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Saving Trips Down the Hole with the Prism Wedge

posted by Rod McCoremick, Blog author, Fordia Powered by Epiroc

June 21, 2021

Directional drilling technology has certainly come a long way in the mineral exploration world, with Gyro-guided tooling and the ability to core while steering the borehole.  There have never been so many options and methods of steering a hole. One of the oldest methods of directing a borehole - wedging - remains an important tool in the drillers box!  Wedges are commonly used to kick the hole trajectory back on line or to scoot past lost tooling in the hole. For one of our customers, the Prism directional wedge was the perfect tool for their needs.

Laframboise Drilling is a private drilling company in northern Ontario. They had started a contract drilling for ore bodies. They had found an ore body and were looking for adjacent deposits. The team had drilled a mother hole and the plan was to use the wedge to deflect from the mother hole at certain depths.  In this way they could explore the surrounding ground at a particular depth without having to drill a new hole from the surface each time. This would save them hundreds of meters of unnecessary drilling. You can read how this was done in more detail here.

So, how does it work? The Prism wedge has a two-stage locking device. The first stage locks the wedge at the chosen depth, anywhere in the borehole, without having to use cement or resin. The second stage locks in the direction of the wedge facet. The wedge is not retrievable and stays in the hole. The Prism wedge is split in the middle, with a threaded connection just above the wedge face. This makes it easier to transport and install in shorter sections.

Usually, the use of a wedge requires multiple trips down the hole, but that’s not the case with the Prism. With the Prism wedge, the driller can lock the wedge at any point in the bore hole, orient the wedge and anchor the face in the desired direction, all in one trip. This allows the drill team to save a lot of time and makes it safer.

For Laframboise Drilling, this ability to reduce the number of trips down the hole was the reason they chose the Prism, and they were not disappointed. The team benefited from a 60% savings in time. They usually had to make three trips and with the Prism, the number of trips dropped to one. They did their wedging during the night shift so that the next shift would be ready for drilling in the morning.

We are always happy to hear that one of our customers had great success with our products. Our goal has always been to help improve drilling performance and make drillers’ lives easier. The Prism does that. There is also a Prism core bit that you can use with the wedge that you can learn about here. If you want to learn more about how Laframboise Drilling used our Prism wedge, click here. If you have questions about the wedge or need guidance of any kind, you can always reach out to our technical team.

Fordia 2021 Hole Deviation Hole Deviation System