For years, the questions came consistently.
The process of running and pulling riser on offshore drilling rigs is one of precision and very necessary attention to detail. Technology has been at the forefront of that effort with so many companies looking for ways to make the process more efficient.
The goal was always the same, no matter the step in the procedures. Safer. More accurate. Faster.
One particular task was the bolting. Riser flanges obviously need to be connected (or disconnected) every so often so that they can be run to the ocean floor or taken and stored if pulling the string. The most common connection is a bolted one.
Torq/Lite developed a patented tool 20 years ago for this very reason. Dale Francis, who has almost 40 years of experience in bolting things together, released Torq/Lite’s RT Series riser tools in 1996, designed specifically for making up and breaking out riser bolts.
The RT Series has several innovative features, and has been in circulation since its introduction. Operated two at a time, with two men on either side, the riser tools allow you to work on two bolts at once. The riser tools quickly became the preferred method of bolting riser flanges because of their efficiency and safety improvements in completing this procedure. After all, the operation can be entirely hands-free after placing the tool on the bolt.
Still, the questions kept coming. Questions about automation.”How can we make this process automatic?”
“Is it possible to develop an automated system that can bolt a riser flange?”
“Is there a way to do all the bolts at once?”
Questions like these rang out across the industry, and one of those rings was the phone at Francis’s desk. When asked if it was possible to develop a system to do this — if he was capable of designing such a piece of equipment — his reply was short.
Today, Torq/Lite introduces its most innovative tool yet: the Robo-Spider. It is the world’s first fully-automated torqueing system, designed to make up or break out all riser flange bolts at once with the push of a button.
Six individually-programed modules work together in unison to locate, spin down, and torque all the bolts at one. When the string needs to be pulled, the Robo-Spider will locate, break loose, spin out, and store the riser bolts without the need of any technicians to be anywhere near the spider.
With six modules, you can torque all six bolts at one time, giving you extremely accurate preload on the flange connection. During testing, the Robo-Spider performed to +/- 3% accuracy when measuring the load on the bolt. Now riser flanges can be as strong as they were designed to be.
The Robo-Spider can complete the bolting process in about two minutes. Since it is doing all six bolts at once, that eliminates 66% of the time needed to bolt six bolts with two riser wrenches. Time saved is money saved.
The Robo-Spider is the first system of its kind, and with anything new, comes prototypes. The first Robo-Spider went out on the Sevan Louisiana in June of 2014. It was used for a year, and performed as expected, offering a safer, faster option to consider for the bolting process.
Sevan Louisiana Case Study
The crew especially, loved it.
Torq/Lite’s introduction of the Robo-Spider raises the bar for the standard of bolting riser flanges. When the questions came, Francis and his team not only gave the right answer, but delivered a patented design that removes injury from the equation, increases the integrity of the connection, and makes the process more efficient.
It is safer. It is more accurate. And it is faster.
Please let us know if you have any more questions.