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How to Extend Drilling Equipment Life While Waiting for New Parts

posted by the Epiroc Exploration & OreBody Solutions team

November 1, 2021

Waiting for new drilling equipment can take longer than usual these days. Supply chains everywhere are being negatively impacted by external events far more frequently than ever before. Disruptive events, like the recent pandemic, are causing potential disruption to business activity and the drilling and mining industries are not immune. Delays are now common for drilling equipment especially those made with steel, such as drill rods, inner and outer tubes, etc. We thought it would be a good idea to offer some suggestions on how to extend the life of your drilling equipment.  With these tips, you can squeeze every last bit of life out of your parts while you wait for the new equipment to arrive.


Inspect and maintain

Preventing problems is always easier and less expensive and this really applies to drill rods. Simple, regular and easy-to-perform preventive maintenance can help increase the lifespan of your rods and other equipment as well. From the get-go, take care when unpacking, moving or storing your equipment.

When it comes to the threads on your drill rods, remember that they are a finely tooled joint. Dents can occur on the pin and box thread ends when two drill rods hit each other. “Stabbing” is another common problem that occurs when two rods are being made up and the pin “stabs” the box and damages both rods. These rods can then damage others if they are not repaired or removed from the system. Make sure your threads are clean, and free of dust and debris and do not forget to apply thread compound at every make and break.


Show your threads a little love

The use of a good thread compound is a must as it will help reduce galling and leaking and will extend the life of your drill rod threads. Thread compound should also be used on other equipment such as casing, running gear, bolts, etc. Remember that thread compound is not grease. The best kind to use is an anti- seize thread compound with 50% zinc particle content that will provide anti-seize performance and will resist water washout, rust and corrosion.


Lubricate your drill rods

Lubrication is one of the simplest ways to extend the life of your drilling equipment, especially drill rods. Lubrication of the drill string and interior components is best done with a simple mix of Matex polymer and Torqueless. This will reduce vibration at the bit, reduce borehole torque, lubricate the string within the borehole, keep all steel parts, the bit and shell, as well as the wireline cable, free of rust, dirt, debris grease, sticky clay, etc. all while encapsulating the cuttings and flushing them to the surface. For those who have not experienced what a simple and precise mud program looks like, why not reach out to our technical team for a demonstration!

For those of you who are old school “greasers”, the grease that you use for drill rods should be extra-tacky, should not liquefy in extreme heat or pressure and should be able to withstand extreme cold as well.  You should note that the 2 methods don’t mix! 

If you decide to grease, then be aware that the Torqueless will counteract with the tacky rod grease and strip it all off the rods to be flushed out with the return water.  Remember, nothing sticks when using Torqueless!


Lubricate some more

In addition to drill rod grease, you should always have a multi-purpose grease on hand so you can lubricate other tools and equipment, including the insides of core barrels. A good film of lubrication will keep equipment running smoothly and will reduce wear and tear. Whichever one you choose, make sure it is made for high pressure applications and has excellent water resistance.


Use polymers

The use of a good polymer program will go a long way in helping to extend the life of all in-hole equipment and its importance cannot be stressed enough.  Different ground conditions will dictate the use of different polymers. In-hole problems like swelling clays, running sands, broken ground and more are all mitigated with a consistent mix of the right polymers.  A product such as Torqueless will also reduce in-hole torque, which leads to longer life of your drilling equipment. Torqueless is an environmentally safe product can be used alone or in combination with other additives, to help bind polymers, lubricate, reduce wear and rusting of the rods and cool the core bit.

These suggestions should help you get more from your drilling equipment, and hopefully keep you going while waiting for new equipment. Remember that even once delivery times return to normal, these tips and products should be used to keep your operations cost-effective. Our technical support team can help suggest products or help you start a mud program. Don’t hesitate to contact them. Our goal is to make drillers’ lives easier.

Extending Bit Life Additives & Lubricants Fordia 2021