303-459-5499 | info@dtservices.com Contact Us

Maintenance and Best Practices for Solids Control Equipment

Solid control equipment plays a vital role in ensuring effective gas and oil drilling operations. Solid control equipment is used to process and manage drilling fluids by eliminating unwanted solids, regulating the viscosity of the mud, and maintaining its properties. 

Below is information about the significance of good maintenance and best practices for solid control equipment in drilling operations.

Solids control is one of the most critical stages in the drilling process. This is due to an increasing awareness that drilling fluid maintenance and disposal could become exponential issues as they are both harmful to the environment and very costly.

With the proper solids control system, there is a substantial increase in fluid life. Since dilution and mud dumping are objectionable, efficient solids control equipment has become a growing vital part of the drilling process.

One of the most critical objectives in solids control is to eliminate many of the big drilled solid particles. This must be done without considerably impacting the commercial drilling fluid solids. This necessitates accurately built and installed solids removal equipment, sized to process at least 100% to 125% of the circulating mud.

Solids that are not eradicated in the initial circulation stage through the surface equipment are endangered to mechanical degradation by the reamers, mud pumps, and drill bit during every circulation cycle until they are too fine for removal by conventional mechanical means.

To assess the removal capabilities of the different pieces of mechanical treating equipment, it is essential to consider the foundation of the solids. Good solids control methods are frequently disregarded just because they are not recognized. Usually, an HDD solids control system will use a grouping of shale shakers, hydrocyclones, and centrifuges.

Shale Shakers

The shale shaker is critical to the solids control system and is deemed the “first line of defense”. Shakers work by eliminating solids from drilling fluid as the mud goes over the surface of a vibrating screen. Particles tinier than the openings in the screen go through the holes of the screen along with the liquid phase of the mud. Particles too big to pass through the screen are detached from the mud for disposal.

Without suitable screening of the drilling fluid during this first removal step, downstream equipment will suffer diminished effectiveness and efficiency. The downstream hydrocyclones or centrifuges will be overloaded past their intended capacity.

Shale Shaker Screens

Essentially, a screen functions as a guard of whether a particle is little enough to go through a screen or not. For solids control equipment, a layered woven wire screening makes up the surfaces. The core of the shaker is the screening surface.

Therefore, the quality of the shaker is characterized by the quality of the screens it uses. Relative to the use of shaker screens, it is the size of the screen openings that control the size of the particles divided by the screen.


Hydrocyclones are mechanical devices that do not have moving parts and are created to speed up the settling process. Drilling mud goes into the cyclone under pressure from a centrifugal pump. The velocity of the mud then makes the particles spin quickly within the main chamber of the cone.

Light, fine solids, and the liquid phase of the mud spiral upward and inward for discharge via the liquid outlet. Through the overflow or outlet, coarse, heavy solids rotate downward and out. Hydrocyclones are crucial in a solids control system due to their capability to effectively eliminate particles tinier than the finest mesh screens.

Centrifugal Pumps

Another vital part of a well-built solids control system is the utilization of a centrifugal pump. A centrifugal pump mixes the mud to be pushed down the bore hole and delivers the volume and feed pressure needed to work the hydrocyclones. Maintenance of these pumps is critical to the use of your solids control equipment.

Decanter Centrifuges

Centrifuges are another critical part of any operational solids control system. They have an excellent advantage of attaining very fine cut points. The rotating speed is converted into centrifugal force inside the rotating assembly to hasten particle settling in accordance with Stoke’s law. Basically, a centrifuge functions as a little settling pit which allows quick settling of solids under controlled conditions.

There are a few vital steps to take to achieve effective solids control. The first crucial step is to get a durable and reliable solids control system. Special attention must be given to guarantee that the system is hydraulically balanced, and able to make a scalp cut and a fine cut.

The system must also be capable of having adequate power to combine and re-circulate the drilling fluid. During the drilling phase, solids control equipment and shakers must not be avoided. Different mesh sizes must be used on the shaker as conditions alter from formation to formation, necessitating operators to sustain an assortment of screens to be kept on hand.

Moreover, a sufficient inventory of suggested spare parts and screens must always be kept to improve operations. To get effective solids control, the following should be used:

  • Get a durable and efficient solids control system.
  • Ensure that the solids control system is hydraulically balanced, can make a fine and scalp cut, and can combine and re-circulate the drilling fluid.
  • While drilling, do not avoid the shale shaker or other solid control equipment.
  • Keep a sufficient inventory of suggested screens and spare parts.
  • Certify and assign rig personnel to oversee equipment maintenance and operation.
  • Ask for equipment training and commissioning for your OEM.
  • Look into which written training programs might be available from your OEM.

By employing each of these steps, operators can improve their operation performance.

If you need more advice on determining the best solids control practices and solutions for your operation, contact us by phone or fill out the contact form on our website.

Return Home All rights reserved © 2024
Diamond T Services LLC

Digital Marketing by FirestarterSEO.com