GeoDrilling article April | Drilling with the times
| For Conrad Stanen, innovation has become business as usual. In a market saturated with technology, innovation is often key. Short communication lines between the different areas of expertise and a horizontal team can enable continuous progress.
Although the world’s largest companies have big budgets for research and development, smaller companies have the tendency to move faster in some areas. Dutch manufacturer of drilling rigs Conrad Stanen, which started out as Conrad-Stork over 100 years ago, is known for its customised and flexible drilling solutions, which are designed, developed and programmed under one roof. All of the company’s drilling rigs are also tested by an independent qualified organisation before delivery takes place.
In recent years, encouraged by technological advancement in the drilling sector, Conrad Stanen has focused more and more on innovation.
Among the company’s latest developments is the IQAN drilling rig control system. This modern electric control system offers functionality to control, monitor and automate all functions of the drilling rig using a CANbus system. On the control screen the diesel engine data and system pressures can be easily monitored, just as some drilling rig functions can be monitored and adjusted on the control screen. A modem and internet connection enable the monitoring, sharing and analysis of rig data directly from the office.
Conrad also offers a smart bailing system with electronic display that it says makes it possible to electronically and accurately determine the speed and energy in the different earth layers. The frequency of the pulse movement can be adjusted by a remote control with a potentiometer.
The Drilling Flow Control (DFCP), in turn, is a high-tech control panel, which provides drill specialists with the possibility to regulate the flow of drill cuttings and create an accurate borehole structure. The DFCP is operational, but will be officially presented to the market during Bauma 2016 in Munich, Germany.
Conrad Stanen has also developed the CRT 273 hydraulically operated rotary table unit, which is mounted at the bottom of the mast with a hinge construction for removing or attaching the unit, and can be easily disconnected or connected using quick couplings. The rotary table is secured by means of a hydraulic cylinder driven locking pin. Rotating torque is transferred to the casing by a hydraulically operated casing clamp.
Conrad Stanen’s most recent challenge was to improve the efficiency of filtering and processing of cuttings in process water. Up until now the preparation time of the reclaiming process has often been long and expensive due to the set-up time of larger reclaimer systems and the transport of additional process water. The result, the Conrad Compact Reclaimer (CCR 4000) is a relatively small process water reclaimer of merely 1.8m3, easily attached to the drilling rig with quick couplings. New technology allowed Conrad to decrease the size of the reclaimer substantially. When the process water is pumped through the CCR 4000, the unrefined cuttings are initially separated from the water in the compact filter deck. The water is pumped up again and is then filtered by an integrated hydrocyclone. It should be noted that the drilling additives are not filtered and remain in the process water. Because of these combined techniques, the process water in the CCR is instantly and constantly reusable for drilling and makes large amounts of process water unnecessary.
In addition, this type of filtering creates dry cuttings, which are much easier to process. It enables drilling companies to work more time- and cost-efficiently on drilling areas with multiple boreholes. In the near future it will be unnecessary to place large reclaimers at boreholes, construct pipelines or contract external specialists. The drilling facility is completely self-reliant. Due to its compact measurements and flexibility the CCR is suitable for the wide range of vertical drilling applications.
The next step
In coming years, Conrad will focus on several new technologies, including hybrid and geothermal ground-source heat pump (GSHP) systems.
In conventional drive systems the diesel engine needs to run at all times to operate any function. When using the hybrid electric drive, the diesel engine can be shut down, which results in a reduction of fuel consumption and emissions. This hybrid system will consist of a battery pack charged with the diesel engine during optimal load running, thus at optimal fuel consumption; just like the system used by hybrid cars. The stored energy can be utilised when the power demand is low and the engine would be running under its optimal rpm. The engine will shut down and the hydraulic system will be driven with an electric motor using the electrical power from the battery pack.
The hybrid system will be controlled by a management system which is linked to the central control system of the rig. This system controls the charging of the battery pack with energy generated by the conventional system in the most efficient way. It also controls the switching between the conventional drive system and the hybrid electrical drive. It will optimise the way the power is used to drive the hydraulic system based on several parameters that have to be determined. It can also stop or start the diesel engine to ensure user-friendliness. Optionally, the hybrid system can be charged using other sources of electricity, such as the 230V power grid, solar panels or other external power sources.
In addition, Conrad is developing a multi-purpose service vehicle (MSVP) with a load-bearing capacity of 6t on a Cat chassis and equipped with an auto-loading crane. The hydraulic system can be used to carry special equipment such as grout mixers, sand pumps and injection reels. This modern service vehicle can be integrated with the IQAN technology, which will make it possible to manage the amounts and proportions used in the grout mixer. Moreover, the fully automatic grout mixer is one of the latest improvements in Conrad’s product line.
The European GEOTeCH project, in turn, aims to make geothermal energy accessible for everybody. Conrad has signed up to be part of a consortium of companies and authorities from several EU-countries because the company’s owner Bram Muurlink and partners believe the transfer to geothermal energy should be made easier. The complex legislation, techniques and high cost of GSHP design and implementation make it unattractive for many consumers. Within the consortium, Conrad is developing a drilling installation with which a geothermal collector can be placed easily, quickly and at a low cost. Through the project Conrad can share knowledge and work with new international contacts.