Pipe handling is one of the most critical operations on an oil rig, it is integral that this process is effectively managed to maintain operational efficiency and reduce the risk of dropped pipe incidents.
There are several companies which offer pipe handling solutions; these can range from traditional, manually operated systems to more sophisticated robotic, semi-automatic systems.
One of the most risky processes in pipe handling is when the drilling pipe is lifted vertically and placed into rows on the fingerboard where it is secured in place by the latch system. Latches are by default positioned in the closed position and can be opened by the machine operator by sending a signal to the operating box located on the derrick to activate a solenoid and move the latch into the open position. The machine operator handling the vertical pipe racking will be sent back a signal from the control box indicating that the solenoid has been activated and the latch should therefore be in the open position, however after time latches can commonly become seized or experience issues with leaking hydraulic pipes.
As a safeguard when handling pipe many drilling contractors will operate with a spotter based on the rig deck to provide a visual indicator to the operator of latch position, however latches are quite often very high off of the ground and are extremely difficult to spot even in fair conditions which is where dropped pipe incidents can occur.
Salunda has developed a robust solution to this issue by developing the Latch Hawk: a robust sensor to provide a direct measurement of the latches position.
The sensors can be retro-fitted to a variety of different latches on the fingerboard to ensure pipe handling equipment remains engaged until latch is in the appropriate position drastically improving safety and efficiency.
Find out more about Salunda’s Latch Hawk system by visiting the product page below.