Our last post was about ways to keep your equipment from being harmed by intense heat exposure. This post covers the importance of daily maintenance on the bread-and-butter of your operations: your down hole tools and their support equipment. We also discuss adequate preparation that should be made before each field operation, to ensure the greatest possible success.
Pre-Flight Equipment Prep
- Before you pack up your service vehicle, inspect all power cables, pigtail connections, bridle, tires, axle seals, etc. for damage and/or wear.
- Make sure everyone on your team been trained on how to do any potential field repairs and cable re-terminations.
- Perform a pressure test to check product for leaks. The product comes from the factory with a 7 psig charge of nitrogen that pressurizes the housing. This aids in preventing water from entering the unit, and the nitrogen—being inert (dry) gas—helps prevent condensation forming inside the unit. Over time and with use, the product will lose some of its pressure. If equipment will not hold pressure at all, this indicates a possible leak, discontinue use until the leak is found and repaired. Be sure your equipment is COOL prior to leak checking. Submerging a heated unit can cause a vacuum and actually invite water intrusion. Contact the factory for supporting documentation and instructions.
- Hardware should be checked PRIOR TO EACH USE. Failure to do so can cause major damage or loss of equipment, and costly downtime. Taking a few extra minutes to check all equipment hardware each time prior to performing an inspection can save hours of downtime, and keep equipment failures to a minimum.
- Generator set for summer? This setting is very important due to the heavy load from air conditioners. Refer to Generator User Manual.
Equipment Maintenance During Use
- Consumable spares – Always keep spare pigtails and top cables on your vehicle, so they’re with you in the field if needed. You should you stock at least one of each for a day job, and three for longer trips. You should also keep a spare termination kit for each inspection cable being used.
- Most hardware used to mount equipment—skids, wheels, etc.—is only good for a couple of uses, after which it loses its holding ability. This means that hardware used in high-stress areas, such as wheel retaining bolts, should not be used if any signs of wear on threads is observed. Better to replace it before starting a job than have it break down in the middle.
- IMPORTANT: Bolts with distorted threads will not hold torque on axle threads! They will loosen and fall out, causing the loss of transporter wheels in the pipe… a scenario no one wants to be part of. Truly, in this case more than others, if there’s any question at all about the integrity of these bolts, err on the side of caution and just replace them.
- Clean equipment EVERY TIME it is removed from a pipeline. The entire assembly should be washed.
- Most importantly, remove cameras from tractors and clean the camera mounting area at the end of each day. This is where debris and corrosion get trapped, and if left to deteriorate, will ultimately destroy (dissolve) the equipment.
- IMPORTANT: Do not spray down the cable reel! Water on the electronic controls can cause failure of this piece of equipment. Instead, carefully wipe it down with a damp cloth, remove any debris that may have built up as the cable was reeled in, and make sure the spindle is well-lubricated to move freely without seizing up.
If you follow these daily preparation and equipment maintenance routines, you’ll be ensuring optimal service life for the professional quality equipment you’ve invested in, and maximum results from its use.