Automated Doping of Drill Pipe

Photo of James Thwing, Cliff Humphreys, Robert Yancy, Josh Keup Students: James Thwing, Cliff Humphreys, Robert Yancy, Josh Keup

Sponsor: UT Austin Petroleum Engineering

Date: Spring 2013

An innovative solution must be developed to effectively automate the process of doping pipe while decreasing the number of roughnecks by at least one and decrease washouts by at least 10%. Constraints include compatibility with multiple types of dope and multiple pipe diameters. The solution must integrate into the American Augers VR-500 super single drilling rig. Costs must be consistent with industry practice.

Over the past 30 years, in an effort to increase safety and efficiency on drilling rigs, leading companies in the oil and gas industry have explored the idea of fully automating the drilling process through technological advancements made in robotics and automation. Several breakthroughs have been made to improve the safety of roughnecks; however, the seemingly trivial process of doping the threaded connections made during drilling operations is still performed manually. The goal of this project is to develop a concept for automating the doping process for the VR-500 super single rig.

The team developed a concept that applies dope to the pin-end of the threads via rotating conical brushes. Dope is supplied to the brushes by a pneumatically actuated cylinder. The system can dope pipes ranging from 2-3/8" to 5-1/2" and is mounted to the horizontal racking system on the VR-500 drilling rig.

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