Title:
Adjustable Top Guide
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A top guide having an extendable and retractable guide plate for engaging and aligning lengths of pipe over a pipe gripping device is described. The top guide employs a linear actuator such as a hydraulic cylinder to extend and retract the guide plate into and out of a protective housing. The guide plate has a bumper with a V-shaped Stu face for engaging and aligning a pipe segment upon extension of the guide plate. The guide plate has an adjustment mechanism to allow the position of the guide plate to be changed to accommodate pipe of varying diameters.



Inventors:
Sipos, David L. (Youngsville, LA, US)
Application Number:
15/235296
Publication Date:
02/16/2017
Filing Date:
08/12/2016
Assignee:
Sipos David L.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E21B19/24; E21B19/07; E21B19/10; E21B19/16
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
PORTOCARRERO, MANUEL C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DURIO, MCGOFFIN, STAGG & ACKERMAN (LAFAYETTE, LA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A top guide for a rotary spider comprised of: (a) a protective housing; (b) an elongated guide plate slidably positioned below said protective housing; and a linear actuator having an extendable and retractable actuator rod, said linear actuator connected to said protective housing and to said guide plate, whereby extension and retraction of said actuator rod will extend and retract said guide plate with respect to said protective housing.

2. The top guide as recited in claim 1, wherein one end of said guide plate is a bumper having a pipe contact surface.

3. The top guide as recited in claim 2, wherein said linear actuator is adjustably mounted to said guide plate.

4. The top guide as recited in claim 3, wherein said guide plate slidably engages with a shoulder on said protective housing.

5. The top guide as a recited in claim 3, wherein said guide plate is coupled with a machine slide.

6. The top guide as a recited in claim 5, wherein said machine slide includes a rail and a groove.

7. The top guide as a recited in claim 4, wherein said protective housing is mounted on a rotary spider.

8. The top guide as recited in claim 4, wherein said protective housing is mounted on a baseplate.

9. The top guide as a recited in claim 4, wherein said pipe contact surface of said bumper is V-shaped.

10. The top guide as a recited in claim 5, said pipe contact surface, of said bumper creates a recess wherein a pipe segment may be received.

11. The top guide as recited in claim 10, wherein said protective housing is mounted on a rotary spider.

12. The top guide as a recited in claim 10, wherein said protective housing is mounted on a baseplate.

13. The top guide as recited in claim 12, wherein said baseplate is mounted on a component of a pipe gripping device.

14. A pipe guide comprised of (a) a protective housing, said protective housing having a top and sidewalls; (b) an elongated guide plate, said elongated guide plate slidably positioned parallel to and at least partially within said protective housing, Wherein one end of said elongated guide plate includes a bumper having a pipe contact surface; (c) a mount releasably attached to said guide plate; and (d) a linear actuator having an extendable and retractable actuator rod, said linear actuator pivotally connected to said top of said protective housing and to said adjustable mount on said guide plate, whereby extension and retraction of said actuator rod will slidably extend and retract said elongated guide plate from said protective housing and thereby engage said bumper of said elongated guide plate with a suspended pipe segment whereby said suspended pipe segment is moved and oriented.

15. The pipe guide as recited in claim 14, further comprising a machine slide along which said guide plate moves, Wherein said machine slide includes a rail and a groove.

16. The pipe guide as recited in claim 15, wherein said pipe contact surface of said bumper creates a recess wherein a pipe segment may be received.

17. The pipe guide as a recited in claim 16, wherein said guide plate slidably engages with a shoulder on said sidewalls of said protective housing.

18. The pipe guide as recited in claim 17, wherein said mount and said guide plate have slip resistant surfaces.

19. The pipe guide as a recited in claim 17, wherein said pipe guide is mounted on a rotary spider.

20. The pipe guide as recited in claim 17, wherein said pipe guide is mounted on a baseplate.

Description:

PRIORITY

This application claims priority to U.S. provisional application Ser. No. 62/204,737 filed Aug. 13, 2015 entitled “Actuating Adjustable Top Guide”, the entire content of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a pipe guide for aligning and positioning a length of pipe in a rotary spider during drilling of an oil and gas well. More particularly, the invention relates to a hydraulically or pneumatically actuated pipe guide for a rotary spider.

BACKGROUND

Rotary drilling rigs are often employed to advance a wellbore during the drilling of an oil and gas well. When drilling long strings of pipe are strung together to form a drill string or to form a casing string to line the wellbore. These pipe strings are usually supported by rotary spiders that fit into or over the opening of a rotary table on the drilling rig. Rotary spiders typically have an inwardly tapered slip support surface called a “slip bowl” that is positioned around central opening through the rotary spider. The tapered slip bowl corresponds with a plurality of tapered slips that are peripherally distributed around the perimeter of the inwardly tapered slip bowl. The slips are typically fitted with detachable dies having a plurality of teeth which provide a pipe gripping surface to increase the grip of the slips on the pipe string being supported by the rotary spider.

Spider slips are typically attached to a slip timing ring by a linkage so that upward and downward movement of the slip timing ring will simultaneously move the slips upward and downward in the slip howl for engaging and releasing the pipe string, Powered spiders have hydraulically or pneumatically powered cylinders with extendable and retractable piston rods to raise and lower the slip dining ring and attached slips. Retraction of the cylinder piston rods moves the timing ring and thus the slips downward and radially inward along the inwardly tapered slip bowl surface to grip the pipe. Extension of the cylinder piston rods moves the timing ring and thus the slips upward and radially outward along the tapered slip bowl to release the pipe.

When a pipe segment is being added to a wellbore pipe string, the rotary spider is typically used in conjunction with an elevator that is suspended from a rig hook on a travelling block supported by a hoisting system on the derrick of the drilling rig. When a pipe segment is being added to the pipe string, the slips in the central bore of the rotary spider are lowered to slide downward along the tapered slip bowl to hold the pipe string in place in the wellbore and the elevator is used to lift and position the pipe section above the pipe string for threaded connection of the pipe segment to the pipe string. After completing the threaded connection, the elevator is used to pull the pipe, string upward to release the pipe string front the slips of the rotary spider where the pipe string may then be lowered the pipe string into the wellbore, The slips of the rotary spider are again lowered to engage and support the pipe string so that load of the pipe string is transferred entirely to the rotary spider once again and the elevator is then released from the pipe string and process is repeated.

The pipe segment being added to the pipe string must be suspended above the rotary spider by the elevator and placed in axial alignment with the pipe string gripped by the rotary spider before the connection is completed. Powered spiders often have a cover that has a central opening at the top of the rotary spider with rollers that serve as a guide for aligning the pipe segment to be attached with the pipe string The timing ring at the top of the rotary spider may also be used as a guide for aligning the additional pipe segment with the pipe string held by the spider.

Because the additional pipe segment is typically long and heavy, it is often difficult to place the pipe segment into the central opening of the rotary spider cover or timing ring. To make this positioning easier, the diameter of the central opening in the cover or timing ring is usually much greater than the diameter of the pipe segment being placed for attachment to the pipe string. However, the chance of misaligning the pipe segment with the pipe string increases when the diameter of the central opening in the cover or the timing ring is greater than the diameter of the additional pipe segment. When misalignment occurs, the pipe segment must be moved into alignment with the pipe string. This alignment is typically done by workers on the rig floor either by hand alone or by hand with the assistance of tongs.

Because the pipe segments being added to the pipe string may be long and heavy, considerable force may be required to move a pipe segment into alignment with the pipe string. This poses a risk of injury to the workers. Even if workers apply only minimal force to move a pipe segment into alignment, workers in close proximity to a pipe gripping spider and the suspended pipe segment are still exposed to the risk of becoming caught by the closing slips of the pipe gripping device.

There is a present need for a spider having a pipe guide mechanism that will open to facilitate placement of a pipe segment into the central opening of the rotary spider opening and that will close to align the pipe segment for connection with the pipe string held in the wellbore by the spider.

There is also a need for a spider having a mechanism that will assist in alignment of a pipe segment with a pipe suing for threadable attachment with minimal assistance from workers on the rig floor.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Applicant proposes a pipe or top guide for a rotary spider of a drilling rig that moves in response to a linear actuator. The top guide is to facilitate orientation and placement of pipe segments into the central opening of the rotary spicier when making up a pipe string in a wellbore. The top guide disclosed is comprised of a protective housing mounted on the top of the rotary spider, an extendable and retractable guide plate slidably mounted within the protective housing, a double acting linear actuator pivotally attached between the protective housing and the slidably mounted guide plate; and an adjustable mount for releasable attachment of the linear actuator to the guide plate whereby the extension of the guide plate is may be adjusted. Preferably the double acting linear actuator will be a hydraulic or pneumatic cylinder having an extendable and retractable piston rod that will extended and retracted the guide plate into and out of the protective housing in response to hydraulic or pneumatic pressure in the cylinder.

The adjustable guide plate has a gripping surface that corresponds with a gripping surface on the mount. The adjustable guide plate allows the range of extension of the guide plate from within the protective housing to be adjusted to engage pipe segments in desired a range of pipe diameters. This reduces the need to adjust the pipe guide each time a pipe change is made in the drill string. When the guide plate is adjusted as desired it is held in place be a by a removable bolt or set screw. The protective housing serves the dual purpose of providing a drive or anchor surface for the actuating cylinder and a protective safety cover to prevent or reduce injury to workers by the extending and retracting guide plate.

Preferably the guide plate is a flat elongated plate with one end that serves as a pipe bumper. Extending the guide plate by actuation of the linear actuator will move the pipe bumper at the end of the guide plate to push against a suspended pipe segment. Preferably the pipe bumper at the end of the guide plate will have an angled or V-shaped open surface, As the guide plate extends, the V-shaped bumper of the guide plate will engage the suspended pipe segment and guide the pipe segment along the angled surface of the bumper to centrally align the pipe segment with the central opening of the rotary spider. The V-shaped configuration of the bumper allows for alignment of the suspended pipe segment even when the suspended pipe segment is axially offset from the center of the guide plate.

In operation, the top guide will preferably mounted in opposing pairs to the top of a powered rotary spider that is positioned within the rotary table opening of a drilling rig and used in conjunction with an elevator that is suspending a pipe segment for attachment to pipe string being held in a wellborn by the rotary spider. The top guide may also be utilized as a pipe alignment device on other types of pipe gripping devices such as over the central opening of an elevator or over the central opening of a tong.

The guide plate of the top guide may be adjusted by selective placement of the adjustable mount on the surface of the guide plate to provide a desired range of movement of the guide plate bumper toward and away from the central opening of the rotary spider. This allows the top guide to be configured to engage pipe segments in a desired range of pipe diameters. Once the position of the adjustable mount on the surface of the guide plate is adjusted as desired. A suspended pipe segment being held by an elevator may be moved and oriented over the central opening of the rotary spider for alignment with a wellbore pipe string by actuating the hydraulic cylinder of the top guides to extend the guide plates from within the protective housings to move the bumper of the guide plates outward toward the central opening of the rotary spider.

As the guide plates are extended, the V-shaped surface of the bumpers will contact a misaligned suspended pipe segment and continued extension of the guide plates will move the suspended pipe segment along the V-shaped surface of the bumper into alignment with a wellbore pipe string being held by the rotary spider. After the suspended pipe segment is properly oriented, the piston rod of the hydraulic cylinder may then be reversed to move the bumper of the guide plates out of engagement with the suspended pipe segment and back toward the protective housing.

While preferably two or more opposing top guides will be mounted to a rotary spider to orient and guide the suspended pipe segment, a single top guide may also be used. The hydraulic or pneumatic cylinders will preferably be operated by the same Or similar hydraulic or pneumatic control systems that are currently used to manipulate the hydraulic or pneumatic cylinders of powered spiders.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional view of the adjustable top guide apparatus of Applicant's invention.

FIG. 2 is an isometric rear view of the adjustable top guide apparatus of FIG. 1 with the protective housing omitted to shown the guide plate and linear actuator configuration.

FIG. 3 is an isometric rear perspective view of the adjustable top guide apparatus shown in FIG. 2 with the protective housing in place.

FIG. 4 is an isometric front perspective view of the adjustable top guide apparatus of FIG. 1 omitting the protective housing as to provide sufficient view.

FIG. 5 is an isometric front perspective view of the adjustable top guide apparatus of FIG. 1 including the protective housing.

FIG. 6 is a schematic end view of the adjustable top guide apparatus of FIG. 1.

FIGS. 7 and 8 illustrate movement of the guide plate of the top guide by extension and retraction of a linear actuator.

FIG. 9 is a schematic cross-section view of a pair of opposing top guides as shown in FIG. 1 that are mounted on the timing ring of a rotary spider positioned in the rotary table of a drilling

These drawings omit features that are well established in the art and do not bear upon points of novelty in the interest of descriptive clarity. Such omitted features may include pneumatic or hydraulic hoses, hose fittings, control valves, threaded junctures, weld lines, sealing elements pins and brazed junctures.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIGS. 1-6 show the adjustable top guide (10) of Applicant's invention The adjustable top guide (10) is comprised of an extendable and retractable guide plate (12) that is extended from and retracted into a protective housing (18) by a linear actuator having an extending and retractable actuator rod such as a hydraulic cylinder (15) having an extendable and retractable piston rod (16). Other types of linear actuators could be used in place of hydraulic cylinder (15) such as a double acting pneumatic cylinder or a screw-type mechanical actuator.

Top guide (10) is intended to be mounted on the top of a rotary spider such as to a timing ring or other component of a rotary spider such as a cover or on the top of another type of pipe gripping device such as a slip-type elevator or tong and preferably in opposing pairs for orienting a suspended length of pipe with a central opening of a rotary spider and with a wellbore pipe string being held by a rotary spider. However, the top guide (10) may be mounted on a rotary spider as a single top guide Of in groups of two Of MOM arrayed around a central opening of a rotary spider.

The guide plate (12) is an elongated plate having an upper surface (22). One end of the guide plate (12) serves as a bumper (23) that has a pipe contact surface 24). The cylinder (15) is adjustably attached to the upper surface (22) surface of guide plate (12) by a releasably attached clevis or mount (14). At least one removable set screw or removable bolt (20) is provided to releasably fix the mount (14) in a desired position On the guide plate (12). Hydraulic cylinder (15) is pivotally mounted to pivot blocks (13) on a protective housing (18) and the extendable and retractable piston rod (16) is pivotally mounted to mount (14). Protective housing (18) is positioned above and parallel to the guide plate (12) and covers the cylinder (15) and at least partially the guide plate (12). The protective housing (18) serves both as a housing or cover for cylinder (15) and the extending and retracting guide plate (12) and as a buttress or foundation for cylinder (15) during extension and retraction of guide plate (12) into and out of engagement with a pipe segment (not pictured). In the embodiment shown in the drawings, protective housing (18) has a top (19), with an under surface (2)), that is supported by a pair of sidewalls (17).

The protective housing (18) of top guide (10) may be mounted above a central opening of a rotary spider on any suitable mounting surface. A suitable surface for mounting the protective housing (18) may be a cover on a rotary spider, a timing ring of a rotary spider or, as shown in FIG. 6, a baseplate (34) that may be mounted on a rotary spider such as on a cover or tuning ring (42) of a rotary spider.

Mount (14) has a flange (26) for pivotal attachment of the piston rod (16) by means of pivot pin (28). Similarly, pivot blocks (13) are mounted to the under surface (21) of the top (19) protective housing (18) for pivotal attachment of the cylinder (15) by pivot pin (29) allowing pivotal movement of cylinder (15) during extension and retraction of the guide plate (12).

The guide plate 12) has upper surface) having a slip resistant surface (33), such as a toothed, scored, or abraded surface, that corresponded with a slip resistant (31) on the bottom of mount (14). With mount (14) secured to the guide plate (12) by removable bolt (20) and by slip resistant surface (31) upon slip resistant surface (33), retraction and extension of piston rod (16) of cylinder (15) will result in extension and retraction of (12) along shoulder (18a) and shoulder (18b) into and out of protective housing (18).

The guide plate (12) may also be slidably mounted on or slidably coupled with a machine slide (39). As shown in FIG. 6, in one embodiment guide plate (12) is slidably coupled with machine slide (39) comprised of a machine slide groove (15) in the guide plate (12) and a machine slide rail (37) on the baseplate (34) mounted on timing ring (42) of a rotary spider. The position of the groove (35) and the rail (37) comprising machine slide (39) may be reversed so that the groove (35) is on the baseplate (34) and the rail (37) is on the guide plate (12). The baseplate (34) could also be eliminated and the machine slide rail (37) or the machine slide groove 35) could be placed on the timing ring (42) of the rotary spider. Machine slide rail (37, and groove (35) insure proper alignment as the guide plate (12) is slidably extended and retracted.

Shoulder (18a) and shoulder (18b) on the sidewalls (17) also serve to guide and support the guide plate (12) along the protective housing (18) in a manner similar to machine slide (39). Shoulder (18a) and shoulder (18b) slidingly interact with the upper surface (22) of guide plate (12) as the guide plate (12) slides along sidewalls (17) of the protective housing (18) by the extension and retraction of piston rod (16) of cylinder (15).

The pipe contact surface (24) of bumper (23) of guide plate (12) is preferable comprised of guide surface (24a) and a guide surface (24b) that intersect to create a V-shaped central recess (25) within which a length of pipe may be engaged and directed. A bumper (23) having V-shaped pipe contact surface allows for the engagement and centering of misaligned pipe segments by extension of the guide plate (12). The guide surfaces (24a, 24b) forming the V-shaped pipe contact surface (24) could also be curved to create a C-shaped or U-shaped pipe contact surface having a central recess (25).

FIG. 7 and FIG. 8 illustrate the retraction and extension of guide plate (12) of top guide (10) mounted on the surface of the timing ring (42) of a rotary spider. As shown, the protective housing (18) of the top guide (10) is fixedly attached to the top surface of the timing ring (42) and the machine slide grove (35) of guide plate (12) is slidably engaged with machine slide rail ($7) that is fixedly attached on the timing ring (42). Mount (14) is positioned upon the slip resistant surface (33) on upper surface (22) of guide plate (12) to provide a desired extension of guide plate (12) and secured by removable bolt (20). With mount (44) grippingly engaged to ,t) guided plate (12) and pivotally affixed to piston rod (16) and with pivot blocks (13) of protective housing 18) pivotally affixed to cylinder (15), guide plate (12) will extend and retract with respect to protective housing (18) by the extension and retraction of piston rod (16). The extension of piston rod (16) will push the guide plate (12) inward into protective housing (18). Similarly, the retraction of piston rod (16) into cylinder (15) will pull the guide plate (12) outward from the protective housing (18).

Extension of guide plate (12) will engage an angled guide surface (24a) or guide surface (24b), or both, on pipe contact surface (24) of bumper (23) with a suspended pipe segment that is offset from the central recess (25) of the V-shaped pipe contact surface (24) of bumper (23) and gradually drive the suspended pipe segment into central recess (25) and into alignment with the guide plate (12).

FIG. 9 shows schematic cross-section diagram of a rotary spider (40) mounted in the opening (O) of rotary table (R) of a drilling rig In this depiction the rotary spider (40) has a timing ring (42), tapered slip supports shown as slip bowl (41), and tapered slips (46) slidably mounted on the slip bowl (41) around a central opening (44) that support a pipe string (PS) in a wellbore. A pair of opposing top guides (10) are shown mourned of the timing ring (42) of the rotary spider (40) adjacent the central opening (44) of the rotary spider.

The guide plate (12) of each top guide (10) is shown pulled outward from die protective housing (18) by retraction of the extendable and retractable piston rod (16) to a position over the central opening (44) of the rotary spider (40) and the surrounding tapered slips (46). In this position the V-shaped pipe contact surface (24) of bumpers (23) of each guide plate (12) has engaged the outer surfaces of suspended pipe segment (P) that extends longitudinally above the rotary spider (40) from an elevator not shown).

When each guide plate (12) is extended to engage a bumper (23) with the suspended pipe segment (P), the bumper (23) will thereby move the pipe segment (P) toward the central opening (44) of the rotary spider (40) and it into alignment with and connection to pipe string (PS) retained by the rotary spider (40). The guide plates (12) may then retracted away from the central opening (44) by extending the piston rod (16) to allow for insertion of another pipe segment (P). Use of top guide (10) will increase the safety of rig workers by reducing the need to manually move the (P) to force it into alignment with the pipe string (PS).

The piston rod (16) of each cylinder (15), whether hydraulic or pneumatic, is extended and retracted as desired by moving a pressurized fluid or gas, through pressure lines, into and out of each cylinder (15) at fluid inlet and exit ports positioned above and below a cylinder piston connected to each piston rod (16). The flow of pressurized fluid or gas into and out of each cylinder (15) will be provided and controlled by a conventional manifold system comprised of flow lines, pumps, reservoirs, control valves and switches. Preferably the movement of the piston rod (16) of each cylinder (15) will be synchronized but the manifold system may be configured to move the piston rod (16) of each cylinder (15) independently of the other.

Having thus described exemplary embodiments of the present in it should be noted by those skilled in the art that the within disclosures are exemplary only, and that various other alternatives, adaptations, and modifications may be made within the scope of the present invention. Accordingly, the present invention is not limited to the specific embodiments as illustrated herein, but is limited only by the following claims.