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Cable guiding in vertical drilling rigs: From service loop to e-loop

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2 Introduction A power and signal supply system for heavy-duty applications is an example of the creativity of design engineers and how quickly they implement their ideas in the heavy machinery industry. Originally developed for a very specific application in deep-drilling rigs, the system was used just a short time after its market launch in such applications as bucket wheel excavators, ship unloaders, and offshore wind turbines. These systems require energy supply systems that are extremely resistant to wind, shocks, impacts, and tensile forces. The task was clear: the user wanted a more robust, durable alternative to the "service loops" in common deep drilling rigs (picture 1). These loops are wrapped, molded cable packages connected to a fixed point on the drilling rig, freely suspended in the mast. In "top drive" design drilling rigs, they supply energy, signals, and fluid media to the top drive. They do this under extremely adverse conditions, such as vibrations, irregular mechanical stresses and heavy contamination. Depending on the drive concept (electric/hydraulic), the cables are divided into several "loops": for the electrical energy, for the signal cables and for the hydraulic system. Combined loops are also common. Development goal: greater reliability for hanging energy supply systems The aim of the new development, which igus ® presented for the first time at a trade show in 2019, was the durability and reliability of the energy supply. The drilling rigs work 24/7, and every unscheduled downtime results in losses in the availability and productivity of the rig. The required high availability is not easy to achieve under the adverse environmental conditions described above. A central factor is the avoidance of "set-up times" during which production, i.e. drilling and pumping, cannot take place. Therefore, the "rig- moving times" should be kept as short as possible by designing the rigs in such a way that they can be quickly dismantled and reassembled at another location. Picture 3 The high-tensile composite design principle for strain relief used in the e-loop ® series has already proven itself in a heavy-duty e-chain system ® for offshore wind turbine installations. Source: igus ® GmbH Picture 2 The robust, durable alternative: e-loop ® . Source: igus ® GmbH Picture 1 Service loops used to be the standard solution to supply energy to top drive drilling rigs. Source: igus ® GmbH

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