B Robotics W
B Robotics W is the world’s leading manufacturer of automated oil and gas drilling rigs. Automated rigs have many advantages over conventional rigs. They drill faster, operate more efficiently, and are much safer.
In 2015, B Robotics W unveiled the BQ Genesis Automated Hydraulic Drilling Rig – the world’s first fully automated drilling rig. Its key innovation that makes possible hands-free drilling is the replacement of the drawworks with long-stroke hydraulic cylinders, which are very precise, more powerful, more dependable, and safer.
Hydraulic cylinders also will not overheat or burn out, and operate in very cold and hot environments.
Safer Better Faster
The long-stroke hydraulic cylinders lift weight by pulling a piston rod, rather than pushing – the common design on small rigs. When pulling a piston rod, there’s no dead end load. A 5″ range-2, S 135 drill pipe can pull up to 950,000 lbs (430 tons). To lift this same amount of weight by pushing on the piston rod would require a 45″ rod at a minimum.
The Genesis and Stargate rigs are equipped with high pressure gear pumps (412 bar) that are controlled by Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) modules and electric motors, which alter the volume of oil delivery. The pumps are highly rugged, dependable, and require minimum maintenance. They operate when oil is less than completely clean and can function even with water and additives. Because gear pumps are mass produced, they also are easily replaced if necessary.
The top drive, hydraulic power generators, and VFD inverters are constructed with water-cooled, explosion-proof electrical motors to ensure efficiency and optimum performance. Electric motors typically function at about 90% efficiency at temperatures below 104-113 degree F. At higher temperatures power rapidly declines, dropping to 65% efficiency at 150 degrees F. At this temperature, a 500 ton top drive with a 1000 hp motor delivers only 650 hp to a bit.
The Genesis and Stargate rigs are designed to operate in serve hot and cold weather. Automation eliminates the need for workers on the drilling floor and monkeyboard. A single worker in the climate-controlled driller’s cabin can trip, change bits and stabilizers, etc. without assistance. Cold water from chillers prevents the electric motors from losing power due to overheating in hot climates. And heated water is pumped through the system, allowing the rigs to work in extreme cold temperatures.
BQ Genesis 400 Automated Hydraulic Drilling Rig
The BQ Genesis Rig was engineered from the ground up to be the most productive and safest rig possible. The rig’s key components, such as gear pumps, were selected based on their high reliability, field tests, and market availability.
All critical systems have backups to minimize work stoppages. The rig automatically starts/stops pumps, breaks and makes connections, adds tubulars, increases/decreases the top drive rpm, weight on the bit, etc.
Automation is more precise than humans and is not susceptible to fatigue. As a result, the rig trips in and out at more than 1.5 meters/sec., compared to .5-.6 meters/sec. for a conventional rig.
- Only three workers are required to operate the rig in a 12-hour shift.
- It automatically handles three range-3 or two range-2 drill pipes/drill collars, and has low and easy maintenance.
- 40% fewer standardized trailers are required for transportation.
- Is much quieter than a conventional rig; the noise level on the working floor is only 50-55 decibels, making it ideal for drilling in populated areas.
- Consumes 20% less fuel (energy is recovered during tripping in and electric motors are water-cooled to maintain efficiency)
- Does not use a rat hole or mouse hole
- Its subbase and handling area are small than a conventional rig, reducing the environmental impact and costs.
- The rig operates efficiently in harsh climates, from -50 degrees C to +65 degrees C (-58 degrees F to 149 degrees F).
- It has a shorter mast because of the hydraulic cylinders, which have a fixed stroke compared to a drawworks traveling block that needs an extra mast length for safety.
BQ 400 Automated Hydraulic Drilling Rig
Stargate Automated Hydraulic Drilling Rig
The Stargate Automated Hydraulic Drilling Rig takes automated drilling to the next level of performance and efficiency.
The rig’s long-stroke hydraulic cylinders, which replace the drawworks, are located horizontally in a substructure below the drilling floor, rather than vertically on the mast as the Genesis Rig.
The hydraulic pumps, control systems, power unit, cooling system, and traveling and crown blocks are all positioned on the substructure. The rig’s hydraulic hoses, piping, and electrical wiring remain connected during rig drilling and transport, eliminating potential setup complications, spills, and incorrect wiring.
The only operation necessary for rig up and down is to make/break a connection to a diesel generator. The rig’s new design makes possible rig up/down in less than 48 hours.
It also greatly facilitates rig transportation, dramatically reducing the number of loads. The Stargate’s components are all self-unloading from trailers and are assembled without a crane or gin pole. Workers are never higher than six feet off the ground during rig assembly.
- Camp is less than half the size of a conventional camp since fewer workers needed.
- Fully digital (can be accessed via internet to reprogram and troubleshoot).
- Hydraulic pinning.
- Shorter mast (hydraulic cylinders have fixed stroke; can’t hit crown block).
- Easy to operate (typically can train driller in one week).
- Pull-down ability makes possible fast penetration of permafrost and hard formations.
The Stargate Rig trips in and out, as well as drills to a defined depth, hands-free and without the intervention of a driller. This means the driller, after setting the depth to drill and starting the hands-free drilling computer program, does not have to manipulate any controls thereafter.
The rig automatically starts/stops pumps, breaks and makes connections, adds tubulars as necessary, increases/decreases the top drive rpm, weight on bit, etc.
Automation is more precise than humans and eliminates human fatigue problems. And it’s faster. The rig trips in and out at more than 1.5 meters/sec., compared to .5-.6 meters/sec. for a conventional rig.
If the rig stops for any reason, an alert sounds, at which time the driller has to intervene.
The driller can operate the rig in two modes:
- Semi-automated mode – the driller activates a switch to complete each step forward (also used for special tasks, such as fishing for an object in the wellbore or using certain tools attached to the top drive).
- Full-automated mode – rig actions are activated sequentially by a computer program.
CCTV monitors in the driller’s cabin allow the driller to closely view each step of the rig’s operation. At any time, the driller can switch between semi-automation and full-automation. Operating the rig is easy to learn; drillers typically require only a week of training.
To minimize failures and poor functionality, B Robotics W analyzed potential causes for a rig’s failure. Components for the rigs were then selected/ engineered based on their reliability, field performance, and market availability. The generators, for example, are equipped with a dirt and water drainage system, as well as water/fuel separators to avoid potential stops due to dirty fuel.
The key components of the Genesis and Stargate rigs are designed with backup systems to minimize work stoppages due to equipment failure. The BQ 500 rig has: 2 top drive motors; 4 main hydraulic cylinders; 12 gear pumps, 12 electric motors, 12 VFD units that operate independently; 2 hydraulic power pack units; 4 hydraulic service unites; and backup plug in/plug out spare PLC’s in the driller’s cabin.
The rigs are engineered for minimal maintenance. The main hydraulic cylinders and pulling cables will operate for 15,000 hours before servicing (4-5 years). There is a single, easy-to-replace filter for all the gear pumps. Since there is drawworks, there is no annual inspection of the electromagnetic brake, break pads, drilling cable, and brake levers.
The rigs consume 30% less fuel than a conventional rig. When tripping in, the string is slowed by sending oil back to the gear pumps, causing them to rotate in reverse, producing electrical power. The water-cooled electric motors maintain efficiency in hot climates, reducing fuel consumption. The gear pumps are 90% efficient and only operate when needed.
B Robotics W
B Robotics W designs and manufactures automated/traditional oil and gas drilling rigs (mechanical and hydraulic), as well as reconditions and services rigs worldwide.
The company, located near Piacenza, Italy, was founded in 1992 by Walter Bagassi, whose family has been involved in oil drilling for three generations. After earning a degree in aeronautical engineering, Mr. Bagassi worked as a logging engineer at Gearhart-Owen for 16 years, traveling extensively and contributing to the development of the Gearhart WMD system in 1979. Mr. Bagassi returned to Italy in 1986 to work as a rig designer and commercial director for a rig manufacturer. Six years later he founded his own company.
B Robotics W has a field-based understanding and appreciation of drilling equipment, having constructed and reconditioned complete rigs for more than two decades. Its engineers take pride in their design of equipment to ensure the highest level of safety, performance, durability, and have an appreciation of long distances that often exist between drilling fields and technical support.
B Robotics W Via Boscarella, 60 29010 Besenzone, Italy (tel) 39-0523-832185 – Italy (tel) 207-333-1557 – United States www.bwrobotics.co
Genesis Rig Tops World Survey
Apache Corp. conducted a global survey to assess the newest and most innovative new rig technologies. It rated the Genesis rig and B Robotics W at the top of 400 innovative rig and equipment producers from around the world. Lance Spencer, Senior Drilling Advisor, Worldwide Drilling Group, for Apache said: “The hands-free design that facilitates the crucial functions of faster, more efficient tripping and pipe handling by taking people out of harm’s way make this a smart, intelligent rig that is energy efficient and quieter.”