Most people know the basics of drilling – there’s a drill bit that rotates while moving through a surface to create a cylindrical hole. The range of drilling rig uses is extensive, and this article on what drilling rigs are used for provides a few applications. However, this article will focus on a few of the standard parts of a drilling rig – each serving a specific purpose that, when combined, facilitate successful exploratory drilling…
Usually the first component of the drilling rig people notice, the mast is a tall fabricated structure towering above all the other drilling components. The mast is vitally important, as it supports the components of the drilling mechanism hovering above the point where drilling will take place.
The drilling line, essentially a thick metal cable, is threaded through the crown block (at the top of the mast) and travelling blocks (suspended above the top drive) and is responsible for raising and lowering the drill string.
The top drive is a rotational motor suspended between the travelling blocks and the drill pipe. The top drive replaced the rotary table (which turns the drill string during drilling) and it lessens the manual labour involved in the industrial drilling process.
The drill pipe is a cylindrical casing that houses the drill string. Drill pipes facilitate wellbore drilling, revolving the drill bit and circulating the drilling fluid as the drilling process is occurring. Drill pipes are also used to extract samples from the earth.
The typical drill bit used in industrial drilling is specially designed to break or crush rock and other subterranean materials as it moves further and further underground. This is found rotating at the end of the drill string and is the part that performs the actual drilling.
Two thirds of the way up the mast is a small platform known as the monkey board. Here, a person known as the ‘derrick man’ is responsible for assisting with the pipe replacement procedure on drilling rigs that don’t feature hands-free rod handlers.
The catline boom is often a metal arm protruding from the mast with a drilling line attached. The catline boom is used to lift heavy equipment from the ground to where it is needed along the drilling process. This is done mechanically and is often used to lift drill pipes.
Catch part two of our ‘parts of a drilling rig’ series next month, where we discover more essential exploratory drilling rig components and their specific drilling applications. For more information on sourcing drilling rig equipment and spares in South Africa, please feel free to contact Bohrmeister right here.