MiniRig: Load Cells Array

Hassan Aoun

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

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A laboratory-scale drilling rig, MiniRig, is being developed by the Chair of Drilling and Completion at DPE Leoben, represents a major step forward in the field of drilling technology. The rig is designed to provide a unique and innovative solution for drilling operations, with a sprocket-and-chain hoisting system that is different from the conventional hoisting systems used in other drilling rigs. The key aspect of the rig's operation is the hook load, which is determined by the readings from the four load cells that are attached to the traveling block, where two load cells are attached on each of the two chains. To improve the accuracy of the load cell readings, the configuration of the load cells was carefully manipulated through Automation Studio. By applying a strain gauge factor with a higher resolution, the calculations of the digital values of the load cells were much more precise, allowing for a more accurate calculation of the actual mass suspended on each load cell and the hook load. The resulting calculation of the hook load is affected by the friction forces that are encountered by the traveling block as it moves along the vertical shafts. In order to gain a deeper understanding of the MiniRig's traveling block and hook load dynamics, a series of experiments were conducted. These experiments included a study of the block position, incrementally adding weigh, movement of the traveling block, WOB (weight on bit) application, and examination of the effect of tension in the load cell connections. The results showed that the position and direction of the block affect the hook load readings, and the friction of the block on the vertical shafts can reduce the weight measurements. Furthermore, the tension in the load cell connections has a noticeable impact on the readings. With the outcomes of these experiments, the MiniRig has now reached an operational state, with a thorough understanding of its traveling block and hook load dynamics. This information will be valuable in performing a drill off test, which requires the activation of the drill motor and the connection of the circulation system. Additionally, the MiniRig can be utilized for educational purposes and, in the future, will be fully automated with the development of a theoretical operating envelope. With its unique design and innovative features, the MiniRig is poised to play an important role in the field of drilling and completion, providing a new and effective solution for drilling operations.
Translated title of the contributionMiniRig: Wägezellen-Array
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Montanuniversität
  • Vita, Petr, Co-Supervisor (internal)
  • Keshavarz, Sahar, Co-Supervisor (internal)
  • Thonhauser, Gerhard, Supervisor (internal)
Award date30 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

no embargo


  • Lab-scale drilling rigs
  • MiniRig
  • Sprocket-and-chain system Hook load
  • WOB
  • Traveling Block

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