Forum Energy Technologies wanted to incorporate an emergency stop at the front of the tool where the operators work to make the shutdown feature easier to access.
Safety is critical in any application where workers interact with machinery and companies need to make these environments as safe as possible. Houston-based Forum Energy Technologies sought to improve the safety of its FloorHand iron roughnecks, widely used in the oil and gas industry for pipe handling. The original machine design had a safety system in place on the back side of the tool.
“We wanted to incorporate an emergency stop at the front of the tool where the operators work, to make the shutdown feature easier to access,” said Keith Jarvis, Forum Energy Technologies product specialist.
The company worked with hydraulic distributor Hydradyne LLC in Texas to add an emergency stop valve.
Emergency stops are crucial for machinery like the FloorHand because the high-power tools are manually operated and conditions are harsh. Acids and corrosives are used in the drilling process to maintain the wellbore integrity. If these chemicals have prolonged exposure to a hose, the hose could potentially fail and result in a high-pressure oil leak. The emergency stop valve at the operator’s panel will immediately contain and stop a leak.
Additionally, operators work in close proximity to the machine, which uses 80,000 ft-lb of torque to thread pipes together up to a mile long, in 30 to 90-ft. sections. Its operating pressure is 2,500 to 2,800 psi. If a hand or piece of clothing gets caught, instant shutdown is critical.
The distributor chose the stainless steel version of Doering’s manually-operated, three-way cartridge valves because of its ability to withstand the corrosive elements of the application. When the large knob on the valve is pressed, it instantly stops the machine by engaging a latching feature. This ensures that all hydraulics available to the machine are isolated, and places the machine in safety mode.
“Because of the harsh conditions on the rig, a stainless steel valve was the only solution that would work reliably as an emergency stop,” said Ron Holcomb, Hydradyne technical sales.