Down the Hole
Conditions inside an oil well are pretty intense with temperatures from 120°C–300°C and pressures to several thousand psi. However, monitoring the temperature inside the well is important to understand and control well behavior to achieve the best yield.
THE CHALLENGE Monitor temperature along the entire length of an oil well
A major oil manufacturer uses Agilent's distributed temperature sensing (DTS) system in their oil wells. The system links a sheathed fiber-optic cable to an optical read-out unit, which can be placed outdoors, next to the well, powered by a solar panel. The temperature measurements from the optical fiber allow you to correlate the known geothermal gradient with the mea-sured temperature and known well flow to identify which portions of the well are producing and which are experiencing diminishing flow.
Two-thirds of the world's oil is so-called heavy oil and to get this stuff moving up and out, steam is injected. Sometimes water can break through the strata around the well and cause localized cooling, at which point the oil can get stuck. Monitoring temperature along the entire length of the well allows you to spot when a breakthrough happens and take corrective measures.
What's 1650 m long, has a 114 m vertical drop, and supports an object that can reach a max. speed of 130 km/hr.? The answer is the bobsled run at San Sicario near Torino, Italy. The run, a concrete and steel structure, is covered with snow and then soaked with water. The bobsled, luge, and skeleton competitors slide on the resulting ice, powered only by gravity and their initial push-off at the start.
THE CHALLENGE Optimize the bends for an Olympic bobsled run
Before the February 2006 Olympics, officials wanted to optimize the bends in the run, so engineers from SeaTech Snc measured the vibration in the turns during a World Cup race held in January. The engineers created a triaxial sensor from three B12 acceleration transducers from HBM GmbH. This was clamped onto the free ends of the concrete steel reinforcement and then linked to an MGCplus amplifier system and notebook PC, sitting in the bed of a pickup truck. This arrangement allowed them to drive from measuring point to measuring point to acquire live test data.
The data obtained with 2- and 4-man bobsleds during the 23 runs of the World Cup race showed that the concrete structure exhibited only minor vibration behavior, which was the desired result.
Keeping Track of Motors
When you build 14,000 small engines a day, keeping track of them for QC purposes is pretty important. You want to spot problems before the final engine assembly stage and identify any missteps that occur during manufacture. Billy DePew, a manufacturing engineering technician at Briggs & Stratton Small Engine Facility in Poplar Bluff, MO, wanted to improve traceability of the plant's completed Quantum 4-cycle engines. In short, he wanted to be able to trace a nonconforming engine back to the pallet it was produced on, when it was produced, and on which shift, just in case other engines in the batch needed to be checked, too.
THE CHALLENGE Identify and trace problems before final engine assembly
He chose a BISC-60R-001-08P passive inductive ID system from Balluff that uses data carriers (encapsulated EEPROMS) attached to pallets and self-contained read heads placed along the machining stations. Small engine blocks are placed on each pallet and carried, via conveyor, to various stations for machining. At the third machining station, a data reader automatically reads the pallet number from the data carrier and this, with date, time, and crew/shift number, is translated to a code which is then pin stamped onto the engine block.
The result? The ability to trace problems back to their source, reduce scrap, and improve quality.