In 2017, world oil demand grew on the quickest charge in a decade, rising to 1.5 million bpd based on a report from the International Energy Agency. This continued demand for oil and gasoline is pushing exploration and extraction deeper and additional into distant areas of the world. Here, Graham Mackrell, managing director of Harmonic Drive UK, seems to be on the technological challenges and the way excessive precision gearing is being more and more used to drill deeper.


Lying within the western Pacific Ocean, south of Japan and north of New Guinea, is an archipelago generally known as the Mariana Islands. An unassuming assortment of underwater volcanic peaks spanning a width of solely 43 miles, it harbours the Mariana Trench, the deepest a part of the world's oceans.

Although not many life kinds survive down right here, it's humbling to suppose that the oil extracted from 1000’s of wellheads in equally deep abysses the world over, sustains nearly all of human life on the floor above.

However, having exhausted reserves in lots of subsea oil fields, the stress is now constructing on extraction firms to drill deeper and for longer, to acquire each final drop of the black gold. Existing gear is just not at all times rated for operation within the excessive temperatures, pressures and related logistics of deep sea extraction.

This is creating technological challenges all the way in which from the highest to the underside of the availability chain. From topside platforms to subsea buildings and all the way in which additional downhole to the directional drill bit, authentic gear producers (OEMs) face the problem of growing gear that may stand up to the tough surroundings.

Having encountered these challenges during the last forty years in growing our precision gearing programs and actuators at Harmonic Drive, we're at present experiencing a rising demand from the oil and gasoline sectors as they transfer away from conventional hydraulic actuation programs in direction of electro-mechanical actuation programs. Gearing primarily based electrical actuation is extra economical, ecological, controllable and extra dependable than conventional hydraulic actuation programs.

Starting topside, a single platform might be only one piece in a big extraction software spanning lots of of miles. The positional antenna programs that allow radio communication between the platform, vessels and onshore groups usually undergo from inaccuracy attributable to gearing with backlash traits.

This downside could be solved utilizing a Harmonic Drive servo actuator. Its distinctive building presents a mixture of fastened Circular Spline, Flexible Spline and elliptical Wave Generator Bearing, excessive discount ratios could be achieved in a single stage. This concurrently eliminates backlash and will increase accuracy, all in a servo motor pushed compact unit full with suggestions sensor.

As we depart the uneven floor of the ocean and dive deeper, subsea functions fluctuate from remotely operated autos (ROVs) all the way in which as much as everlasting subsea buildings unfold over many miles.

As cameras start to be more and more used along with robotic arms and manipulators on ROVs, we’re seeing a rising development of changing hydraulic actuators with electrical actuators to benefit from the elevated accuracy and controllability.

Finally, drilling by way of the seabed takes us downhole into the complicated world of subsea oil fields. As the oil ranges in shallow fields start to decrease there’s a drive to drill into deeper reserves. The downside is that the deeper oil is unfold sporadically over huge distances, usually in horizontal pockets. Using a steady vertical wellbore is just not possible and so the idea of directional drilling was developed.

Rotary steerable programs (RSS) “point-the-bit” know-how makes use of Harmonic Drive part units to fluctuate the angle of inclination of the drill bit. This flexibility permits operators to attain complicated 3D properly designs, connecting a number of marginal targets for prime quantity, environment friendly restoration. The excessive discount ratio and annular design of the part makes it very best for this…

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