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NVision's Consulting and Engineering Services Improve Fracking Parts
(Coppell, TX; October 2014) - A major manufacturer of hydraulic fracturing components for the oil and gas industry utilized NVision’s full spectrum of engineering services, from consulting to 3D scanning, CAD modeling and 3D non-contact inspection, to improve the design of crucial parts and speed their certification. NVision was able to compare multiple versions of the same parts and determine geometric variation between the versions that passed tests and those that failed. That information was then used by NVision engineers to develop new 3D CAD models with critical dimensions and tolerances, leading to improved designs and faster certification of the parts.
The hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” process involves pumping a fracturing fluid into a well bore at a high enough pressure to cause the formation to crack, facilitating the flow of oil and gas from the formation to the well. A slurry material called proppant, which commonly consists primarily of sand or ceramic material, is then injected into the fracture to prop it open, thereby increasing the flow of formation fluids. The high pressures involved in this process require parts that are precisely designed and manufactured. Failure under high pressure can result in catastrophic failure, so proper design and tight tolerances are paramount.
CAD model of fracking component developed by NVision, shown left
The parts were originally designed by an overseas engineering design company but the manufacturer ran into problems when some of the outsourced part designs failed to withstand the testing.
Forced to go back to the drawing board to determine whether it was a design or a production tolerance problem, the manufacturer found that the geometry of these parts was simply too complex for hand measurement or CMM probing alone. It needed another way to accurately capture and compare the complex geometries of the passing versus failing versions of the parts.
The manufacturer contacted NVision after being referred by a client of the 3D digitizing company in the same area. NVision then held a series of meetings with key contacts at several of the manufacturer’s facilities in order to develop the best approach to resolving the design issue.
In the course of the consultations, the manufacturer decided that NVision should handle the project in its entirety. NVision’s engineers would determine the essential 3D variance measurements of several parts with the company’s HandHeld Scanner, analyze and develop critical features crucial to the parts’ performance, then create nominal CAD models for new versions of the parts.
CAD model of another fracking component developed by NVision, shown left
NVision engineers performed detailed scans (accurate to +/- 0.001”) with the HandHeld scanner to determine the geometrical differences between passing and failing parts. Engineers then utilized that information to create the nominal CAD models with manufacturing tolerances.
NVision’s highly accurate 3D scans, inspection comparison of complex parts, and reverse engineering expertise, enabled it to deliver to the manufacturer nominal CAD models that improved the geometry, tolerance, and funtionality of the parts. Those design changes resulted in rapid certification of the parts and faster entry into the production phase.