Over the course of the last few years, US manufacturer Drill King International has been providing Latin American driller AK Drilling International with down-the-hole (DTH) tooling for reverse-circulation (RC) exploration and medium- to large-diameter water-well drilling for a number of different projects located all over Peru.
The majority of these projects are drilled in the Andes mountain range at heights above 15,000ft (4,572m) in elevation, where diverse and often challenging drilling conditions tend to push the downhole tooling expectations to the limit.
Thus far, Drill King’s 22¾in (57.785cm) is the largest-diameter DTH hammer bit that AK Drilling International has utilised to drill at these elevations. Yet this is not the limit, as Drill King manufactures bits up to 42in in diameter for popular hammer shanks such as the QL200, N240 and SD18, for instance, and is currently one of the few US manufacturers producing a complete hammer bit of that size in-house.
According to Matt Trischman, RC and water-well superintendent at AK Drilling International, its Drill King products of choice have proven to be up to the job.
“We are especially satisfied with the design and performance of the custom-made, large-diameter DTH hole-opener bits with Dyanite TCI [tungsten carbide inserts] that we have acquired.
“We put these to use over the course of our most recent dewatering well-drilling programmes in large mining operations such as Antamina Mining Company and the Constancia project owned by Hudbay Minerals,” he adds.
Back to Texas
Drill King International’s latest product development is the Drill King casing advance system, which will be launched this year to serve a variety of industries and applications.
Conceived with the driller in mind and backed up by the company’s ISO 9001:2008 quality certification, the casing advance system features a simple yet robust design comprising a pilot bit, a casing shoe and a heavy-duty ring bit.
It is a concentric-type overburden drilling system, which allows for the simultaneous advancement of casing as big as 24in in diameter, while drilling through fractured rock with a conventional DTH air hammer.
The pilot bit securely locks into the ring bit via special locking lugs to form the robust oversized-looking face of a conventional hammer bit – loaded with premium-grade carbide buttons.
The locking mechanism also allows for direct transfer of energy from the hammer to the drilling surface of the ring bit and the pilot bit, which in turn ensures a greater penetration rate.
The casing pipe is easily welded to the casing shoe, which threads into the ring bit to sit unrestricted on its shoulder, thus preventing the casing pipe from rotating during the drilling operation and securing it at the same time.
Depending on the drilling application, Drill King International customises its casing advance system for either permanently left-in-the-hole casing or retrieved (pulled-out) casing.
Additional customisation options are available based on the specifics of the drilling project, the actual casing and DTH hammer used, and the ground formation and conditions.
When drilling in unconsolidated formation, the so-called overburden, drillers are often faced with the problem of retrieving the drill rod and bit due to collapsed holes.
Throughout the years, the simultaneous casing advancement systems have steadily evolved to resolve drillers’ operational difficulties with lost holes.
From casing drivers and eccentric-type overburden drilling systems through wing-style varieties, the concentric range of casing advance systems has proven to be the latest technological innovation in overburden drilling.
Latin American driller
AK Drilling International is currently one of the largest drilling contractors in Latin America with drilling operations spread from the Caribbean islands to the southern tip of Chile, and with offices in Peru, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Suriname and Guyana.
Reason to celebrate
Drill King International’s story started 10 years ago at a machine shop in Arlington, Texas, with the production of some 6¼in (15.9cm) and 87/8in (22.5cm) hammer bits equipped with diamond-enhanced carbide buttons for oil-well drilling.
This year Drill King celebrates its 10th anniversary in a 60,000ft2 (5,574m2) manufacturing facility in Mansfield, Texas, with a team of engineers ready to explore new product developments.