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Automated catwalks benefit the drilling process in many ways, including more efficient operations, creating a safer working environment and reducing costs. The latest generation of catwalks on the market, the Tesco Automated Catwalk (TAC) system transfer tubulars between the pipe rack and the rig floor in an efficient, controlled manner. The TAC has an extendable trough which gives operators the ability to customize its position to the approximate inch required at well center. This drastically reduces the swing weight of the tubular being picked up from the trough, and it reduces the amount of space necessary for the rig crew to push back from the tubular when laying down. An on-board Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) allows the operator to move critical functions of the catwalk simultaneously, positioning it precisely where the trough needs to be on the rig floor. TACs can be operated wirelessly with an explosion-proof remote from the rig floor or manually from the valve back on the TAC.
TACs are designed to achieve zero contact with personnel. When picking up a casing string, the TAC is equipped with casing runs that are pinned onto its side. This creates a bridge between the pipe racks and the catwalk and keeps workers at safe distance. Additionally, the TAC system’s open belly design and its ability to manipulate the arms horizontally provide for ease of maintenance and allows the operator or technician to troubleshoot in a more open, and thereby safer, working environment. In fact, most troubleshooting can be diagnosed by standing on the outside of the catwalk’s frame looking in.
Each TAC is equipped with gull wings that swing outward and can be hydraulically lowered to create a ramp so that drill pipe can roll off into pipe tubs or a waiting loader. After the initial set up, the rig crew has no need to come in contact with the TAC again except to perform maintenance or move to a new location.
Please note that certain models may require longer lead times for particular locations. Explore the current TAC systems to discover which model is right for your rig.