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Perkins engine powers revolutionary wellhead system

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Oilfield Technology,

A new remote hydraulic system that dramatically improves the safety of roughnecks during wellhead connections is being powered by an efficient Perkins engine distributed by Perkins Pacific.

FHE chose the Perkins 403F-11 diesel engine to power its RigLock™ system because of its compact size and power density. The extensive Perkins service network was also a key reason FHE chose Perkins.

Dan Snoke, FHE president, said of the Perkins engine, “It was the perfect engine for us.”

RigLock engineers spent almost two years designing the new system after hearing from customers who wanted to improve safety around wellhead connections and connection times.

The traditional wellhead connection often requires a worker to be suspended 20 to 30 ft in the air in a basket where they attempt to corral equipment that weighs thousands of pounds. The awkwardness of the job is compounded by the fact that the employee is working at a dangerous pinch point between the wellhead and equipment. Injuries are common. The process to connect one wellhead can take up to an hour.

FHE’s design team tested engines from four different manufacturers. The 1.1 l, 3-cylinder Perkins 403F-11 meets Tier 4 emission standards, is fuel efficient and had the lowest vibration of the engines tested. FHE has also used Perkins engines in other machines and found them to be reliable and durable.

The engine powers RigLock’s piston and cam system that connects surface equipment to a wellhead. The equipment is lowered from overhead and guided into the wellhead where six primary locking cams secure the connection. A secondary mechanical locking ring is lowered to anchor the cams. The locking system will remain in place even if hydraulic power is accidentally lost.

The entire process is handled by a single operator working from a safe distance away from the wellhead and takes about 60 sec. RigLock is also capable of handling three connections simultaneously.

“Working closely with our dealer, Diesel Services, we were able to find the right engine to meet FHE’s needs,” said Darin Schulz, Perkins Pacific sales manager. “It was a great project to be involved with.”

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