Title:
DRILLING APPARATUS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention relates to accessory equipment for a drilling apparatus for drilling holes into the ground. The accessory equipment (10), in its operative configuration, is mounted on the support structure (52) of the drilling apparatus by a mounting bracket thereof (22), the mounting bracket having an elongate carrier formation (24) mounted thereon that defines an operatively vertical axis and that has a carrier means (26) displaceably located thereon, displacement means (30) providing for displacement of the carrier means with respect to the carrier formation along the longitudinal axis defined by the carrier formation. The carrier means serves to carry a drill bit wrench (16) for required loosening of adjacent drill bit segments (12, 14) with respect to one another, the accessory equipment permitting, through displacement of the carrier means, the drill bit wrench to operate at different required levels, as determined by the length of drill bit segments involved.



Inventors:
Gouws, Petrus Christiaan (Witbank, ZA)
Application Number:
12/373850
Publication Date:
10/15/2009
Filing Date:
07/13/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E21B19/16; E21B7/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MICHENER, BLAKE E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LEYDIG VOIT & MAYER, LTD (TWO PRUDENTIAL PLAZA, SUITE 4900 180 NORTH STETSON AVENUE, CHICAGO, IL, 60601-6731, US)
Claims:
1. Accessory equipment for a drilling apparatus which includes a mounting structure for mounting a drill bit wrench on the support structure of a drilling apparatus, the mounting structure including, in its in use configuration, a mounting bracket securable to the support structure of a drilling apparatus; an elongate carrier formation secured on the mounting bracket and defining a longitudinal axis along the length thereof which, with the mounting bracket secured to the support structure of a drilling apparatus, is parallel to the longitudinal axis of the drill bit to be used with the drilling apparatus; carrier means located by the carrier formation in a configuration in which it is displaceable with respect to the carrier formation along the longitudinal axis defined by the carrier formation, the carrier means having support formations for supporting a drill bit wrench in a configuration in which, with the mounting bracket secured to the support structure of a drilling apparatus, it can serve to loosen drill bit segments of the drill bit of the drilling apparatus; and displacement means for displacing the carrier means with respect to the carrier formation along the longitudinal axis defined by the carrier formation.

2. Accessory equipment as claimed in claim 1, in which the configuration of the mounting bracket is adapted to cooperate with the support structure of a particular predetermined drilling apparatus, to be securable thereto.

3. Accessory equipment as claimed in claim 1, in which the carrier formation is one of a round and a square tubular formation and in which the carrier means is displaceable within this tubular formation, with the support formations for supporting a drill bit wrench projecting from the tubular formation.

4. Accessory equipment as claimed in claim 1, in which the support formations of the carrier means for supporting a drill bit wrench are pivotally displaceable with respect to the carrier formation, permitting displacement of a drill bit wrench, supported by the support formations and with the mounting bracket secured to the support structure of a drilling apparatus, between an inoperative position and an operative position in which it can be used for loosening adjacent drill bit segments of a drill bit with respect to one another.

5. Accessory equipment as claimed in claim 1, in which the displacement means is a hydraulically operable means.

6. Accessory equipment as claimed in claim 5, in which the displacement means is a piston/cylinder arrangement operatively connected between the carrier means and the elongate carrier formation.

7. Accessory equipment as claimed in claim 1, which includes a drill bit wrench supported by the support formations of the carrier means.

8. Accessory equipment as claimed in claim 7, which includes hydraulically operable piston/cylinder arrangements that are operable for displacing the jaws of the drill bit wrench with respect to one another for gripping a drill bit segment of a drill bit and for displacing the lever of the drill bit wrench for loosening two adjacent drill bit segments of the drill bit with respect to one another.

9. A drilling apparatus which is adapted to have accessory equipment, as claimed in claim 1, mounted thereon.

10. A drilling apparatus which includes as part thereof accessory equipment as claimed in claim 1.

11. Accessory equipment for a drilling apparatus as claimed in claim 1, substantially as herein described with reference to and as illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

Description:

THIS INVENTION relates to drilling apparatus.

The invention relates particularly to accessory equipment for use with a drilling apparatus of the type that is used, for example, in mines, for drilling holes in the ground. Drilling apparatus of this type and to which the present invention relates includes a support structure that supports the actual drilling part of the apparatus in its required configuration with respect to the location where a hole is to be drilled, to permit drilling of the hole. The drilling part includes a drive motor and a drill bit engagement part that is driven by the motor and that engages a drill bit, particularly a drill bit comprising a drilling segment, that defines the leading end of the drill bit, a plurality of extension segments, that can be linked with the drilling segment for extending the length of the drill bit, and a distance piece that acts between the drill bit engagement part and the remainder of the drill bit, i.e. that engages the drilling segment and extension segments with the drill bit engagement part of the drilling part of the drilling apparatus. Insofar as a drilling apparatus of the above type is well known, it is not described in further detail herein.

A drilling operation using a drilling apparatus of the above type provides for a hole to be drilled to a depth permitted by the length of a drill bit at a particular time, when an extension segment is inserted in line with the drill bit which, in effect, permits the drilling part of the drilling apparatus to be retracted by a distance equal to the length of the extension segment and then for drilling to continue until a further extension segment must be inserted in line with the drill bit. Once again, insofar as this mode of drilling a hole in the ground is well known, this is not described in further detail herein.

The drilling segment, the extension segments and the distance piece of a drill bit as herein envisaged, hereinafter merely referred to as the drill bit segments of a drill bit, are axially connected with one another via complementary threads in a spigot and socket fashion, the threads being configured to provide for effective tightening together of the segments during actual drilling. In order to insert an extension segment it is thus required to loosen, with respect to one another, the two adjacently connected segments between which the extension segment must be inserted, such loosening permitting separation of the segments. This loosening operation often presents difficulties and requires the use of a special wrench, hereinafter referred to as a drill bit wrench. The same difficulties occur also when a drill bit is withdrawn from a hole drilled and extension segments must be removed from the drill bit which, in effect, requires a reverse operation to that required for inserting extension segments in line with a drill bit.

Various different configuration drill bit wrenches are already well known, these wrenches generally having a pair of opposing jaws, between which a drill bit segment can be gripped, and a lever that is displaceable for acting on the jaws and thereby rotating a drill bit segment gripped between the jaws. Preferred wrenches of the type provide for the jaws to be pivotally connected to one another and for the lever to extend from one of the jaws in a configuration in which displacement of the lever will enhance the gripping force of the jaws on the drill bit segment gripped between them. The actual operation of a drill bit wrench, including the displacement of jaws for gripping a drill bit segment and the displacement of the lever of a drill bit wrench for loosening the drill bit segment with respect to an adjacent segment, generally is hydraulically carried out, the drill bit wrench being supported on the support structure of the drilling apparatus used in a configuration in which it is displaceable between an inoperative position, which permits a drilling operation to be carried out, and an operative position, in which, through hydraulic operation, the jaws of the drill bit wrench can grip a drill bit segment and the lever is displaced for loosening the drill bit segment with respect to an adjacent segment. It will be understood in this regard that hydraulically operable piston/cylinder arrangements will act between the support structure of the drilling apparatus on which the drill bit wrench is supported and the jaws and the lever of the drill bit wrench, respectively, to provide for operation of the drill bit wrench.

A drill bit wrench as envisaged can thus form accessory equipment for use with a particular drilling apparatus, the support structure of such apparatus being provided with further accessory equipment for carrying a drill bit wrench in a suitable configuration and in a location in which it can perform its function of loosening drill bit segments with respect to one another.

A known problem in this regard is that with a drill bit wrench located in a required location on the support structure of a drilling apparatus, it can only be used in conjunction with a drill bit including drill bit segments that define gripping locations, for being gripped by the jaws of the drill bit wrench, in a predetermined location that coincides with the operative position of the drill bit wrench. This thus requires the drilling apparatus to be used in conjunction only with a drill bit having predetermined length drill bit segments and insofar as drill bits having different length drill bit segments are commonly used, this constitutes a problem, i.e. a drill bit having the predetermined required length drill bit segments may not be readily available. This, in effect, will require use of a different drilling apparatus of which the support structure thus supports a drill bit wrench in the required location that suits the drill bit segments of the drill bit to be used. Alternatively, the support structure of the drilling apparatus used must permit a drill bit wrench to be operatively supported at different locations thereon, displacement from one location to another, however, being both time consuming and difficult.

It is thus an object of this invention to at least ameliorate the above problem.

According to the invention there is provided accessory equipment for a drilling apparatus which includes a mounting structure for mounting a drill bit wrench on the support structure of a drilling apparatus, the mounting structure including, in its in-use configuration

a mounting bracket securable to the support structure of a drilling apparatus;

an elongate carrier formation secured on the mounting bracket and defining a longitudinal axis along the length thereof which, with the mounting bracket secured to the support structure of a drilling apparatus, is parallel to the longitudinal axis of the drill bit to be used with the drilling apparatus;

carrier means located by the carrier formation in a configuration in which it is displaceable with respect to the carrier formation along the longitudinal axis defined by the carrier formation, the carrier means having formations for supporting a drill bit wrench in a configuration in which, with the mounting bracket secured to the support structure of a drilling apparatus, it can serve to loosen drill bit segments of the drill bit of the drilling apparatus; and

displacement means for displacing the carrier means with respect to the carrier formation along the longitudinal axis defined by the carrier formation.

The configuration of the mounting bracket of the mounting structure of the accessory equipment may be adapted to cooperate with the support structure of a particular predetermined drilling apparatus, to be securable thereto. As such, the exact configuration of the mounting bracket is greatly variable, being determined to provide effectively for the support of a drill bit wrench in a suitable location with respect to a drill bit of the drilling apparatus with which the accessory equipment is used.

The carrier formation of the mounting structure of the accessory equipment may be one of a round and a square tubular formation, providing for the carrier means to be displaceable within this tubular formation, with the support formations for supporting a drill bit wrench projecting from the tubular formation. Clearly, the elongate carrier formation also can be a shaft on which the carrier means is displaceably located.

The support formations of the carrier means for supporting a drill bit wrench may be pivotally displaceable with respect to the carrier formation, permitting displacement of a drill bit wrench, supported by the support formations and with the mounting bracket secured to the support structure of a drilling apparatus, between an inoperative position and an operative position in which it can be used for loosening adjacent drill bit segments of a drill bit with respect to one another.

The displacement means of the support structure of the accessory equipment may be hydraulically operable means and, particularly, is a piston/cylinder arrangement operatively connected between the carrier means and the elongate carrier formation.

The accessory equipment of the invention also may include a drill bit wrench supported by the support formations of the carrier means. As such, the accessory equipment may include hydraulically operable piston/cylinder arrangements that are operable for displacing the jaws of the drill bit wrench with respect to one another for gripping a drill bit segment of a drill bit and for displacing the lever of the drill bit wrench for loosening two adjacent drill bit segments of the drill bit with respect to one another.

The overall configuration of the accessory equipment of the invention clearly is greatly variable, being determined particularly by the configuration of the drilling apparatus with which it is to be used, as well as the configuration of a drill bit wrench to be used therewith or forming a part thereof.

Insofar as the accessory equipment of the invention is provided for use with a drilling apparatus and, in use, can form an effective part thereof, the invention extends also to a drilling apparatus which is adapted to have accessory equipment, in accordance with the invention, mounted thereon and to a drilling apparatus which includes as part thereof accessory equipment, in accordance with the invention.

An example of accessory equipment for use with a drilling apparatus, in accordance with the invention, is described hereafter with reference to the accompanying diagrammatic drawings. In the drawings:

FIG. 1 shows a side view of the accessory equipment, in a first operative configuration thereof;

FIG. 2 shows a side view of the equipment of FIG. 1, in a second operative configuration thereof; and

FIG. 3 illustrates schematically the location of the equipment of FIG. 1 on a drilling apparatus.

Referring to the drawings, accessory equipment for a drilling apparatus, in accordance with the invention, is designated generally by the reference numeral 10. As shown in FIG. 3, the accessory equipment 10 particularly is adapted for use with a drilling apparatus 50, which is of the type herein envisaged. The drilling apparatus 50 includes a mobile support structure 52 that supports the actual drilling part 54 of the apparatus in its required configuration with respect to the location where a hole is to be drilled, to permit drilling of the hole, the drilling part 54 being schematically shown in dotted lines in FIG. 3, for clarity, externally of the support structure 52, although in practice it is located within the perimeter of the support structure 52. The drilling part of the apparatus is associated with a drill bit 56 (see FIG. 3), both FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrating two drill bit segments of such a drill bit, which are designated respectively by the numerals 12 and 14. The accessory equipment 10, shown in FIG. 3 in its inoperative position, is located above the deck 58 of the drilling apparatus 50 and is provided particularly to facilitate loosening of the drill bit segments of a drill bit with respect to one another, particularly with the aid of a drill bit wrench, which is designated generally by the numeral 16. The drill bit wrench is of a known type and insofar as its configuration does not form a part of the present invention, it is not described in further detail herein, save that it includes a pair of jaws 18 and a lever 20, the lever extending integrally from one of the jaws of the pair of jaws 18.

The drill bit wrench 16 is mounted on the support structure 52 of the drilling apparatus, particularly via a mounting structure that forms a part of the accessory equipment. Particularly, the mounting structure includes a mounting bracket 22 that is directly secured to the support structure 52 of the drilling apparatus (see FIG. 3) and that has an elongate carrier formation 24 mounted thereon. As is clearly illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, the elongate carrier formation 24 defines an axis parallel to the longitudinal axis of the drill bit to be used with the drilling apparatus and of which two drill bit segments, 12 and 14, are shown. The carrier formation particularly is a square tubular formation that has a carrier means 26 slidably located therein, the carrier means including formations 28 whereby the drill bit wrench is supported in the configuration as illustrated, in which it can serve to loosen drill bit segments, of a drill bit of the associated drilling apparatus, with respect to one another, as is described in more detail hereafter.

A displacement means, in the form of a piston/cylinder arrangement 30, is mounted on one end of the carrier formation 24, a piston rod 32 of the piston part of the arrangement 30 being operatively connected with the carrier means 26 so that by operation of the piston/cylinder arrangement 30, the carrier means is slidably displaceable within the carrier formation 24, particularly between a “lowest position” as shown in FIG. 1 and a “highest position” as shown in FIG. 2. This displacement of the carrier means with respect to the carrier formation is clearly apparent from FIGS. 1 and 2 of the drawings.

It will be understood also in this regard that by the displacement of the carrier means, the drill bit wrench 16 will be simultaneously displaced.

The formations 28 of the carrier means 26 whereby the drill bit wrench 16 is supported particularly provides for the pivotal support of the drill bit wrench, a pivot pin 34 serving as a pivot between the formations 28 and the remainder of the carrier means 26 to provide for displacement of the drill bit wrench from its operative position as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, in which it is positioned to engage a drill bit segment of a drill bit, to permit loosening of adjacent drill bit segments with respect to one another, and an inoperative position, in which the drill bit wrench is displaced away from the drill bit, so as not to interfere with a drilling operation.

A suitable piston/cylinder arrangement 36 serves to control this pivotal displacement, whereas further piston/cylinder arrangements act between the carrier means 26 and the drill bit wrench 16, to provide for effective operation of the drill bitwrench, essentially in a conventional manner.

By providing for the adjustment of the position of the drill bit wrench with respect to a drill bit, its use in conjunction with drill bits having different configuration/length drill bit segments is provided for, particularly insofar as different configuration/length drill bit segments of a drill bit require engagement by a drill bit wrench at different operative levels, in order to permit loosening of adjacent drill bit segments with respect to one another. The known problem in relation to the use of known drill bit wrenches, which do not accommodate their use in conjunction with different configuration/length drill bit segments forming a drill bit, is thus largely alleviated.

It will be understood that the exact configuration of the accessory equipment of the invention as above described is greatly variable and that its configuration is particularly determined by the configuration of the drilling apparatus with which it is to be used, as well as the configuration of the particular drill bit wrench to be used therewith or forming a part thereof. For this reason, the exact construction of the accessory equipment is not described in further detail herein, it being apparent that this construction can be varied in various different respects while still providing for the essential principles of the present invention to be embodied.

Insofar as the accessory equipment as described can form an actual part of a drilling apparatus, the invention extends also to such a drilling apparatus which includes accessory equipment as described above as part thereof.