Maintenance Of Mud System

Mud systems have a lot of moving parts that must be kept in order to keep them in premium working order. If you do not grease and adjust centrifugal packing on a regular basis, it will leak causing not only a mess but also hazardous work environment. Bearings require lubrication for long life. Cones can get plug with debris making them inactive thus reducing your cleaning capacity. Screens get torn allowing trash to go into the system causing plugging problems.

Explain the importance of routine maintenance to a mud system.

Routine maintenance can extend the life of not only the complete mud system but also individual components and prevent premature failure of the unit. This is also a great time to inspect the unit for stressed or damaged components.

Is this apiece of equipment that gets overlooked in general maintenance ?

When the mud system is operating properly it is easy to forget to check and grease components as a preventative measure. The focus on a jobsite is to increase production while decreasing operating cost. While this makes for a better bottom line (on the books), it does not always allow for the time or personnel to maintain and repair the equipment. For this reason as they say “the squeaky wheel get the oil” and if it is running we have a tendency to focus on the larger problems of keeping the drill bit turning.

Purchased new, what is the general lifespan of a mud system? What factors impact this age?

This is a hard question to respond to due to variables such as the location of service (ex: heavy sand areas verse slow hard rock drilling or shale). The amount of time per day the unit is used: 12 hours vs. 24 hour per day jobs. Number of days per week and number of weeks per year for the unit is utilized. 

Please offer some general maintenance tips for readers and explain why they are necessary and contribute to a longer system lifespan.

Always check the oil and water from the power unit at least once a day. Change the oil and filters as recommended, more often in dirty conditions. Ensure that there is adequate pressure on the cones while drilling to ensure optimum cleaning and always make sure the screens are sized correctly and in good condition.

What mistakes to contractors make in the upkeep of their mud system?

General maintenance on a recycler is fairly straightforward and I believe most contractors want their systems to last a full lifetime. One area I have seen that could be improved is overall clean up after the job is completed. Wash the machine to eliminate all mud and debris. Flush clean water thru the system to clear out all the suction and discharge lines. This prevents drilling mud from drying in the suction line, cones, hopper, etc.

Are there any weekly, monthly, post-job items that they should always include?

Visual Inspections of the frame, electrical and or hydraulic components.

Aipu Solids Control, Inc. Is dedicated to producing the highest level of quality and durability in all of the systems we manufacture. Our engineering staff can design or modify any of our machines to meet our customer’s particular need. In as much, it is our goal to provide our customers with the ultimate in customer service. If we can help minimize or eliminate downtime, then that will allow our clients to operate at maximum efficiency which translates into big savings for them.

We manufacture a complete line of shale shakers; desilters, desanders and mud pump packages, thus allowing us the ability to keep a higher standard of excellence. Our tank and mixing systems are designed for maximum flexibility and we carry parts for all major brands of equipment.

What effect does the normal wear-and-tear usage does a mud system have on the machine?

The dirty fluid flowing thru the mud system is effectively sand blasting away the interior of the pipes, steel, etc. Wear items such as the hydrocyclones, centrifugal impellers, wear plates and volutes are designed to process the undesirable fluid and will over time have to be replaced. As these items were the efficiency of the unit will diminish. This means the maximum cleaning capacity will diminish.

Anything else you would like to say about preventative maintenance of the mud system?

“An ounce of preventative is useful to a pound of cure!” If properly maintained a mud recycling system can remove the undesirable solids from your drilling mud. This will save not only the wear items on the mud system but also increase the life of the drilling rig: swivel, pipe, downhole tools, etc. In addition it will allow you to reuse your drilling mud cutting cost on water, bentonite and labor.


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