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SPE 26751

The VARI FLOTM Motor: A New Mud Motor Concept, its Design, Development and Applications
Dr. Hector Susman, Senior Consultant to Volker Stevin Offshore (UK) Limited, Aberdeen, Scotland.

C::oyngnc 1993. SOCIety


'Thil aper _

at Pelloleum Eng,""". Inc.

~ lot preunlalion al thlI Offshore EutOpa Conference hald in Abercl..". 7-9 Saptamber 1993.

'fbs w.. lalae:teel for presentalion by en SPE Progrlm Commlllaa follOWIng revIew at informatIon contllnea In an aostrlC! submlllad by tha author/s) Contanls of Iha paper
IS ores_eel. havasnol baan rev'ewea by the SocIety of PetlOleum Eng,neers and ara subject 10 correelion by Ihaautnorts'. The matenal .s DreSan18d dO~S not neeessenly reflec;
a~v oosmon ot the oelery ot PetrOleum Engineers ItS oN cars or m o P
S
"
_I
I
,em ers
aDefS oresenleo at PE meetings are sublect to DUOllcatlon reVIew by EditOrial COmmlMftS of the Soclelv
. errol.urn Engineers PenTllSSIOn 10 CODY IS restnctea to an aCStracr of nor more than 300 wores, illustrations may not be COOled. The acstract Should contain conspICuous
acxnowoeagmenl of wn.... ana lly wnom Ine . '~er IS Dresentee INnte ~'brlnen. SPE POBox 833836. Richaroson. TX 75063.3836 USA Telex. 730989 SPEDAL.

. .

The VARI FLOTM Motor was developed to provide the industry


with a downhole motor to meet the ever increasing demands of
today's drilling requirements
It is recognised that there is a requirement for a source of downhole
motor power. which suffers less from the effects of heat and
modern corrosive drilling fluids. whilst simultaneously offering a
shorter motor for directional drilling applications.

Our Motor is a Vane type, positive displacement motor, built


without the use of rubber in the working parts.
The construction of vane or in our case roller type motors are as the
Moyneau motor, simple devices. However due to the somewhat
'interfering" fit between rotor and stator. Moyneau motors are
somewhat difficult to take apart in particular when one also takes
the greater length. and weight into account.
The motor assembly is the only part which is conceptually
different from present motor designs and you will find a diagram
attached to this paper. (Figure J)

THE POWER SECTION


The power section converts hydraulic fluid potential energy into
mechanical rotational power. The most important constituents of
the motor capsule are a rotor supported by marine and thrust type
bearings and a stator of more or less oval section. The rotor
contains a number of rollers in slots along its periphery which act
as vanes and which are pushed tangentially along by fluid flow
under high pressure thus generating rotational motion and torque.
The narrower part of the stator we call the deflector as it "deflects"
or pushes the rollers sequentially into the slots of the rotor, thus
shielding them from the main fluid flow and pressure. In this
position the roller will produce little torque in counter rotational

direction. it will produce some. but not as much as the rollers in the
after 2 o'clock positions. The roller in the wider part of the stator.
after the 2 o'clock position. is fully extended and thus fully
exposed to the fluid flow so generating motion and torque. This
process takes place in two positions along the circumference of the
stator as each stator contains "two deflectors" and two sets of inlet
and outlet ports.
This concept makes for a very short motor compared with a
Moyneau type motor of similar diameter, torque and power. A
4 4 inch tool for instance is only T 10" long compared to a length
of 24 - 28' for an equivalent Moyneau motor.
Servicing the VARI FLOTM motor is simpler and less expensive
than the Moyneau type motor. The Moyneau motor's size requires
hydraulic actuators or fork lift trucks to extract the rotor. Our motor
only requires nonnal force to undo a number of threads on the subs
that hold the motor together. Replacing the rollers is at the most a
30 minute job and the cost of rollers is considerably less than the
price of a new stator. saving down time and money for the operator.
Why then have vane type motors not found wider application in
drilling technology?
The probable answer is that the pure vane motor cannot be made to
work in a drilling mud environment. The clearance between rotor
slots and vanes are by necessity. in connection with efficiency, too
small to accommodate the solids and the often thixotropic
character of drilling fluids.
We therefore replaced the rectangular vanes with loosely filling
rollers, as in roller bearings, and found that the motor could now
cope with fluids containing a 'practical' percentage of solids. We
are now at a stage where drilling fluids with weights up to
12 lbs/gal can be accommodated without problems.

THE VARI FLOTY MOTOR: A NEW MUD MOTOR CONCEPT. ITS DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT AND APPLICATIONS

It should also be noted that vane motors do not require a universal


joint between rotor and drive shaft as no orbital movement of the
rotor takes place. The characteristic shortness of vane motors thus
allows an exceedingly simple directional motor assembly,
consisting of just one bent sub at the top of the motor. This
produces a directional motor assembly of great strength with easily
obtainable curvatures of 25/100 foot and more.
Whilst there is no rubber in the motor the roller vanes are in fact
made from a thermo plastic material which withstands temperatures
in excess of 400F - ample for most "hot hole" applications. The
thermo plastic is also impervious to hydro-carbons and corrosive
fluids. thus making it possible to have a motor, which will on the
same run, accept a hydro carbon based fluid as well as hydrochloric
acid or even dry nitrogen without having to trip the motor out of the
hole, thus saving valuable trip time.
The absence of polymers in the motor has many advantages,
especially in 'work over' applications.
This brings us to coiled tubing where motors are becoming a useful
addition to the coiled tubing operator's armoury.
The vane type motor, due to its weight and length, as well as the
ability to cope with the earlier mentioned fluids, is particularly
useful. Our motor with a number of additional advantages is rapidly
becoming a leader in this field.
We would like at this stage to mention that we also were caught by
the 'lack of strength' bug and whilst having a number of spectacular
successes, such as a 24 hour run on acid, we have also had some
spectacular failures. with broken shafts and lost bit boxes. We
learnt our lessons quickly and the present motor design in terms of
bending strength is 5 times stronger than the fIrst motor
A diagram of the bearing pack is attached to this paper. (Figure 2)

RUNNING VANE MOTORS ON DRY GAS, WET GAS


OR GAS/FOAM MIXTURES.
Recent developments have proven that constant volume motors,
such as the PDM (positive displacement motor) can be used
running on gas. Whilst from a thermodynamic point of view,
constant volume motors run at relatively low energy effIciency
when used with an expanding medium; the advantages, such as
cuttings removal; less, or no liquid intrusion into the formation etc.,
outweigh the main disadvantage of greater energy requirements for
a given 'work' requirement.
As gas is a compressible - and thus also an expandable medium, it is
diffIcult to relate the standard liquid flow requirements of a positive
displacement motor, to the equivalent gas flow needs of a particular
motor. as regards speed and torque. A good solution to this problem
is to supply the motor with the highest possible volume flow of gas,
consistent with hole cleaning requirements, bit cooling etc.

SPE 26751

However, volume flow through the motor could increase to some


200% or more of standard requirements when the motor runs free,
causing it to over speed by this amount. Whilst vane type motors are
less prone to damage from over speeding, precautions-should be taken
to limit this, as seal life and bearing wear are adversely affected.
To limit these adverse affects, we fit a nozzle at thl: outlet of the
motor, so that at maximum equivalent motor fluid flow + say 20%
extra, gas flow becomes choked (sonic) and can thlls increase no
further, irrespective of pressure increases before the motor. thus
limiting motor speed to a maximum of approximately 20% in
excess of its normal maximum speed - even with the bit
'off bottom.'
Whilst our motor runs perfectly satisfactorily on dry gas it is
recommended that a form of lubricant is injected into the gas stream
to lubricate seals and thus improve performance of these
components. A I to 5% liquid addition to the gas flow is
recommended, this equates to 3-15 barrels of liquid per hour for
every 100 eFM of dry gas, higher injection rates may improve seal
performance still further.
As is the case with Moyneau motors a rapid increase in pressure
without penetration indicates a stall condition, however this mostly
applies to running on fluids rather than gases. In the case of running
on gas or gas/foam mixtures pressure increases are nCit immediately
noticeable due to the compressibility of the gaseous medium and it
is therefore recommended to take careful note of allY changes in
ROP which may i~dicate the onset of a stall condition.

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT


We have been working for over three years on our motor design. In
December 1992 we tested the motor at the Rogeland Research
Institute, Stavanger, Norway and the results of the tesls are included
with copies of this paper.
We have a young product which we are continuing to develop.
Improvements continue to be made to rotor geometry, timing and
stator shape, and last but not least sealing between rotor and stator.
In contrast with Moyneau motors vane type motors are to a large
degree self compensating with respect to leakage between rotor and
stator. However the degree of leakage is greater than is the case
with the Moyneau motor and therefore a vane motor performs with
greater effIciency at the higher speeds. We are thc:refore in the
process of fInalising the design and testing of a sturdy planetary
gear box allowing the rotor to run at 'more effIcient' higher speed
and the drive shaft at lower speed but higher torque as is required in
the majority of applications.
Vane motors will never replace the Moyneau motor. The VARI
FLOTM motor offers an alternative with the advantages already
mentioned a~d in specialised situations where Moyneau motors
cannot perform due to the presence of rubber in the drive section.

THE VARI FLOTU MOTOR: A NEW MUD MOTOR CONCEPT,ITS DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT AND APPLICATIONS

Figure 1:
Motor Assembly

Inlet Ports

III 111;+--- Outlet Ports

Inlet Ports

Outlet Ports

CROSS-SECTION
OVER THE POWER SECTION

Volker Stevin Offshore (U.K.) Limited

SPE 26751

THE VARI FLO'" MOTOR: A NEW MUD MOTOR CONCEPT, ITS DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT AND APPLICATIONS

Figure 2:
Bearing Pack

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Volker Stevin Offshore (U.K.) Limited

SPE 26751

THE VARI FLO'" MOTOR: A NEW MUD MOTOR CONCEPT, ITS DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT AND APPLICATIONS

SPE 26751

Vari FloTM Motor Test Results


21." Diameter Constant Flow 42 gpm
500

1400

.X

300

1000

"
"

~
llI:
o
...

...
ll.

III

1200

400

200

800

...
...
c'"
;lI

III
III

600

o."'"
."

!a

400

--

Leg.nd

100 ~

Speed
Pressure Drop

200

NOTE:

Con,t",nt Flow 42 GPM


FlUId: Wolter

10

20

.-

-T

30

40

50

60

70

TORQUE eFT LBS)


Results of tests carried out December 1992
atth. Rogeland Research Institute. Stavanger. NOIWay

Vari FloTM Motor Test Results


31." Diameter Constant Flow 42 gpm
2oo,..-------------------------------,800

600
150 ~---------~~-------~r:;.....--------1

."

~
400
...~ 1oo~-----------____:~~--.....;~IE:'"'--------___,

...
ll.

...'"
...cC

III
III

:II

0'"

III

."

~
.r;:L.:g:.n:dl---......;.--,.-----------------~r---__1
200

50

Speed

Pressure Drop

NOn,
Con,tlnt Flow 42 GPM
Fh,lld: Wolter

O~-----'T'""-----""'T'"-----~-----___lO
o

50

100

150

200

TORQUE eFT LBS)


Results of tests earned out December' 992
at the Roge1and Research Institufe. Stavanger. Norway

Volker Stevin Offshore (U.K.) Limited

THE VARI FLOTU MOTOR: A NEW MUD MOTOR CONCEPT,ITS DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT AND APPLICATIONS

SPE 26751

Vari FloTM Motor Test Results


31." Diameter - Constant Flow 66 gpm
350

1000

"-

300

""""-

250

:E

...
...'"
......

800

200

'"

150

600

...

...
...C
:a

'"
'"
c:
:a

.I'

400

:a
0

......

100

--

Legend

50

Speed

200

Pressure Drop

NOTE:
Con,tI,nt Flaw 66 GPM
Fluid: Water

o
o

50

150

100

200

TORQUE (FT LIS)


Results of tesls carried oul December 1992
at the Rogeland Research Institute. Stavanger. Norway

Vari FloTM Motor Test Results


31." Diameter Constant Flow 90 gpm
1400

500

'"-

400

"---.............
.- ~

300

...
:E

~
--"

200

1200

1000

~
800

......'"
...
'"

...

...

:a

'"
c:
'"
:a

...
600

:a

o...

--

400

Legend

100 I - I--

Speed
Pressure Drop

200

NOTE:

Cornt..nt Flow 90 GPM


FlUid: W.. ter

50

100

150

200

250

TORQUE (FT LIS)


Results of tests carried out December 1992
at the Rogeland Research Institute. Stavanger. Norway

Volker Stevin Offshore (U.K.) Limited

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