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United States Patent Application 20170130540
Kind Code A1
Metcalf; Max A. ;   et al. May 11, 2017

Makeup And Breakout System For Horizontal Directional Drilling

Abstract

A horizontal directional drill has a wrench assembly and a lubricant application assembly. The wrench assembly operates to make-up and break out pipe segments from a drill string while the lubricant application assembly applies lubricant to the pipe joints. The wrench assembly has a rotatable wrench and a stationary wrench for applying torque to pipe joints. Each of these wrenches is substantially vertically oriented, with a movable upper jaw and a stationary lower jaw. Lubricant pressure is maintained in the application assembly with a pump and a follower weight disposed on the surface of a storage container.


Inventors: Metcalf; Max A.; (Stillwater, OK) ; Porter; Rick G.; (Perry, OK)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

The Charles Machine Works, Inc.

Perry

OK

US
Family ID: 1000002426484
Appl. No.: 15/224250
Filed: July 29, 2016


Related U.S. Patent Documents

Application NumberFiling DatePatent Number
62198423Jul 29, 2015

Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: E21B 7/046 20130101; E21B 19/161 20130101
International Class: E21B 19/16 20060101 E21B019/16; E21B 7/04 20060101 E21B007/04

Claims



1. A horizontal directional drill comprising: a wrench assembly comprising: a first wrench; a rotating frame rotatable relative to the first wrench; a second wrench disposed within the rotating frame; wherein the second wrench and the first wrench each comprise: a cylinder having an extendable rod and a barrel end; a first jaw attached to the extendable rod; a frame in a fixed relationship with the barrel end of the cylinder; and a second jaw not movable relative to the frame and supported by the frame in spaced relationship with the first jaw.

2. The horizontal directional drill of claim 1 further comprising: a lubricant applicator comprising a nozzle, wherein the nozzle is disposed between the first wrench and the second wrench.

3. The horizontal directional drill of claim 2 wherein the lubricant applicator comprises a lubricant storage container, the lubricant storage container comprising a follower weight disposed on the container to pressurize lubricant within the lubricant storage.

4. The horizontal directional drill of claim 1 further comprising a rotation cylinder to rotate the rotating frame.

5. The horizontal directional drill of claim 1 wherein the drill defines a rotating spindle.

6. The horizontal directional drill of claim 5 wherein the spindle defines a first axis and the wrench assembly defines an aperture formed therethrough.

7. The horizontal directional drill of claim 6 wherein the first jaw of the first wrench, second jaw of the first wrench and cylinder of the first wrench are disposed on a reference line orthogonal to the first axis and passing through a footprint of the horizontal directional drill.

8. The horizontal directional drill of claim 7 wherein the reference line is substantially vertical.

9. The horizontal directional drill of claim 6 wherein the rotating frame is rotatable about the first axis.

10. The horizontal directional drill of claim 6 further comprising a pipe segment comprising a first and second end, wherein the first end is attached to the spindle and the second end is gripped by the first and second jaw of the second wrench.

11. The horizontal directional drill of claim 10 wherein the pipe segment is substantially centered on the first axis.

12. The horizontal directional drill of claim 1 wherein each of the first wrench and the second wrench comprise one and only one cylinder.

13. A wrench assembly comprising: a first wrench; a rotating frame rotatable relative to the first wrench; a second wrench disposed within the rotating frame; wherein the first wrench and the second wrench each comprise: one and only one cylinder; and opposed and substantially vertically oriented jaws movable between an open position and a closed position by the one and only one cylinder.

14. The wrench assembly of claim 13 wherein the first wrench and the second wrench each comprise: the one and only one cylinder having an extendable rod and a barrel end; a first jaw attached to the extendable rod; a second jaw opposed to and spaced a distance apart from the first jaw, wherein the distance is smaller when the rod of the one and only one cylinder extends and greater when the rod of the one and only one cylinder retracts.

15. The wrench of claim 13 further comprising a rotation cylinder to rotate the rotating frame relative to the first wrench.

16. A horizontal directional drill comprising: a rotating spindle configured to provide thrust and rotation to a pipe section, the spindle defining a first axis; the wrench assembly of claim 13; wherein the stationary wrench and rotating wrench are disposed with their first jaw and second jaw on opposing sides of the first axis.

17. The horizontal directional drill of claim 16 wherein the rotating frame rotates about the first axis.

18. A method using the horizontal directional drill of claim 16 comprising: rotating an advancing a pipe section using the rotating spindle; gripping a pipe string with the first wrench in a closed position; extending the one and only one cylinder of the second wrench to grip the pipe section; rotating the second wrench with the rotating frame; moving the first wrench and the second wrench to an open position by retracting the one and only one cylinder of the first wrench and the one and only one cylinder of the second wrench; and rotating and advancing the pipe section and drill string with the spindle.
Description



CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 62/198,423 filed on Jul. 29, 2015, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD

[0002] This invention relates generally to wrenches for horizontal directional drilling applications.

SUMMARY

[0003] A horizontal directional drill comprising a wrench assembly. The wrench assembly comprises a stationary wrench, a rotating frame rotatable relative to the stationary wrench and a rotating wrench. The rotating wrench is disposed within the rotating frame. The rotating wrench and the stationary wrench each comprise a cylinder, a first jaw, a frame, and a second jaw. The cylinder has an extendable rod and a barrel end. The first jaw is attached to the extendable rod. The frame is in a fixed relationship with the barrel end of the cylinder. The second jaw is attached to the frame and opposed to the first jaw in the direction of extension of the extendable rod.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0004] FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic representation of a horizontal directional drill.

[0005] FIG. 2 is a front view of a wrench assembly and support frame of a horizontal directional drill.

[0006] FIG. 3 is a front right view of the wrench assembly of FIG. 2 with the pipe segment removed for clarity.

[0007] FIG. 4 is a back left view of the wrench assembly of FIG. 2.

[0008] FIG. 5 is a similar view as FIG. 3 with the pipe segment and drill string included.

[0009] FIG. 6 is a back view of the wrench assembly of FIG. 2.

[0010] FIG. 7 is a right end view of the wrench assembly of FIG. 2.

[0011] FIG. 8 is a front cut-away view of the horizontal directional drill showing the wrench assembly and the lubricant application assembly thereof.

[0012] FIG. 9 is a front right isometric view of a lubricant application assembly with the wrench and horizontal directional drill removed.

[0013] FIG. 10 is a front left isometric view of the lubricant application assembly of FIG. 9.

[0014] FIG. 11 is an isometric view of an adaptor for use with the lubricant storage shown in FIG. 10.

[0015] FIG. 12 is a side view of the adaptor of FIG. 11 with internal boundaries shown in dash.

[0016] FIG. 13 is an isometric view of a wrench for use in the assembly of FIG. 3.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0017] Shown in the figures in general, and FIG. 1 in particular is a makeup and breakout system 10 for a horizontal directional drill 12. The horizontal directional drill 12 provides thrust and rotational force to a drill string 14 having a downhole boring toot 16 at its terminal end. The boring tool 16 creates a borehole 18 for installation of underground utilities. Generally, existing systems for makeup and breakout of drill strings are described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,550,547 issued to Payne, et. al., which is incorporated herein by reference for a general explanation of HDD operations, pipe handling, and the use of a make-up and breakout system.

[0018] With reference to FIG. 2, the makeup and breakout system 10 is shown in FIG. 1. The system 10 comprises a wrench assembly 20 for making up and breaking out pipe sections 22. The system 10 further comprises a support frame 24, a spindle 25, a pipe box 26, and a lubricant application system 28. The wrench assembly 20 comprises a second wrench 30 and first wrench 32. Pipe segments 22 are stored in the pipe box 26.

[0019] The spindle 25 is utilized to remove or add pipe segments 22 to a pipe string 14. The spindle 25 connects to the pipe segment 22 at its uphole end and rotates about an axis of rotation 17. The pipe segment 22 is threaded to the drill string 14 at the pipe segment's downhole end (FIG. 1). The wrench assembly 20 may provide torque to this connection. Preferably, the spindle 25 and pipe segment 22 are substantially along the axis of rotation 17. After the pipe segment 22 is torqued to the drill string 14, the spindle 25 may provide rotation and thrust to resume boring operations. The spindle 25 moves forward along the support frame 24 until the uphole end of the pipe segment 22 is within the wrench assembly 20. The pipe segment 22 and spindle 25 are then disconnected and the process repeated.

[0020] The second wrench 30 and first wrench 32 are located at an end 34 of the support frame 24. The second wrench 30 and first wrench 32 are supported by a wrench mount 36. In this embodiment, the second wrench 30 is "uphole" from the first wrench 32 and is rotationally movable while the first wrench is rotationally fixed. The wrench mount 36 is fixed to the ground or a machine frame such that the first wrench 32 is not rotatable relative to said ground or support frame.

[0021] With reference to FIG. 3, the wrench assembly 20 comprises the second wrench 30 and first wrench 32 each comprise a first, movable jaw 42, and a second, stationary jaw 40. As shown, the second wrench 30 is rotatable relative to the wrench mount 36 while first wrench 32 is not. Therefore, second wrench 30 may also be referred to herein as the rotating wrench while the first wrench 32 may be referred to as the stationary wrench.

[0022] With reference to FIG. 13, the stationary wrench 32 is shown in more detail. It should be appreciated that while stationary wrench 32 is shown, wrench 30 is substantially identical. The movable jaw 42 of the wrench 32 is actuated by a hydraulic cylinder 44. Preferably, there is one and only one hydraulic cylinder 44 for each wrench 30, 32. The hydraulic cylinder comprises a barrel end 63 and an extendable rod 62. As the rod 62 (FIG. 7) of the cylinder 44 extends, the movable jaw 42 forces the pipe segment 22 (FIG. 2) against the stationary jaw 40, gripping the pipe. Each of the wrenches 30, 32 are formed such that the stationary jaw 40 is formed with and movable with the barrel end 63 of the cylinder 44. Thus, some reactive movement of the stationary jaw 40 may occur during extension of the cylinder 44.

[0023] With reference again to FIG. 3, the stationary wrench 32 comprises a stationary wrench frame 47. The rotating wrench 30 comprises a rotating wrench frame 48. The rotating wrench frame 48 and stationary wrench frame 47 are each fixed in motion with the barrel end 63 and with the stationary jaw 40 of its respective wrench 30, 32.

[0024] The rotating wrench 30 may rotate when the jaws 40, 42 of both the rotating wrench 30 and the stationary wrench 32 are gripping opposing sides of a pipe joint. Such action makes up or breaks out the pipe section 22 on the drill string 14. Preferably, this relative motion occurs along the axis of rotation 17 (FIG. 2).

[0025] With reference again to FIG. 13, the stationary wrench frame 47 facilitates connection between the stationary wrench 32 and the wrench mount 36 (FIG. 3). The stationary wrench frame 47 defines slots 45. Pins 50 affixed to the wrench mount 36 and passing through the slots limit the movement of the stationary wrench frame 47 due to actuation of cylinder 44.

[0026] With reference back to FIG. 3, the rotating wrench 30 comprises the rotating wrench frame 48 to facilitate connection between the rotating wrench 30 and the wrench mount 36. The rotating wrench frame 48 is disposed entirely within a rotation subassembly 58. The rotating wrench frame 48 defines similar pins and slots as frame 47 shown in FIG. 13 to allow movement of rotating wrench frame 48 within the rotation subassembly 48 due to actuation of the cylinder 44 of the rotating wrench 30. Frames 47 and 48 may each have a brace 49 to provide structural support to wrenches 30, 32.

[0027] The wrench mount 36, rotating wrench frame 48 and stationary wrench frame 47 define an aperture 60 that extends through these frames for placement of the pipe segment 22 and pipe string 14. The aperture 60 may be substantially centered about the axis of rotation 17 (FIG. 2). A pipe guide 61 is located at the downhole side of the wrench mount 36 to facilitate placement of the pipe string 14 within the aperture. Alternatively, springs or cylinders may be used.

[0028] With reference now to FIG. 4, the wrench assembly 20 comprises a rotation cylinder 70, and first and second rotation pins 72. The rotation subassembly 58 defines a curved slot 74. The first and second rotation pins 72 are disposed through the curved slot 74. The rotation cylinder 70 is affixed at a first end to a strut 76 and at a second end to the rotation subassembly 58.

[0029] The strut 76 is fixed at each end to the wrench mount 36 The rotation cylinder 70 is able to rotate relative to the strut 76. Therefore, the rotation cylinder 70 may extend, causing the rotation subassembly 58 to rotate relative to the wrench mount about the aperture 60. Therefore, the aperture 60 will be unimpeded by frame elements of the subassembly 58. As shown, the rotating wrench 30 is shown in a rotated position relative to the stationary wrench 32. The rotation cylinder 70 shown herein is hydraulically powered, but alternative means, such as screw drives, may be utilized to rotate the rotating wrench 30

[0030] The stationary wrench 32 is shown, for exemplary purposes, with a hydraulic system 80 connected. The hydraulic system 80 comprises an extension inlet 82 and a retraction inlet 84. Application of hydraulic fluid to the extension inlet 82 activates the cylinder 44, causing the movable jaw 42 to move toward the stationary jaw 40. The application of hydraulic fluid to the retraction inlet 80 deactivate the cylinder 44, causing the movable jaw 42 to move away from the stationary jaw 40.

[0031] Thus, the jaws 40, 42 are caused to grip a pipe section 22 or pipe string 14 at diametrically opposed locations when the cylinder 44 is activated of in a closed position. When the cylinder is deactivated, the pipe section 22 and pipe string 14 are not contacted by the jaws 40, 42 as shown in FIG. 5 in an open position. It should be understood that the rotating wrench 30 has a similar hydraulic system (not shown). The wrenches 30, 32 are substantially vertically oriented. This means that, for example, the stationary wrench 32 defines a reference line which passes through the stationary jaw 40, movable jaw 42 and cylinder 44. The reference line is orthogonal to the first axis 17 and passes through a footprint defined by the support frame 24 (FIG. 2).

[0032] Referring to FIG. 6, the strut 76 can be seen to be rotationally attached to the rotation cylinder 70. Pins 52 are shown extending through the rotating wrench 30 and rotation subassembly 58, but not into the wrench mount 36. Rotation pins 72 extend through the rotation subassembly 58 and into the wrench mount 36. Bolts 90 may be provided to affix the wrench mount 36 to the support frame 24 of the horizontal directional drill 12 (FIG. 2).

[0033] With reference to FIG. 7, the movable jaw 42 is attached to the rod 62 which provides force from the cylinder 44 of the wrench 32 to the movable jaw 42. The stationary jaw 40 (FIG. 3) provides only reactionary force due to it being integral with the barrel 63 of the cylinder 44. While a stationary wrench and rotating wrench are discussed here, one of skill in the art will appreciate that both of the wrenches may be movable, that the wrenches may rotate in opposite directions in concert to make up or break out the pipe string 14. Further, while it may be advantageous, as described, to utilize a stationary jaw disposed below a movable jaw, it is possible for the bottom jaw to be movable by a rod and the top stationary, or for both the bottom and top jaws both be hydraulically actuated.

[0034] In makeup operation, with reference to FIGS. 1-7, a pipe segment 22 is removed from the pipe box 26 and placed onto the support frame 24 with a downhole end of the pipe segment on the rotating wrench 30 proximate a made-up pipe string 14. The pipe string 14 is held rotationally by causing the movable jaw 42 of the stationary wrench 32 to grip the pipe. A pipe spindle (not shown) may be provided in the system. This pipe spindle may be located underneath the pipe section on a portion of the support frame, or may comprise a spindle coaxial with the pipe segment for rotating the pipe segment, which is given rotational freedom by rollers on the support frame. The pipe segment 22 is threaded to the pipe string 14 by the spindle or spinner. Once the thread is "made up" as much as possible by the spindle, the spinning stops and the movable jaw 42 of the rotating wrench 32 grips the pipe segment 22. The rotating wrench 30 then rotates to "torque up" the pipe joint between the pipe segment 22 and the pipe string 14. This effectively causes the pipe segment 22 to become a part of the string 14. Drilling may then commence, advancing the drill string 14 until the uphole end of the pipe string is proximate the stationary wrench 30. A new pipe segment 22 is placed on the support frame 24 and the process repeated.

[0035] An opposite operation allows "breakout" of pipe sections 22 from a pipe string 14. The pipe string 14 is retracted until a pipe joint is located between the stationary wrench 32 and rotating wrench 30. Both the rotating wrench 30 and stationary wrench 32 rip the pipe string, and the rotating wrench rotates, removing the high-torque connection. The "broken out" pipe segment 22 is then unthreaded from the pipe string by the pipe spindle and the pipe string retracted and the process repeated.

[0036] With reference now to FIG. 8, the lubricant application system 28 is shown in conjunction with the wrench assembly 20 of the above figures. The lubricant contained in the lubricant application system 28 may comprise grease, oil, or other lubricants. As shown, the lubricant application system 28 is located downhole from the wrench assembly 20, though the application system 28 may be a self-contained unit or offset from the wrench assembly. The lubricant application system 28 comprises a nozzle 100 located between the stationary 32 and rotating 30 wrenches. The nozzle 100 allows lubricant to be applied to the threads of pipe sections 22 prior to threading and making up. The nozzle 100 may be attached to the wrench mount 36 to provide proper placement.

[0037] The application system 28 also supports a rod wiper 102, which may be integral or separately provided. The rod wiper 102 is preferably sized such that liquid and solid particulate matter associated with a horizontal directional drilling operation may be removed from the external wall of pipe 22 prior to breaking out sections of pipe, keeping stored pipe and the wrenches 30, 32 cleaner. Pipe guides 104 may be provided in addition to pipe guide 61 previously discussed to maintain the drill string 14 (FIG. 2) within the wrenches 30, 32.

[0038] With reference now to FIGS. 9, the lubricant application system 28 is shown without the wrenches. The lubricant application system 28 comprises a lubricant storage 110, a pump 112, and the nozzle 100. The lubricant storage 110 is placed in a frame 114 above the pump 112. As shown, the lubricant storage 110 may be a bag or a box, such that the storage may easily be in communication with the pump 112 when jawed into the lubricant application system 28. As shown in FIG. 9, the lubricant storage 110 is a bag within a box.

[0039] A follower 116, such as a weight having similar dimensions as the lubricant storage 110, may be utilized to pressurize the lubricant within the lubricant storage. Further, the follower may prevent air from entering the lubricant application system 28 and maintain positive head on the pump 112. Thus, as the volume of lubricant in the lubricant storage 110 decreases, the follower 116 may move with the height of lubricant within the lubricant storage. The follower 116 may be separated from the lubricant in the lubricant storage itself by a barrier, such as a plastic wall of the lubricant storage 110. The lubricant storage 110 may vent air into the environment, allowing the lubricant storage to deform and release air as lubricant is used by the system.

[0040] A conduit 118 is placed between the lubricant storage 110 and the pump 112. The pump 112 provides pressure to lubricant within the conduit 118, such that pressurized lubricant may be provided to the nozzle 100 through a tube 120.

[0041] With reference to FIG. 10, a work tight 122 is provided to provide illumination proximate the wrenches 30, 32 (FIG. 8). Strobe lights 124 may be provided to provide warnings an operator concerning the condition of the drill 12 (FIG. 1) in general, or components such as the lubricant system 28 specifically.

[0042] With reference now to FIGS. 11 and 12, shown therein is an adaptor 130 for mounting on the bottom of the lubricant storage 110 (FIGS. 9-10). The adaptor has a pin 132 with an internal passage 134 that is adapted to fit into the conduit 118 of FIGS. 9 and 10. A groove 136 is provided on an external surface of the pin to fit into feature o-ring to seal the adaptor 130 the pump 112. A terminal end 138 of the pin 132 is tapered to ease the adaptor 132 into the conduit 118 (FIG. 9). As shown in FIG. 11, the adaptor 130 has a circular top portion 140, though this shape is not limiting on the invention. While the adaptor 130 shown herein is male for connection to a female conduit 118, the female connection may be on the adaptor if desired.

[0043] While the makeup and breakout of a threaded pipe string is discussed herein, one will appreciate that the system may be utilized with a two-pipe system having an inner member, such as that disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. RE38,418, issued to Deken, et. al., which is incorporated herein by reference. In a two-pipe system, the wrench assembly disclosed herein is utilized along with a geometric-fit inner rod. In such a system, makeup of the inner rod would be verified by sensor or other means before advancing the drill string and adding additional segments of dual pipe. These alternatives may be utilized without departing from the spirit of the invention disclosed herein and in the Figures.

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