Smooth operations of solids-separation equipment are accomplished with proper planning and utilization of the needed equipment to efficiently and effectively remove drilled solids from a drilling fluid. This chapter provides guidelines to ensure the smooth and efficient operations of solids-removal equipment and associated drilling-fluid equipment. This chapter is primarily directed toward rig personnel as a practical guideline for better drilling practices. Many of these suggestions and guidelines are discussed in much greater detail in other chapters of this book. This chapter consists of three sections: Solids Control Equipment Guidelines and operations of the various solids-removal equipment; Equipment Guidelines and additional thoughts and considerations for smooth operations of the various drilling-fluid handling equipment and tankage; Solids Management Checklist and questions to consider for proper sizing, selection, and operation of a solids-management system.
Prior to the use of centrifugal pumps on drilling rigs, the standby reciprocating mud pumps were customarily used to operate the mud hopper. As with high pressure mud guns, this required high-pressure pipe and connections. This was costly because the pump required enormous power and expensive piping. A small orifice in the hopper delivered a low flow at a high velocity. The jet velocity was suitable for adequate mixing, but the volume was usually less than 500 gpm. This, of course, would limit the speed of material addition.
Shale shakers are a general term for a vibrating device used to screen solids from a circulating drilling fluid.