Redesign of Housing Installation onto Downhole Tool

Photo of Austin Chen, Christopher Mayer, Rush McNair, Douglas Novy Students: Austin Chen, Christopher Mayer, Rush McNair, Douglas Novy

Sponsor: Schlumberger

Date: Fall 2012

Requirements:
The solution must handle a tool four times its weight, resulting in a safety factor of four. During the housing installation process, the housing must be concentrically aligned with the tool. The housing must have rotational freedom relative to the downhole tool in order for the tool and housing threads to mate properly. In addition, there must be sufficient pressing force to push the housing onto the tool. The housing installation time must be reduced from the previous process, which took approximately 30 minutes. The new process must require only one technician to operate. The manual labor tasks required of the technician must be acceptable for 75% of the male population according to the Liberty Mutual tables. The team was also constrained from modifying the downhole tool and housing design. The solution must be realizable within a budget of $5,000. The solution must fit on the existing workbench and not interfere with any other tools or assemblies. In addition, the team must ensure that there are no safety risks the newly redesigned process.

Problem:
Schlumberger, at their Sugar Land manufacturing facility, has a standard operating procedure for assembling the Mechanical Sidewall Coring Tool (MSCT) and installing a housing onto it. However, there are several steps of the process that can be improved. This project focuses on reducing inefficiencies and safety hazards present during the housing installation process. The team identified that most inefficiencies and safety hazards in the current process resulted from using a crane to transfer the MSCT from support U-blocks to an alignment rail. The crane's operation is slow and the crane must be manually guided to the workbench. Additionally, while the crane is in operation, people around the work area must don hard hats and are distracted by a loud beeping sound. The alignment rail was found to occupy an excessive amount of space on the workbench. Therefore, our team worked to improve the assembly process by eliminating the need for a crane and reduce the alignment rail's footprint.

Solution:
The proposed process redesign involves replacing the U-Blocks with modules consisting of rail segment inserts. These modules each consist of two rail segment supports and two spacer inserts. The rail segments are short lengths of the existing alignment rail. The spacer inserts raise the downhole tool to the correct height for the housing to be installed from the alignment rail. The modules with the Motor Pump and Hydraulic sections of the tool connect with latches. A notch in one of the rail segments allows a chain strap to come through and secure the downhole tool against the forces that arise during housing installation. The alignment rail slides under the Motor Pump tool section and latches onto the module. The technician then imports the housing and force-producing mechanism (FPM). The FPM pushes the housing along the rail and pushes the spacer inserts. When the housing is fully mated with the Hydraulic section of the tool, the housing installation is complete. Our solution eliminates the need for a crane while simultaneously improving safety.

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