December 2007
Special Report

Rig Floor Equipment: Versatile tongs' three-jaw gripping system minimizes tool joint damage

Weatherford’s TorkWrench tong provides up to 100,000 ft-lb (136 kN-m) of torque for the toughest makeup and breakout jobs.

Vol. 228 No. 12  


Versatile tongs’ three-jaw gripping system minimizes tool joint damage

Weatherford’s TorkWrench tong provides up to 100,000 ft-lb (136 kN-m) of torque for the toughest makeup and breakout jobs. To eliminate shear forces, pipe bending, and the need for any other centering feature, the tool uses a three-jaw gripping system that centers the pipe. The gripping system is built to provide equal load distribution, which also reduces marks on the tool joint significantly.

The tool features a high-torque, high-speed three-roller spinning system as well as an intelligent pneumatic control for simpler and safer operation. The pneumatic control box can be disconnected from the tong unit and relocated to be operated from a safe distance by a single operator, without applying any electronics.

The spinner is designed to follow the movement of the pipe and help eliminate damage caused by conventional systems. Its torque delivery capability, in conjunction with high-speed spinner and wide-angle, 40° rotation, provides outstanding breakout performance.

Fig. 1

Weatherford’s TorkWrench iron roughneck can be pneumatically controlled from a safe distance.

The tool is available in three configurations: as a standard iron roughneck with pneumatic control; as a fully remote-controlled all-in-one system including mud bucket and cleaning and doping system; and as a horizontal bucking unit. Most of the parts for each system are fully interchangeable, significantly reducing costs associated with maintaining spare parts inventory. Available control options for the iron roughneck include pneumatic-over-hydraulic or electrohydraulic control.

Other tubular-running equipment that can be integrated with the iron roughneck include:

  • Electronic torque gauges
  • Bit-breaking systems
  • Tubing tongs
  • Casing tongs
  • Riser tongs.

For one client offshore Abu Dhabi on a jackup rig, tubular-running services were provided along with the iron roughneck tong. Using 5-in. drillpipe at a torque of 47,000 ft-lb (63.7 kN-m), the objective was to provide a compact, high-torque, drillpipe tong to run multiple drillpipe strings offshore. It would also have to be positioned without human intervention and be capable of maintaining good makeup and breakout cycles. The iron roughneck system was used to make and break a 5-in. drillpipe string and 81/2-in. drill collar, providing high torque, speed, and enhanced safety.

The tool’s integrated, pneumatic remote-control system enabled operation from a safe location in front of the tong. It provided remote and easy positioning on both well-center and mouse-hole positions virtually anywhere on the rig floor without occupying additional space.

On this application, the tong provided faster makeup and breakout cycles for drillpipe connections, significantly reducing the number of wrenching cycles required to make each connection. The remote-control capability of the tool enhanced safety by keeping the tool operator away from hazardous areas on the rig floor. WO


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