New control system allows drillers to ergonomically manage drilling process

Posted on 28 August 2013

By Katie Mazerov, contributing editor

Omron Oilfield & Marine, a provider of land-based power conversion systems, controls and information platforms, has developed a new integrated control and monitoring system that allows drillers to more ergonomically manage all aspects of the drilling process, and operators to customize various features for their specific drilling needs. Omron expects the system to be operational by the end of the year.

The PRECISE automated drilling system, which can be installed on any rig that has an AC drive, is designed to drill wells more safely and with less downtime, all from one control and monitoring system, explained Fergus Hopwood, director of research and development for Omron. “This system has the same features as current control systems, but it allows drillers to carry out their normal, day-to-day job functions in a more comfortable way, by having access to all the equipment on the rig in a user-friendly environment,” he said. “Our customers have given us a lot of feedback, and among the improvements they want to see is a system where the driller is more in control of the equipment with less effort, to make the process more efficient. This is the direction industry is heading.”

PRECISE represents a shift from control systems that have been developed over the last 10 years, Mr Hopwood continued. “Conventional systems have included a mixture of features, including multiple roll-up chairs with pods attached to the sides of the chair,” he said. “Drillers often have to stand up to look at various panels and go back and forth between the various pieces of equipment and the monitors. This system, all housed in the rig cab, allows the driller to sit down in one chair to monitor and control all functions of the drilling process.”

Less downtime

Because the system manages everything from power-generation to tool control, one team can support the entire package to respond to issues, such as generator or draw works problems, which results in less non-productive time. The control system includes four monitors mounted on the driller’s chair, each focused on a different area, such as tripping, mud pumps, power-generation and power conversion to the drilling tools themselves. “The driller can understand exactly what the tools are doing at any given time, or if there are problems with the system,” Mr Hopwood said. For example, the driller can monitor third-party mud monitoring systems.

The PRECISE system also gives operators and drilling contractors the flexibility to customize all features of screens, joysticks, buttons and other components. “We will be able to work with the contractors to customize the system to their drilling needs for applications worldwide,” he said. “For example, if a contractor wants to integrate an air drilling package into their land rig design, we can give them the ability to select that feature.”

Operators also can put their own automation platforms on the top of the PRECISE system to truly automate drilling or directional drilling so they can optimize the operation, Mr Hopwood continued. Omron is working with operators to develop a way to control the system externally. PRECISE also will allow service companies and operators to integrate their software programs and languages into the system so they function efficiently.

Omron, founded in 1973, provides drilling products, field services, original equipment manufacturer  and after-market parts and customer training on automated drilling systems, AC generator line-up, controls systems, silicon control rectifiers and top drive line-up, variable frequency drive line-up and drillers’ chairs and consoles.

Cutline: Omron Oilfield & Marine’s new PRECISE  integrated control and monitoring system  allows drillers to more ergonomically manage all aspects of the drilling process, and operators to customize various features for their specific drilling needs. The system, housed in the rig cab, allows the driller to sit down in one chair to monitor and control all functions of the drilling process.

PRECISE is a trademarked term of Omron Oilfield & Marine.

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