|Publication number||USRE43410 E1|
|Application number||US 10/345,836|
|Publication date||29 May 2012|
|Priority date||2 May 1997|
|Publication number||10345836, 345836, US RE43410 E1, US RE43410E1, US-E1-RE43410, USRE43410 E1, USRE43410E1|
|Inventors||John E. Goode|
|Original Assignee||Varco I/P, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (78), Non-Patent Citations (3), Classifications (7), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application claims the benefit of U.S. provisional application no. 60/045,365, filed May 2, 1997, which application is incorporated herein by reference.
The invention relates generally to coiled tubing injectors for handling a continuous length of tubing or pipe for insertion into or removal from a well bore, and for drilling well bores. More particularly, it concerns gripping elements used by such injectors.
Continuous, reeled pipe is generally known within the industry as coiled tubing and has been used for many years. It is much faster to run into and out of a well bore than conventional jointed, straight pipe.
Coiled tubing is run into and out of well bores using what are known in the industry as coiled tubing injectors. The name derives from the fact that, in preexisting well bores, the tubing must be literally forced or “injected” into the well through a sliding seal to overcome the well pressure until the weight of the tubing exceeds the force produced by the pressure acting against the cross-sectional area of the tubing. However, once the weight of the tubing overcomes the pressure, it must be supported by the injector. The process is reversed as the tubing is removed from the well.
The only method by which a continuous length of tubing can be either forced against pressure into the well, or supported while hanging in the well bore or being lowered or raised is by continuously gripping a length of the tubing just before it enters the well bore. This is achieved by arranging continuous chain loops on opposite sides of the tubing. The continuous chains carry a series of grippers which are pressed against opposite sides of the tubing and grip the tubing.
Coiled tubing has traditionally been used primarily for circulating fluids into the well and other work over operations, rather than drilling, because of its relatively small diameter and because it was not strong enough, especially for deep drilling. However, in recent years, coiled tubing has been increasingly used to drill well bores. For drilling, a turbine motor suspended at the end of the tubing and is driven by mud or drilling fluid pumped down the tubing. Coiled tubing has also been used as permanent tubing in production wells. These new uses of coiled tubing have been made possible by larger, stronger coiled tubing.
A coiled tubing injector according to the present invention includes a quick-release carrier for mounting gripping shoes to chains of the injector. The carrier enables removal and replacement of grippers in the field without tools, even when the injector is operating. An injector thus may be quickly adapted to run coiled tubing within a wide range of diameters, for purposes of a well work over to drilling. Furthermore, an injector having grippers according to the present invention may be used to run conventional jointed, straight pipe, or a tool string on the end of coiled tubing. The diameter of joints are larger than the diameter of the pipe. Tool strings have various diameters. The quick-release carrier enables gripping shoes to be easily removed to accommodate a joint or a tool as it passes through the injector during operations. Gripping shoes can be easily replaced with gripping shoes that have the appropriate size and shape for gripping the tool. All shoes are sized so that, when attached to the injector, they have same centerline or axis as the other shoes. Thus, gripping shoes of differing sizes can be used on the injector to grip a downhole tool or irregularly sized object in the pipe string as it is passing through the injector.
These and other aspects and advantages of the invention are discussed below in connection with a preferred embodiment illustrated by the appended drawings.
In the following description, like numbers refer to like elements.
Referring first to
Referring now to
A box-shaped frame is formed from two, parallel front plates 123 and 125, separated by side plate 127 and a second side plate parallel to side plate 127 but not visible in these views. This frame supports the drive housing 117 and transmission gear box 131 at its upper end, and the lower drive sprockets at its lower end.
The lower drive sprockets 119 and 121 are connected to shafts 133 and 135, respectively. The ends of each shaft is journalled on opposite sides of the injector frame within a movable carrier 137. Each carrier is mounted so that it may slide vertically within an elongated slot 139 defined in either the front plate 123 or rear plate 125. A hydraulic cylinder 141 is inserted between the top of each carrier 137 and a block 143 connected to the frame at the top of each elongated slot 139. Each cylinder 141 applies a spreading force between the stationary block and the moving carrier 137 to push down on the lower drive sprockets 119 and 121 and thus tension the drive chains.
Although not visible, coiled tubing injector 101 includes two skates, one for each drive chain, for forcing the grippers 115 toward each other as they enter the area between the two drive chains through which the coiled tubing passes. Examples of such skates are shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,309,990 and are well known in the art. A plurality of hydraulic cylinders 145 are used to pull together the skates and maintain uniform gripping pressure against coiled tubing (not shown) along the length of the skates. Each cylinder 145 is connected at each end through a clevis and pin to an eyelet 147 of a bar extending behind one of the skate and terminating in another eyelet connected to another piston on the opposite side of the injector.
At the bottom of the injector, a stripper 149 carried by a stripper adapter 151, connects the injector to a well head. Power for driving the injector is provided by a high speed, low torque hydraulic motor 153 coupled with the transmission gear box 131 through brake 155. The hydraulic motor is supplied with a pressurized hydraulic fluid in a conventional manner.
Referring now to
Mounted to an underside of gripper carriers 161 are a pair of roller bearings 171 and 173 which ride upon the skates of the injector. The roller bearings are rotatably mounted on pin 175.
As illustrated by
Each of the gripper shoes may be quickly inserted and removed from the gripper carrier 161 without the use of tools. This is especially useful when running conventional, jointed pipe rather than coiled tubing, or when running a tool string corrected to one end of the coiled tubing. One or more gripper shoes are removed from each drive chain to pass the pipe joint or tool. In
Referring now to
The flat, metal leaf spring 199 is formed of an arched body section 199a and feet 199b and 199c. The feet of the spring are trapped within open-ended slots 203a and 203b formed in the carrier 161. Depressing the leaf spring flattens it and causes the feet to slide outward, as illustrated in phantom by
Sandwiched between the gripper shoe base 189 and the carrier 161 is an elastomeric pad 206 of high spring rate which allows the gripper shoe to float on the carrier 161. Slightly floating the gripper shoe allows the gripper shoe to automatically make small adjustments in its alignment with the coil tubing or pipe as it engages the tubing or pipe, thus providing a more even distribution of gripping forces across the shoe. The elastomeric pad also accommodates manufacturing tolerances that result in slight variations in the distances between the skate on which the roller bearings of the gripper carriers ride and the centerline of the pipe or other object being gripped. Thus, more of the gripping shoes will make good gripping contact with the pipe, improving overall grip. Preferably, only gripping shoes are used that have fixed shapes conforming to the normal shape of the pipe, and that surround substantially half of the circumference of the pipe. The fixed shape shoes cause the pipe to maintain its normal shape as strong forces are applied to the pipe, thus preventing deformation. By forcing the pipe to retain its normal shape and floating the gripper shoe for better alignment of the shoe with the pipe, contact area between the gripping shoe and pipe is increased. Furthermore, greater force may be applied to the pipe without concern of deformation. Thus, with greater contact area and force, gripping is improved.
Each shoe carrier 161 is mounted to one of the two drive chains by inserting one of the chain pins 165 (
Gripping shoe adaptor 183 includes rims 213a and 213b located at opposite ends for retaining removable gripping elements (not shown). Gripping elements may thus be replaced when worn or changed in size or shape, or to accommodate passing of downhole tools or other downhole assemblies having different diameters than the pipe.
The forgoing embodiments are but examples of the invention. Modifications, omissions, substitutions and rearrangements may be made to the forgoing embodiments without departing from the invention as set forth in the appended claims.
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|1||Examination Report Under Section 18(3); Application No. GB 9809416.2; U.K. Patent Office, Feb. 1, 2011, 1 pg.|
|2||Response to U.K. Patent Office to Official Letter of Feb. 1, 2001; Application No. GB 9809416.2; Aug. 1, 2001; 11 pgs.|
|3||Search Report Under Section 17(5); Application No. GB 9809416.2; U.K. Patent Office; Sep. 30, 1998; 2 pgs.|
|U.S. Classification||166/77.3, 226/173, 403/353|
|Cooperative Classification||E21B19/22, Y10T403/7015|
|7 Aug 2012||CC||Certificate of correction|
|7 Aug 2012||RF||Reissue application filed|
Effective date: 20120410