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Rolloos Fingerboard Latch Monitoring


The main goal of offshore drillers is to operate their rig as efficiently and safely as possible. As far as the derrick is concerned, faulty fingerboard latches and lack of feedback could lead to dangerous situations.

Drill pipes are put into place using, among others, a fingerboard, which is located about halfway up the derrick. Fingerboards provide accurate positioning of the drill pipe stands for semi-automatic operation of the vertical pipe racker. Electrically-controlled and pneumatically-operated latches are located along each finger to hold the pipes in place. As a pipe stand is placed in a slot between two fingers, a pneumatic latch closes to secure the stand in place.

A large drill ship or semi sub often has two fingerboards with around 500 latches per board. The weak spot in this system is the fact that the latches are operated without any status information. The fingerboards on most drilling rigs actually lack active feedback on the position of the latches. These latches are pneumatically forced to open and close, without knowing whether or not this opening or closing actually takes place. Because of the rough conditions on board, with the presence of mud, salt, and water, failing latches can result not only in damages to the equipment but also in severe injuries. If a latch remains closed when it should have been open, latches may break or even worse, (part of) the fingerboard may come down.

A dedicated spotter must therefore visually check the operations to promptly notice failing latches. The presence of the spotter on the (dangerous) drill floor is highly undesirable, and the reason is twofold. First of all, because of safety reasons, the fewer people on the drill floor the better, and secondly due to the high costs involved. Last but not least, people are not really effective in 12 hours observation jobs.

Various technical solutions are available to replace the use of a dedicated spotter. These solutions generally involve active response systems or static sensors. Both approaches are complex and expensive and in the case of sensors, extremely vulnerable. Over a 1,000 sensors are required on a drillship, which results in around 1,000 additional points of failure.

Rolloos has used its experience and knowledge in CCTV monitoring to find a smart, simple, and cost-effective solution that works perfectly: Rolloos Fingerboard Latch Monitoring. In this monitoring system, multiple cameras are positioned on the hydrarackers, giving the driller or his assistant a clean, clear, and real-time view of the latches. In this way, he (or she) can immediately see whether the latches are closing and/or opening properly.

The benefits of Rolloos Latch Monitoring System are evident:

  • Increased safety on the drill floor.
  • Live video footage instantly increases situational awareness and productivity of driller.
  • Easy to install and maintain with a minimum of hardware.
  • Reduction of spotters in derrick increases safety and reduces costs significantly.
  • Recordings allow for verification of possible incidents.
  • Active analytics increase productivity even further.

Several satisfied customers have already adopted this system in operations on various drilling rigs. For them, it is evident that Rolloos Fingerboard Latch Monitoring closes the loop by providing active visual feedback on the latches to the (assistant) driller. This results in lower costs, time savings, and a lower risk of injuries caused by falling latches.

Visit www.rolloos.com and contact us for more information!

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For questions or feedback, do not hesitate to contact us via +31 10 - 4500 500 or send us an email through the form below. We'll answer your request within 24 hours.