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Instrumentation, measurement and sensor integration challenge drilling systems automation

One of eight defined challenges of drilling systems automation is IMS – instrumentation, measurement and sensors. John Macpherson of Baker Hughes is leading the challenge group that is addressing the integration of IMS into the drilling system to deliver reliable and accurate data in a timely fashion. At the 2014 IADC Drilling Systems Automation Roadmap Workshop last week in Vienna, Mr Macpherson spoke with Drilling Contractor associate editor Joanne Liou about the group’s efforts and issues around ownership of surface sensors.

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  1. Instrumentation and the use of instruments to measure pressures are vital to maintaining accurate reading to keep drilling rigs turning. As we transition from hydraulic to digital instrumentation, there will still be a need for hydraulic instrumentation as a back up method of measurement until digital takes over completely. If a digital system goes down, then there needs to be a hydraulic back up; otherwise, components make break, costing a great deal of money. For example, a digital tong gauge is available, but if that system breaks down a universal tong line pull gauge can be put in place until the digital one can be repaired.

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