Laser powder deposition technology enhances oil & gas drill stabiliser reconditioning
TLM Laser’s Andy Toms explains how Alpha Laser’s cladding and hardening technology – distributed by the company in the UK and Ireland – brings significant benefits to the maintenance and repair of drilling components for the oil and gas industry.
The oil and gas industry remains at the heart of our energy production with facilities spanning the globe. Extracting these valuable resources however requires extensive drilling, sometimes to depths of thousands of feet.
This places great demands on the equipment used to perform the drilling operations, subsequently leading to an ongoing requirement for maintenance and repair to essential components such as drill stabilisers.
Drill stabilisers are an important part of the equipment used in the bottom hole assembly of a drill string. As the name suggests, their function is to mechanically stabilise the drill assembly within the borehole, enhancing the service life of the drill bit, avoiding deviation from the intended path and maintaining the quality of the hole being drilled. Although there are various different types of stabiliser, they usually comprise of a main body and stabilising blades, generally manufactured from high-grade steel, with the blades hard-faced for wear resistance.
As one might imagine, when in use these vital and high value components can sustain significant wear from abrasion and therefore require re-working to once again build up the protective hard abrasive resistant materials. Traditional methods of repairing these important components include welding and plasma transfer arc systems, however the latest generation of Fiber lasers from manufacturer Alpha Laser bring a new and highly efficient dimension to metal cladding / deposition and hardening applications.
The laser makes it possible to quickly and efficiently coat even large surfaces.
Lasers are at work in almost every sphere of manufacturing sectors so it’s no surprise therefore to find them playing a key role in the manufacture and repair of components for the oil and gas sector.
The fiber lasers used in Alpha Laser’s AL-TW, AL-FLAK and AL-ROCK laser systems (see below) deliver the high power (450 / 900 watts) required for laser powder deposition welding, a process which offers a wide range of benefits for applications such as the repair of drill stabilisers.
The laser makes it possible to quickly and efficiently coat even large surface areas with powder deposit welding on high value components that require repair or reconditioning. Unlike some alternative technologies, the localised and controlled heat affected zone produced by the laser does not impact the mechanical properties of the surrounding material. This also ensures that component distortion is avoided. In addition, the repeatability and precision of the process guarantees consistent quality on each and every part.
Alpha Laser have a range of systems which have already established an enviable reputation for laser welding, and which can also be used as powder coating systems. The AL-TW is an open system that provides the highest levels of flexibility within a workshop environment. The high levels of stability inherent within the system allows the precision focusing required to achieve the best results at all times. The AL-FLAK is an extremely robust laser welding system with a high laser power and large reach. The innovative movement mechanism and the projecting laser arm make it possible to work easily on large components, either manually or in programmed mode.
TLM offers Alpha Laser's range of systems which are ideally suited to laser deposition welding applications. Left: AL-TW, Centre AL-FLAK and Right: AL-ROCK.
The AL-ROCK also boasts high laser power and large reach. The combination of the ability to move the system under its own power, the articulated robot arm, plus the systems 3D scanning head make it possible to easily work on large components, performing either deposit welding or hardening processes in three dimensions. The area to be processed can be easily programmed, using the scanner software, by simply selecting the area that you wish to scan. The robot then moves the scanner automatically to the marked area over multiple tracks. The result is a real-time 3D model. The operator then simply configures the process-relevant parameters, after which the program is simulated virtually.
These highly flexible, powerful and precise laser systems are available from Bromsgrove based TLM Laser, Alpha Laser’s UK and Ireland distributors, and just part of the comprehensive range of laser based technologies and systems offered by the company.