Coating extends life and improves performance of drilling tools

Paul Boughton

Hardide Coatings has developed an innovative coating to extend the life and improve the performance of drilling tools operating in extremely abrasive environments. This is the first successful high performance coating for TSP (thermally stable polycrystalline) diamonds which can withstand the higher temperatures associated with TSP brazing, extreme loads and aggressive media.

This will enable a new generation of diamond-based hardfacing materials to be deployed in extremely abrasive wear and erosive conditions such as horizontal and directional drilling, as well as fracking. Improved tool performance will enhance the viability of more challenging or marginal oil and gas reserves.

Hardide Coatings CEO Philip Kirkham said: “Drilling activity is taking place in deeper and more demanding conditions than ever before and tools need protection from extreme abrasive wear and erosion that current hardfacing materials can no longer provide.

“Some critical drill string components need replacement after every drilling programme, so the new coating application will reduce expensive maintenance and down time costs of drilling projects. This will in turn boost the economics of smaller and more mature oil and gas fields, such as those in the North Sea.”

Diamonds are notoriously difficult to attach and are prone to oxidation and graphitisation, limiting their hardfacing use to date. Previous attempts to solve these problems have been unsuccessful due to the porosity of other coatings and their weak adhesion to the diamonds. Hardide-D overcame these hurdles with its pore-free tungsten carbide based adhesive and protective coating which chemically bonds to diamond and has good wettability with brazing alloys.

The coating was developed in the company’s Oxfordshire manufacturing facility following several years of fundamental research.  The production process was developed with the support of a Technology Strategy Board (TSB) ‘Smart’ grant for up to £250,000 which was awarded in January 2013. The technology is covered by new UK and international patent applications.

Hardide Coatings has signed a mutually exclusive five-year supply agreement with hardfacing specialists Cutting & Wear Resistant Developments Limited of Sheffield for its use in oil and gas applications.

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