The Sonic Drilling Institute
Dr. Peter Lucon, Scientific Director of the Sonic Drilling Institute, is the scientist who developed the theory underlying the sonic drilling phenomenon. This was done initially through DOE funding, and subsequently under private commission.
U-Sonic is software designed to numerically to model sonic drilling, and is an integral piece of the developments and products developed by the Sonic Drilling Institute. The software delivers science-based guidance for sonic drillers by identifying the frequency with the highest drilling rate, but also with the lowest stress and fatigue incurred. This result can be turned into practical drilling recommendations or formalized into a rational, science-backed operating protocol for the drill rig.
This information has been built into an advanced computer, Sci-Ex, which delivers real-time information the driller needs to make informed decisions for optimal operation of the rig. This results in an immediate and dramatic increase in drilling performance while also decreasing the break-down rate.
The Sonic Drilling Institute continues to research and develop products that will transform the world of sonic drilling by connecting science to fieldwork and introducing major technological advantages to sonic drillers everywhere, making the Sonic Drilling Institute a leader in innovation.
Becoming the Standard in Sonic Drilling
Although sonic drilling has every reason to be widely embraced and is currently experiencing a growth of interest, it has yet to become the standard in drilling. With their extensive experience, Managing Director Martin Hammann and Scientific Director Dr. Lucon partnered to analyze the root causes of the failure of sonic drilling, building off their own knowledge with interviews and surveys completed in the sonic drilling industry.
The key issues identified by Martin and Dr. Lucon in their analysis include:
- high upfront purchase price (CAPEX),
- high break-down rate and repair costs (OPEX), and
- the unpredictability of the performance of the rig.
A deeper dive in the analysis revealed key areas for sonic drilling to improve, including…
- The lack of an accurate scientific model that understands the physical phenomenon of sonic drilling leads to high break-down rates and costly repairs.
- The lack of a rational, science-backed protocol to operate sonic rigs optimally, with maximal bit motion and minimal head ware.
The obvious root cause of all the weaknesses described here is the lack of scientific understanding of sonic drilling.
The Sonic Drilling Institute has developed, tested, and proven U-Sonic*, a computer code to numerically model the operation of any sonic drilling rig. The testing was completed in partnership with a number of leading drilling contractors. U-Sonic maps out the various vibratory modes developing in any sonic drilling rig.