over substantially horizontal rig floor 102. Pipe section 103 is partially installed in well bore 104, and suspended in place within such well bore using lower slips 105, so that upper end 103 a of pipe section 103 partially protrudes from well bore 104 and extends above rig floor 102. Although not specifically depicted in FIG. 1, it is to be understood that well bore 104 can extend a desired length into the surface of the earth. Furthermore, although only pipe section 103 is shown as being installed in well bore 104, it is to be understood that one or more additional sections of pipe can be connected below section 103, thereby forming an elongate pipe string which can extend a significant distance into the earth via well bore 104. Pipe section 106 is suspended from elevators 107 within derrick 101 above well bore 104 prior to being threadably connected to pipe section 103.
  • V-door 108 extends from pipe rack 109 to rig floor 102 which is elevated above said pipe rack 109. Said v-door 108 essentially forms an inclined ramp between pipe rack 109 and rig floor 102. Pipe section 110 is positioned on said v-door in advance of being lifted into derrick 101. Because FIG. 1 is for illustration purposes, it is to be understood that multiple sections of pipe could be loaded on to v-door 108 at any given time, and individual sections of pipe could thereafter be lifted from said v-door 108 and into derrick 101 as desired. Furthermore, although pipe sections 103, 106 and 110 are depicted as being relatively small diameter pipe (such as drill pipe or production tubing), it is to be understood that such pipe could also be large diameter pipe, such as well casing and the like.
  • One end of a cable or other line is typically attached to upper end 110 a of pipe section 110, while the other end of said cable or other line can be attached to movable elevators 107 or, alternatively, a hoist situated within derrick 101. As pipe section 110 is lifted using said cable or line, upper end 110 a of pipe section 110 is pulled upward into derrick 101, while the remainder of said pipe section 110 slides up v-door 108 toward rig floor 102. As pipe section 110 continues to be lifted, eventually bottom 110 b of pipe section 110 will reach the top of v-door 108 and the upper surface of rig floor 102.
  • A common practice utilized in the oil and gas industry is to secure a rope or other line horizontally across the opening in derrick 101 a short distance above the area where v-door 108 meets rig floor 102 and generally perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of pipe section 110. As pipe section 110 is lifted into derrick 101, said pipe section will essentially ride up v-door 108 and slide against said horizontally-stretched rope. As pipe section 110 continues to ride up v-door 108, eventually bottom 110 b of pipe section 110 will clear the upper surface of v-door 108 and rig floor 102. The aforementioned rope, which is typically held in tension across the opening in derrick 101 by a roughneck or other worker, provides resistance against pipe section 110 and acts to prevent end 110 b of pipe section 110 from swinging freely across rig floor 102. Thereafter, a worker holding on to said rope will typically gradually reduce the tension in said rope, so that bottom 110 b of pipe section 110 can be guided across rig floor 102 in a controlled manner. Thereafter, hanging pipe section 110 can be placed into alignment with pipe section 103 which partially protrudes from well bore 104.
  • The present invention eliminates the need for such a rope and the dangers that accompany the aforementioned prior art practice described herein. The pipe transfer apparatus of the present invention can grip and secure a section of pipe which is being lifted from a v-door into a derrick in order to prevent the base of said section of pipe from swinging across a rig floor in a dangerous or uncontrolled manner. Further, the present invention eliminates the manpower requirements and safety concerns associated with existing methods of using a rope or other line to control the movement of pipe across a rig floor as described above.
  • The apparatus of the present invention comprises a substantially linear horizontal track having two (2) ends, wherein said track is situated on, or in general proximity to, the rig floor of a drilling rig. One terminus of said track is located at or near a well bore such as well bore 104 in FIG. 1, while the other terminus of said track extends to the upper edge of a v-door such as v-door 108 in FIG. 1. A traveling base member is slidably disposed on said track. In the preferred embodiment, said traveling base member is a platform having a substantially planar upper surface, with a means for advancing said base member substantially along the length of said track.
  • FIG. 2 depicts a side view of the pipe transfer apparatus 200 of the present invention. Said pipe transfer apparatus comprises substantially horizontal track member 201. Although said track member 201 can take any number of sizes and/or shapes, in the preferred embodiment, said track member has lower base 201 a and upper rails 201 b. Traveling base member 202 is slidably mounted to upper rails 201 b of track member 201. Slew drive base 203 is affixed to the upper surface of traveling base member 202, while mounting bracket 204 is in turn mounted to the upper surface of said slew drive base 203. In the preferred embodiment, said mounting bracket 204 is semi-circular in shape, with a curved upper surface. Said mounting bracket 204 also forms a central channel. Although said central channel is not visible in FIG. 2, said channel is oriented substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis of substantially horizontal track member 201 in FIG. 2.
  • Elongate mast 205 is pivotally mounted at one end within the central channel of mounting bracket 204 using pivot pin 206, thereby allowing elongate mast 205 to pivot within the central channel of mounting bracket 204 about a horizontal axis passing through pivot pin 206. Mounting bracket 204 and, thus, elongate mast 205, can also be rotated about a vertical axis passing through slew drive base 203; a slew drive (not shown in FIG. 2) connected to said slew drive base 203 powers such rotation about a vertical axis. Elongate mast 205 can be locked in place in a reclined position within the central channel of mounting bracket 204 using bolt 217 which can be installed through aligned bores in mounting bracket 204 and elongate mast 205. Alternatively, said elongate mast 205 can be locked into an upright, vertical position using bolt 218, or a substantially upright tilted position using bolt 219; in either instance, said bolts can be inserted through aligned bores in mounting bracket 204 and elongate mast 205. In the preferred embodiment, bolts 217, 218 and 219 can be locked in place in aligned horizontal bores extending through mounting bracket 204 and elongate mast 205.
  • Pipe gripper 300 is affixed to the distal end of said elongate mast 205. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, said pipe gripper 300 comprises opposing arcuate jaws, which can be selectively opened and closed around a section of pipe, as desired. Said opposing arcuate jaws can be closed, for example, around the outer circumference of a section of pipe or other tubular member. Said pipe gripper can also be tilted up and down relative to said mast.
  • In the preferred embodiment, pipe gripper mounting bracket 207 is located at or near the distal end of elongate mast 205. Pipe gripper assembly 300 is pivotally mounted to said gripper mounting bracket 207 using pivot pin 208, thereby permitting said pipe gripper assembly 300 to pivot about a horizontal axis passing through said pivot pin 208.
  • Pivoting of said pipe gripper assembly 300 about said horizontal axis passing through pivot pin 208 is powered by hydraulic cylinder 209. One end of hydraulic cylinder 209 is anchored to elongate mast 205 using anchor bracket 211 and anchor pin 212. Hydraulic cylinder 209 further includes piston rod 210, depicted in the retracted position in FIG. 3. The outer end of piston rod 210 is connected to mounting bracket 301 of pipe gripper assembly 300 using anchor pin 213. As piston rod 210 of hydraulic cylinder 209 strokes, pipe gripper assembly 300 pivots about pivot pin 208, and can tilt up or down about a horizontal axis passing through said pivot pin 208, as desired. Although not visible in FIG. 2, in the preferred embodiment, the aforementioned mechanism for tilting pipe gripper assembly 300 comprises side-by-side tandem hydraulic cylinders 209.
  • FIG. 3 depicts a side view of the pipe transfer apparatus of the present invention with elongate mast 205 in an upright, vertical position. In this position, said elongate mast 205 pivots about pivot pin 206 and is lifted upward within the central channel of mounting bracket 204. When said elongate mast is oriented vertically within said central channel of mounting bracket 204, it can be locked in place using bolt 218. Pipe gripper assembly 300 can be rotated three hundred sixty (360°) degrees about a vertical axis passing through elongate mast 205 via rotation of elongate mast 205 using a slew drive (not visible in FIG. 3) connected to slew drive base 203.
  • Pipe gripper mounting bracket 207 is situated near the distal (upper) end of elongate mast 205. Pipe gripper assembly 300 is pivotally mounted to said pipe gripper mounting bracket 207 via pivot pin 208. One end of hydraulic cylinder 209 is anchored to elongate mast 205 using anchor bracket 211 and anchor pin 212. The outer end of retracted piston rod 210 is connected to mounting bracket 301 of pipe gripper assembly 300 using anchor pin 213.
  • FIG. 4 depicts a perspective view of pipe gripper assembly 300 of the present invention in a substantially open position. Pipe gripper 300 is comprised of opposing arcuate jaws 302 a and 302 b. Said opposing arcuate jaws 302 a and 302 b are pivotally attached to back member 303 of pipe gripper assembly 300 using pivot pins 304 a and 304 b, and can swing about said pivot pins 304 a and 304 b to permit opening and closing of pipe gripper assembly 300. In the preferred embodiment, opposing arcuate jaws 302 a and 302 b operate in synchronized fashion, such that said opposing arcuate jaws 302 a and 302 b open and close together.
  • Hydraulic cylinder 305, which is connected to and supplied hydraulic fluid by hydraulic lines 311, powers the synchronized opening and closing of opposing arcuate jaws 302 a and 302 b. Hydraulic cylinder 305 has piston rod 306, which can be actuated to an extended or retracted position. One end of hydraulic cylinder 305 is anchored to extension fingers 309 using anchor rod 310. Similarly, piston rod 306 is anchored to extension fingers 307 using anchor rod 308. By actuating hydraulic cylinder 305, and thereby causing piston rod 306 to stroke in and out, opposing arcuate jaws 302 a and 302 b can be selectively opened and closed by pivoting about pivot pins 304 a and 304 b, respectively.
  • FIG. 5 depicts a perspective view of pipe gripper assembly 300 in a substantially closed position. Opposing arcuate jaws 302 a and 302 b are depicted as gripping a section of cylindrical pipe, such as a joint of large diameter casing 120, around the outer peripheral surface of said pipe. For illustration purposes, said cylindrical pipe can be identical to pipe section 110 in FIG. 1, or a larger diameter pipe section such as pipe joint 120 shown in outline in FIG. 5. As piston rod 306 extends relative to hydraulic cylinder 305, opposing arcuate jaws 302 a and 302 b pivot about pivot pins 304 a and 304 b, respectively, thereby closing together in synchronized manner and gripping around the outer peripheral surface of casing section 120, thus gripping and securing said pipe section 120 within opposing arcuate jaws 302 a and 302 b. Said opposing arcuate jaws 302 a and 302 b can be opened by pivoting of each of said arcuate jaws about their respective pivot pins, 304 a and 304 b.
  • FIG. 6 depicts an overhead plan view of the pipe transfer apparatus of the present invention. Substantially horizontal track member 201 has tandem upper rails 201 b; in the preferred embodiment of the present invention, said upper rails 201 b are oriented parallel to one another, thereby defining central channel 240 between said upper rails 201 b. Traveling base member 202 is slidably mounted to said tandem upper rails 201 b of track member 201, and can move substantially along the length of said track member 201. Bearings 214 reduce friction between said traveling base member 202 and upper rails 201 b of track member 201. Linear movement of said traveling base member 202 along track member 201 is powered by ball reverser 215. Said ball reverser is rotatably received at one end of track member 201 in flange bearing 215 a and at the other end of track member 201 in flange bearing 215 b. In the preferred embodiment, said ball reverser is hydraulically powered; however, it should be noted that other power sources could be utilized for this purpose.
  • Elongate mast 205 is shown in FIG. 6 in the upright position. When in such a position, elongate mast 205 can be rotated about its central longitudinal axis by rotation of slew drive base 203. Such rotation of slew drive 203 and, thus, elongate mast 205, is powered by slew drive 216. In this manner, pipe gripper assembly 300, which is attached to the upper end of elongate mast 205, can be rotated three hundred sixty (360°) degrees about a vertical axis passing through said elongate mast 205. Although said elongate mast 205 is shown in the upright vertical position in FIG. 6, said mast can be tilted from vertical by pivoting said mast 205 about pivot pin 206 within the central channel formed by mounting bracket 204. Said elongate mast 205 can also be locked in a vertical position using bolt 218 (not visible in FIG. 6).
  • FIG. 7 depicts ball reverser 215 of the present invention. Ball reverser 215 comprises central shaft 230 having cross-oriented grooves 231 formed along the surface of central shaft 230. Central shaft 230 is rotatably received within flange bearing 215 a at one end, and flange bearing 215 b at the other end. Motor 232 supplies torque to central shaft 230 via drive mechanism 233, causing said central shaft 230 to rotate within flange bearings 215 a and 215 b. Traveling collar 234 is movably mounted on central shaft 230. As central shaft 230 rotates about its longitudinal axis, traveling collar 234 is directed by grooves 231 and moves substantially along the length of said central shaft 230. Moreover, because traveling base member 202 is connected to traveling collar 234, operation of ball reverser 215 causes said traveling base member 202 to move along the length of substantially horizontal track member 201.
  • FIG. 8 depicts an end view of the pipe transfer apparatus of the present invention. Substantially horizontal track member 201 has tandem upper rails 201 b which are aligned parallel to one another, thereby defining central channel 240 between said tandem upper rails 201 b. Traveling base member 202 is slidably mounted to said tandem upper rails 201 b of track member 201, and can move substantially along the length of said track member 201. Bearings 214 reduce friction between said traveling base member 202 and upper rails 201 b of track member 201. In the preferred embodiment, roller bearings 220 are also provided to reduce the friction between said traveling base member 202 and upper rails 201 b of track member 201. Linear movement of said traveling base member 202 along track member 201 is powered by ball reverser 215 (not shown in FIG. 8) which extends substantially along the length of track member 201. Said ball reverser is rotatably received at one end of track member 201 in flange bearing 215 a.
  • Elongate mast 205 is shown in the upright position. Said elongate mast 205, which is received within the central channel formed by mounting bracket 204, can be rotated about its central longitudinal axis by rotation of slew drive base 203, which is powered by slew drive 216. In this manner, pipe gripper assembly 300, which is attached to the upper end of elongate mast 205, can be rotated about a vertical axis passing through said elongate mast 205. Although said elongate mast 205 is shown in the upright vertical position, said mast can be tilted from vertical by pivoting about pivot pin 206. Further, said elongate mast 205 can be locked in an upright vertical position using bolt 218.
  • Still referring to FIG. 8, pipe gripper assembly 300 can be titled about a horizontal axis using tandem hydraulic cylinders 209. One end of said tandem hydraulic cylinders 209 is anchored to elongate mast 205 using anchor brackets 211. Hydraulic cylinders 209 further include piston rods 210 (which are depicted in the retracted position in FIG. 8). The outer end of said piston rods 210 is pinned to mounting brackets 301 of pipe gripper assembly 300. As said piston rods 210 extend, pipe gripper assembly 300 can be tilted about a horizontal axis passing through pivot pin 208.
  • FIG. 9 depicts a side view of the pipe transfer apparatus of the present invention with elongate mast 205 in an upright position and pipe gripper assembly 300 in a tilted position. Traveling base member is shown at approximately the mid-point of substantially horizontal track member 201. Elongate mast 205 is oriented in a substantially vertical position within the central channel of mounting bracket 204; that is, perpendicular to track member 201. If desired, elongate mast 205 can be secured in a substantially vertical position using bolt 218. Piston rod 210 is extended from hydraulic cylinder 209, thereby causing pipe gripper 300 to tilt about a horizontal axis passing through pivot pin 208. It is to be observed that the greater the stroke of piston 210, the more that pipe gripper 300 will tilt and, consequently, the greater angle “x” in FIG. 9 will be.
  • FIG. 10 depicts a side view of the pipe transfer apparatus of the present invention. Elongate mast 205 is depicted in a position which is tilted from vertical. As said elongate mast 205 pivots about pivot pin 206 within the central channel of mounting bracket 204, said mast can tilt from vertical and, if desired, be locked in this position using bolt 219. It is to be observed that the more that elongate mast 205 is tilted from vertical, the greater angle “y” in FIG. 10 will be.
  • FIG. 11 depicts the pipe transfer apparatus of the present invention in substantially the same position as depicted in FIG. 10. Elongate mast 205 is tilted from vertical, and locked in place within the central channel of mounting bracket 204 using bolt 219. Piston rod 210 is extended from hydraulic cylinder 209, and pipe gripper apparatus 300 is itself tilted upward relative to said elongate mast 205. Opposing arcuate jaws 302 a and 302 b of pipe gripper assembly 300 are in a substantially closed position around the outer circumference of cylindrical pipe section 110.
  • It is noted that opposing arcuate jaws 302 a and 302 b are not completely closed about the outer surface of pipe section 110. While said pipe section may lean to one side or the other, there is generally circumferential clearance around much of the outer surface of said pipe section within said opposing arcuate jaws 302 a and 302 b. In this way, pipe gripper assembly 300 can grab and/or facilitate handling of said pipe section. However, because of such clearance within jaws 302 a and 302 b, said pipe section can ideally be raised and lowered, as well as rotated, even when said opposing arcuate jaws 302 a and 302 b are closed around said pipe section 110. As described above, elongate mast 205 and pipe gripper assembly 300 can be tilted, as desired, to facilitate handling of pipe section 110, particularly when said pipe section is located on an inclined v-door.
  • FIG. 12 depicts an overhead sequential view of the pipe transfer apparatus of the present invention transferring a section of pipe. In position “a”, opposing arcuate jaws 302 a and 302 b of pipe gripper 300 are shown in the substantially open position, and said pipe section 110 is received within said jaws. In position “b”, said opposing arcuate jaws 302 a and 302 b are closed around the outer surface of pipe section 110. Elongate mast 205, depicted in an upright, vertical position, is rotated 90° using slew drive 216. In positions “c” and “d”, traveling base 202 travels along the length of substantially horizontal track member 201 (not shown in FIG. 12). Said traveling base 202 continues moving along to substantially horizontal track member 201 until it reaches the desired position, which is typically the terminus of said substantially horizontal track member 201. In this position, position “e” on FIG. 12, elongate mast is rotated an additional 90° using slew drive 216. In position “e”, the orientation of pipe gripper 300 is 180° from its orientation in position “a”. Opposing arcuate jaws 302 a and 302 b of pipe gripper assembly 300 are then opened, allowing pipe section 110 to be easily removed from said pipe gripper assembly.
  • FIG. 13 depicts an overhead sequential view of the pipe transfer apparatus of the present invention being reset to receive another pipe section, such as pipe section 110. In position “e”, elongate mast 205 is in an upright vertical position and opposing arcuate jaws 302 a and 302 b of pipe gripper assembly 300 are open. Pipe section 110 has been removed from pipe gripper assembly 300. In position “f”, said elongate mast 205 rotates 900 and traveling base 202 slides along the length of substantially horizontal track member 201 (not shown in FIG. 13). In position “f”, said traveling base member is shown at approximately the mid-point of said horizontal track member. In position “g”, said traveling base 202 has continued along the length of said horizontal track member, and elongate mast 205 has rotated an additional 90°, thereby presenting pipe gripper assembly 300 in the open position to receive another section of pipe for transfer.
  • In operation, the pipe transfer apparatus of the present invention can be installed on a drilling rig or other similar location. Specifically, the substantially linear horizontal track is situated on, or in general proximity to, the rig floor of a drilling rig. One end of said track is located at or near a well bore, while the other end of said track is located at or near the upper end of a v-door.
  • The pipe gripper assembly of the present invention is positioned at or near the upper end of said v-door, typically in a fully open position (see position “g” in FIG. 13). As a section of pipe is lifted off of said v-door, and into the derrick of said drilling rig, said pipe section is directed into said open pipe gripper assembly (see position “a” in FIG. 12). After said pipe section has cleared the top of said v-door, said pipe gripper assembly is closed around said section of pipe. Thereafter, pipe gripper assembly swivels 900 (see position “b” in FIG. 12), and travels along the length of the substantially linear horizontal track (see positions “c” and “d” in FIG. 12).
  • After the pipe gripper assembly reaches the end of said track and is at or near the well bore, the pipe gripper assembly is rotated 90° and opened (see position “e” in FIG. 12). Thereafter, the pipe section can be removed from the pipe gripper assembly and connected to a string of pipe suspended within the well bore. Said pipe gripper assembly can be rotated and returned to its original position (see positions “f” and “g” in FIG. 13). The process can be repeated until the desired amount of pipe has been installed in said well bore.
  • Although the apparatus of the present invention has been depicted in a particular form constituting a preferred embodiment, it will be understood that various changes and modifications in the illustrated and described structure can be effected without departure from the basic principles which underlie the invention. Changes and innovations of this type are deemed to be circumscribed by the spirit and scope of the invention except as such spirit and scope may be necessarily limited by the appended claims, or reasonable equivalents thereof.

Claims (5)

1. An apparatus for handling pipe on a drilling rig comprising:
a. a substantially linear track having a first end and a second end; and
b. means for gripping pipe which can be selectively positioned between the first and second ends of said track.
2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said track is situated on the rig floor of a drilling rig.
3. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein the first end of said track is located near a wellbore, and the second end of said track is positioned near the upper end of a v-door.
4. An apparatus for handling pipe on a drilling rig comprising:
a. a substantially linear track having a first end and a second end;
b. a platform slidably received on said track, wherein said platform can travel between the first and second ends of said track; and
c. means for gripping pipe.
5. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein said means for gripping pipe further comprises:
a. a back member;
b. a first arcuate jaw pivotally attached to said back member; and
c. a second arcuate jaw pivotally attached to said back member, wherein
said first and second arcuate jaw members oppose each other.
US10/739,559 2003-12-18 2003-12-18 Pipe transfer apparatus Abandoned US20050135902A1 (en)

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Cited By (6)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
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US20090126941A1 (en) * 2007-11-16 2009-05-21 Frank's International, Inc. Tubular control apparatus
WO2011133221A2 (en) 2010-04-20 2011-10-27 Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, Llc Robotic platform for traveling on vertical piping network
US20120003072A1 (en) * 2009-03-16 2012-01-05 Laurini Officine Meccaniche S.R.L. Device for gripping and handling elongated cylindrical bodies, such as pipes or the like
US8839881B1 (en) * 2010-11-30 2014-09-23 Richard Baumler Tubular handling device
CN104411914A (en) * 2012-06-28 2015-03-11 阿特拉斯科普柯克雷柳斯有限公司 Device and method for handling drill string components in rock drilling and rock drill rig
US20160076319A1 (en) * 2013-05-03 2016-03-17 Canrig Drilling Technology Ltd. System for Manipulating Tubulars for Subterranean Operations

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Cited By (12)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20090126941A1 (en) * 2007-11-16 2009-05-21 Frank's International, Inc. Tubular control apparatus
WO2009065124A1 (en) * 2007-11-16 2009-05-22 Frank's International, Inc. Tubular control apparatus
US8028748B2 (en) 2007-11-16 2011-10-04 Frank's International, Inc. Tubular control apparatus
US20120003072A1 (en) * 2009-03-16 2012-01-05 Laurini Officine Meccaniche S.R.L. Device for gripping and handling elongated cylindrical bodies, such as pipes or the like
WO2011133221A2 (en) 2010-04-20 2011-10-27 Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, Llc Robotic platform for traveling on vertical piping network
US8944192B2 (en) 2010-04-20 2015-02-03 Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, Llc Robotic platform for traveling on vertical piping network
US8839881B1 (en) * 2010-11-30 2014-09-23 Richard Baumler Tubular handling device
CN104411914A (en) * 2012-06-28 2015-03-11 阿特拉斯科普柯克雷柳斯有限公司 Device and method for handling drill string components in rock drilling and rock drill rig
EP2867438A4 (en) * 2012-06-28 2016-01-27 Atlas Copco Rocktech Ab Device and method for handling drill string components in rock drilling and rock drill rig
AU2013281269B2 (en) * 2012-06-28 2017-02-16 Epiroc Aktiebolag Device and method for handling drill string components in rock drilling and rock drill rig
US20160076319A1 (en) * 2013-05-03 2016-03-17 Canrig Drilling Technology Ltd. System for Manipulating Tubulars for Subterranean Operations
US9863194B2 (en) * 2013-05-03 2018-01-09 Canrig Drilling Technology Ltd. System for manipulating tubulars for subterranean operations

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