Advances in technology are changing the way crews work on drilling rigs.
At Trinidad, we are using integrated control systems to give Drillers the ability to control equipment from one main system in the safety of the cabin.
“New technologies will improve the safety of the rig crew by keeping them out of the way of dangerous equipment when possible,” explained Joel Hamonic, a Technical Coordinator with Trinidad Design & Manufacturing.
An electrical engineering technologist by trade, Hamonic has worked with Trinidad for nine years, and in that time he has helped develop the control systems we are using on our new rigs.
For Trinidad Rig 601, a new rig built to drill in Saudi Arabia, Hamonic’s team integrated the top drive and iron roughneck controls into one control system (top drives and iron roughnecks help automate the drilling process, eliminating manual labour for rig hands).
Because control of these rig components is integrated into an overall system, Trinidad’s team has the ability troubleshoot the system in Saudi Arabia from Canada if needed.
Another benefit of integrated control systems is they display real-time graphical information, which allows Drillers more precise control of drilling activities and helps improve rig performance.
“In the past, the Driller would need to work a brake handle when tripping pipe. On an AC* rig, control is accomplished through a joystick,” Hamonic pointed out.
Hands on new rigs are not the only ones who benefit from Trinidad’s advanced drilling equipment.
“New technologies are always being implemented into both newly built rigs and often retrofitted into our existing rigs,” Hamonic explained.
Advanced technology = improved safety
Automation and improved controls are making rigs safer. For example, position-tracking technology used in drawworks controls help avoid collisions, Hamonic explained. (The drawworks winds up the drilling line, which lowers or raises the drill string.)
“The drawworks will automatically decelerate as it reaches the (rig) floor, crown or even the racking board if the bails are in an unsafe position,” said Hamonic.
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*AC refers to alternating current electrical power.