When an Oil and Gas Company wants a better understanding of the formation from which they are looking to produce from, taking a core sample
from that rock remains the best way to have the "reservoir in your hand". However, processing that core at the wellsite is an extremely
laborious and time-consuming task, full of inherent safety risks. One specific task that has always proved especially burdensome and
difficult to mitigate is the lifting and handling of the 3-foot (or 1-meter) tubes containing the core, once they have been segmented.
These tubes are generally in the range of 40 to 120 pounds each, depending on the core diameter. Currently, individuals lift core sections
and physically move the core, based on training describing proper lifting technique; this is cumbersome and very labor-intensive. In addition,
physically lifting these tubes continues to pose a risk to both personnel and core integrity. Shorter tubes may be considered to decrease
the weight being handled; however, such tubes may be undesirable from a core-analysis standpoint. Because of these challenges a process
and system for handling core sections was developed called the Iron CoreHand™.
The Iron CoreHand™ is a 100-percent self-contained, pneumatic-powered lifting system that completely eliminates the need for manual handling
of the core tubes by personnel. The system incorporates a simple and elegant solution for deployment of the arm from within the transport
container using the onsite crane or forklift. Once the container is in position within the work area, a single lift of the lid allows 4 pins
to be inserted and a small 3/8" air supply to be connected, making the unit fully functional and ready to operate. The container serves as
both the transport vessel for the unit and the counterweight for the manipulator arm.
Once deployed, the Iron CoreHand™ can transfer tubes weighing up to 150 pounds anywhere within a working area of approximately 30 feet by 10 feet,
without needing to be moved or repositioned. With the flip of a switch, the pneumatic arm can also pivot tubes from a horizontal position to a
vertical position for any vertical onsite plugging or sampling of the core the client might request.
All core-sample tube processing can now be performed free of risks associated with manual handling by personnel, and free from the risk of
core damage due to dropping or general rough handling of tubes. These traits of the Iron CoreHand™ make for the safest conditions for
personnel and best possible outcomes for the condition of the core, creating a win-win condition for both Core Lab and client. Providing
the best service possible while doing it safely and efficiently is what we strive for, and the Iron CoreHand™ is a technological leap forward
toward achieving those goals.
The Iron CoreHand™ has been successfully deployed 8 times in the DWGOM since its inception in Q2 2014. Utilizing the Iron CoreHand™,
Core Lab crews have been able to process over 2,600 feet of conventional core offshore without a single incident. This means that the unit
has lifted and transferred over 867 tubes of core (generally 3' in length, and weighing ~75 lbs.), without dropping or damaging the
geological rock samples inside. Of these 867 tubes, approximately 400 have been pivoted 90° to a vertical position - sampled with a
diamond drill bit - and then returned to horizontal, with the push of a pneumatic switch. On the projects where the Iron CoreHand™ was
deployed, the safety risks involved in the lifting and manipulation of core tubes was completely eliminated - ZERO
The National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) presented the
2019 Safety-inSeas (SIS) Safety Practice Award
to Core Laboratories in recognition of its Iron CoreHand™ Lifting Assist System.
"We applaud Core Laboratories for their safety leadership and are pleased to present the company with this prestigious award.
Core Laboratories has demonstrated that safety is priority number one, and their commitment to this goal was evident in the statistical
improvements they achieved since implementing the Iron CoreHand™ Lifting Assist System," said NOIA President Randall Luthi.
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