In the drilling industry, elevators are essential for drilling operations. They are hinged devices used to lift and lower piping, casing and tubes, and any issues can bring drilling to a halt. However, there are other tools that can be used along with elevators to ensure safety and maintenance. In this article, we will discuss beckets and bails, and how they contribute to the overall rigging process.
Elevators in the Drilling Process
Elevators are clamps that grip rods, casing, or drill pipe so they can be lowered into the drilling hole. Many elevators come with slips, or spiders, that grip the drill pipe to add additional support when being lowered. Elevators are produced in different series, depending on how they’re made. The Y series, for example, features slip-type elevators (mentioned above), while the G series models are center latch elevators.
Purpose of Beckets and Bails
The becket is an inverted U-shaped bar used to suspend pipe elevators from ears of the traveling block. Bails are made of straight rods that have eyes on both ends. These bails come in two sets that are attached to the elevator. Essentially, one eye of each bail is attached to the becket through two holes on each side (ears), while the other ends are attached to the elevator.
If the beckets are attached to the traveling block, they can be kept away from an elevator currently in use to lower the pipe into the ground. The resulting working distance allows for more room for the crew to work with, reducing risk for injury. This is the most valuable benefit from using beckets and bails.
Similar to other equipment, beckets and bails some in a variety of sizes so you can find the best fit for your elevators. Bails can reach a carry capacity of over 750 tons, and come in a variety of eye sizes, ranging from small (e.g. six feet) to very large (e.g. 60 feet plus).
Though beckets and bails are great to use with elevators, other tools are available for additional support. Dollies, for example, are used to handle drill collars more efficiently without needing to remove links from the elevators. Safety clamps can also be used to prevent drill pipe or collars from falling into the hole while breaking or making the string.
Safety with Elevators
While all these tools can be used together to make your oil rig more efficient, it’s also important to follow safety guidelines. Below are a couple safety tips related to using elevators:
- The rig operator should inspect the elevator before each use to check for any issues. If any are found, the elevator should be removed.
- Elevators should be equipped with safety or positive latches to avoid unintentional disengagement of pipes.
- Elevators need to be free of projections to prevent them from getting caught on any other rigging equipment.
- If the kelly is in the rathole, the swivel bail needs to be away from the elevators to prevent interference or damage.
Keystone Energy Tools produces two types of beckets. The standard becket can be used with standard drill pipe elevators, and the extended shank beckets are used for tall, hydraulic elevators. Keystone also produces three types of bails, varying in length (36-42 inches) and weight capacity (100 and 150 tons).
Elevators and related handling equipment are a necessary part of the drilling process, as they are used to move drill pipe into position for lowering into the hole. Beckets and bails help facilitate this process, allowing for adequate working distance. With a variety of becket and bail sizes to chose from, there’s no reason why your elevators should operate without them.