TechFront New Developments in Manufacturing and Technology Oil Field Threading Demand on the Rise D
emand for oil field equipment technology for oil and gas industry applications like pipe and casing thread- ing grew by 33% in the US in 2012 according to esti- mates cited by EMAG LLC (Farmington Hills, MI and Leipzig, Germany). Production in the Gulf of Mexico is projected to rise from 1.3 million to 1.7 million bbl/day during the next decade, and growth in global oil reserves will continue at a high level globally in countries like Russia, Brazil and Vietnam, where capital investment today is measured in the billions of dollars. EMAG Leipzig Maschinenfabrik specializes in the so- phisticated turning equipment required to meet the demand for machining oil field delivery pipes and casings. “We are talk- ing about a gigantic production output,” said Frank Schiffler of EMAG Leipzig. “One steel mill pro- duces up to 2 million metric tons of pipes per annum. Component quality is paramount for these because the pipe threads have to be totally leakproof and must carry the enormous total weight of pipe and oil during the delivery.” EMAG’s USC series of turn- ing machines features sizes for complete machining of different sizes of pipes with external and
internal threads to API and GOST standards, as well as cutting all proprietary threads of the larger oil field technology produc- ers. Depending on the machine used, the max pipe diameter that can be threaded ranges from 2 to 20" (60–508 mm). “All workholding and centering equipment are configured to suit individual requirements,” said Schiffler. “The same applies to all automation components. As a result, the customer has a fast production solution that automatically loads and unloads the components in 12–20 seconds, depending on pipe size and thread type.” The three-part threading process from facing to chamfering and finally thread cutting is said to increase output substantially compared with traditional turning machines.
“There are two important factors that must be taken into account when machining threads on delivery pipes and cas- ings: processing quality and process integrity,” said Schiffler. “The whole process benefits from important EMAG design details: The machine base is made with Mineralit, a polymer concrete, and guaranteeing the stability and the vibration- resistance of all machine components. The main drive forms an integral part of the spindle unit. Its frequency-controlled, maintenance-free AC asynchronous motor provides a high torque rate, which allows for the simultaneous machining of both ends of the pipe.
EMAG USC series machines are optimized for thread cutting of oil field delivery pipes and casings in sizes ranging from 2 3/8 to 20” (60–508-mm) diameter.
The pipes are securely clamped in front and rear chucks that, depending on workpiece requirements, can be actu- ated pneumatically, hydraulically or mechanically. The pipe ends are stabilized during the machining process by the insertion of vibration-reducing mandrels, resulting in the highest possible precision.
When faced with high production rates, fast machining processes and expensive pipe blanks, machine downtime is particularly costly for the manufacturer. Process integrity of these machines is essential and a key development area for EMAG. “We design complete solutions for our customers,” said Schiffler. “In addition, we integrate, for instance, mea-