(19)
(11)EP 3 406 843 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
20.05.2020 Bulletin 2020/21

(21)Application number: 18173275.1

(22)Date of filing:  18.05.2018
(51)Int. Cl.: 
E21B 41/00  (2006.01)
E21B 19/00  (2006.01)
E21B 3/02  (2006.01)
E21B 19/16  (2006.01)

(54)

INTERCHANGEABLE SWIVEL COMBINED MULTICOUPLER

AUSTAUSCHBARER, SCHWENKBARER, KOMBINIERTER MULTIKOPPLER

MULTICOUPLEUR COMBINÉ À PIVOT INTERCHANGEABLE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 26.05.2017 US 201715607159

(43)Date of publication of application:
28.11.2018 Bulletin 2018/48

(73)Proprietor: Weatherford Technology Holdings, LLC
Houston, TX 77056 (US)

(72)Inventor:
  • Bell, Michael Thomas
    Houston, TX Texas 77084 (US)

(74)Representative: Talbot-Ponsonby, Daniel Frederick 
Marks & Clerk LLP Fletcher House Heatley Road The Oxford Science Park
Oxford OX4 4GE
Oxford OX4 4GE (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A1-2016/197255
US-A1- 2015 014 063
US-A1- 2007 251 699
US-A1- 2017 067 320
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description


    [0001] The present disclosure generally relates to a combined multicoupler for a top drive.

    [0002] A wellbore is formed to access hydrocarbon-bearing formations (e.g., crude oil and/or natural gas) or for geothermal power generation by the use of drilling. Drilling is accomplished by utilizing a drill bit that is mounted on the end of a drill string. To drill within the wellbore to a predetermined depth, the drill string is often rotated by a top drive on a drilling rig. After drilling to a predetermined depth, the drill string and drill bit are removed and a string of casing is lowered into the wellbore. An annulus is thus formed between the casing string and the wellbore. The casing string is hung from the wellhead. A cementing operation is then conducted in order to fill the annulus with cement. The casing string is cemented into the wellbore by circulating cement into the annulus defined between the outer wall of the casing and the borehole. The combination of cement and casing strengthens the wellbore and facilitates the isolation of certain areas of the formation behind the casing for the production of hydrocarbons.

    [0003] During a drilling and well construction operation, various tools are used which have to be attached to the top drive. The process of changing tools is very time consuming and dangerous requiring personnel to work at heights.

    [0004] Therefore, there is a need for a coupler for quickly connecting and disconnect the top drive and various tools. US2017067320 describes a combined multi-coupler for a top drive.

    [0005] The present disclosure generally relates to a combined multicoupler for connecting a tool to a top drive.

    [0006] In accordance with one aspect of the present invention there is provided a coupler for a top drive. The coupler includes a load frame having a frame body having a load shoulder for transferring an axial load from the tool dock to the frame body, and a side door coupled to the frame body. The side door opens from the frame body to allow a tool dock to move horizontally into the frame body, and the side door closes to lock the tool dock in the load frame. The coupler further includes a drive stem movably coupled to the load frame, wherein the drive stem moves vertically to connect and disconnect with the tool dock positioned in the load frame.

    [0007] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention there is provided a tool dock for connecting a tool to a top drive. The tool dock includes a housing having a load shoulder formed on an outer surface thereof for transferring an axial load from the tool dock to a frame body of the top drive, a drive sleeve rotatably disposed in the housing, wherein the drive sleeve has a load profile and a central bore for receiving a tool mandrel therein, the tool mandrel being part of or connected to the tool, and a hydraulic swivel attached to the housing for providing hydraulic fluid to the tool.

    [0008] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention there is provided a method for connecting a tool to a top drive. The method includes moving a tool connected to a tool dock into a load frame coupled to the top drive, closing a side door of the load frame to lock the tool into the load frame, and lowering a drive stem towards the tool dock to connect the drive stem to the tool dock.

    [0009] So that the manner in which the above recited features of the present disclosure can be understood in detail, a more particular description of the disclosure, briefly summarized above, may be had by reference to embodiments, some of which are illustrated in the appended drawings. It is to be noted, however, that the appended drawings illustrate only typical embodiments of this disclosure and are therefore not to be considered limiting of its scope, for the disclosure may admit to other equally effective embodiments.

    Figure 1 is a schematic perspective view of a combined multicoupler system according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

    Figure 2A is a perspective view of a load frame according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

    Figures 2B and 2C are sectional side views of the load frame of Figure 2A.

    Figure 2D is a sectional top view of the load frame of Figure 2A.

    Figure 2E is a perspective view of a door actuating assembly of the load frame of Figure 2A.

    Figure 2F is a perspective view of a gear assembly of the door actuating assembly of Figure 2E.

    Figure 2G is a perspective view of a pin puller assembly of the load frame of Figure 2A.

    Figure 3A is a perspective view of a tool dock according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

    Figures 3B and 3C are sectional side views of the tool dock of Figure 3A.

    Figure 3D is a top view of the tool dock of Figure 3A.

    Figure 3E is a partial enlarged view of the tool dock of Figure 3A showing a hydraulic multicoupler.

    Figure 4A is a perspective view of a drive stem according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

    Figures 4B and 4C are sectional side views of the drive stem of Figure 4A.

    Figure 4D is a top view of the drive stem of Figure 4A.

    Figure 4E is a sectional top view of the drive stem of Figure 4A.

    Figure 4F is a sectional side view of the drive stem of Figure 4A showing alignment rails. Figures 5A -5E schematically illustrate a sequence coupling the tool dock to the load frame in the combined multicoupler system.

    Figure 6A -6E schematically illustrate a sequence coupling the drive stem to the tool dock in the combined multicoupler system.



    [0010] To facilitate understanding, identical reference numerals have been used, where possible, to designate identical elements that are common to the figures. It is contemplated that elements disclosed in one embodiment may be beneficially utilized on other embodiments without specific recitation. The drawings referred to here should not be understood as being drawn to scale unless specifically noted. Also, the drawings are often simplified and details or components omitted for clarity of presentation and explanation. The drawings and discussion serve to explain principles discussed below, where like designations denote like elements.

    DETAILED DESCRIPTION



    [0011] Figure 1 is a schematic perspective view of a combined multicoupler system 100 according to one embodiment of the present disclosure. The combined multicoupler system 100 includes a load frame 120 for connecting to a hook on a derrick. A tool dock 130 may be inserted into the load frame 120. The tool dock 130 is configured to house a tool, such as a tool attached to a. The load frame 120 may have a load shoulder to transfer axial load from a drilling string attached to the tool dock 130 to the derrick. The combined multicoupler system 100 further includes a drive stem 140. The drive stem 140 may be movably coupled to the load frame 120. The drive stem 140 may move relative to the load frame 120 along a vertical axis 101 to connect with or disconnect from the tool dock 130. When connected to the tool dock 130, the drive stem 140 may transfer torsional load to the tool dock 130.

    [0012] Figure 2A is a perspective view of the load frame 120 according to one embodiment of the present disclosure. Figures 2B and 2C are sectional side views of the load frame 120. Figure 2D is a sectional top view of the load frame 120.

    [0013] The load frame 120 includes a C-shaped frame body 202 and a side door 204. A load shoulder 224 is formed in the frame body 202 and the side door 204 for receiving the tool dock 130 and transferring axial loads. The frame body 202 and the side door 204 is movably coupled together, such as by a hinge pin 216, so that the side door 204 can be opened and closed. When the side door 204 is in an open position, as shown in Figure 1, a tool dock, such as the tool dock 138, can be inserted or removed from the load frame 120 by moving along a horizontal direction into the frame body 202. The side door 204 is closed, as shown in Figure 2A, to hold the tool dock 130 for operation.

    [0014] In one embodiment, the load frame 120 includes a door actuating assembly 206 for automatically opening and closing the side door 204. In one embodiment, the door actuating assembly 206 includes an actuator 220 and a gear assembly 222.

    [0015] In one embodiment, a locking pin 218 is inserted through the frame body 202 and the side door 204 to lock the side door 204 in the closed position. In one embodiment, the load frame 120 includes a pin puller assembly 208 that is used to insert the locking pin 218 to lock the side door 204 and to pull the locking pin 218 to unlock the side door 204. In one embodiment, the pin puller assembly 208 includes a hydraulic actuator to move the locking pin 218.

    [0016] The load frame 120 may include one or more linkages 210 for connecting to the load frame 120 to a derrick. In one embodiment, the linkage 210 has two link arms 210 attached to the frame body 202. Each link arm 210 is connected to the frame body 202 through a link pin 226 at one end. Each link arm 210 include a link structure, such as a through hole 228, on another end. The through hole 228 receives a link pin to connect with the derrick, such as a travelling block on the derrick.

    [0017] In one embodiment, the load frame 120 includes a proximity sensor array 238. The proximity sensor array 238 may be disposed on the frame body 202. The proximity sensor array 238 can be used to detect a position of a tool dock being installed or to measure a distance of the tool dock being installed. When the tool dock is in position, the side door 204 can be closed so the tool dock can be securely positioned in the load frame 120.

    [0018] The load frame 120 may further include a drive support 230 for supporting a drive unit 212. The drive support 230 may be a ring shaped body coupled between the link arms 210. Figure 2E is a perspective view the load frame 120 showing the support 230 with the drive unit 212 removed. The drive unit 212 may include one or more electric motors. In one embodiment, a gear box 214 may be connected to the drive unit 212. The gear box 214 may be used to connect the motors to a drive stem, such as the drive stem 140. The drive unit 212 may be used to rotate the drive stem attached thereto.

    [0019] In one embodiment, the load frame 120 includes a guide rail 232 to guide vertical movements of a drive stem attached to the drive unit 212. The guide rail 232 may be fixedly attached to the frame body 202. The drive stem 140 may move up along the guide rail 232 to allow removal and installation of a tool dock.

    [0020] In one embodiment, the load frame 120 further includes a hydraulic multicoupler 234. The hydraulic multicoupler 234 may be attached to a bracket 236. The bracket 236 may be attached to the frame body 202. The bracket 236 may extend downward from the frame body 202. The hydraulic multicoupler 234 is positioned to couple with a hydraulic manifold on a tool dock when the tool dock is connected to the load frame 120. In one embodiment, the hydraulic multicoupler 234 may be mounted on a spherical bearing to accommodate misalignment between the tool dock and the load frame 120.

    [0021] Figure 2E is a perspective view of the load frame 120 showing the side door 204 in the open position. The side door 204 may swing open or close relative to the frame body 202 by the door actuating assembly 206. The gear assembly 222 of the door actuating assembly 206 may be disposed on the frame body 202 and the side door 204. Figure 2F is a partial perspective view of the gear assembly 222 of the door actuating assembly of Figure 2E.

    [0022] The gear assembly 222 may include a drive gear 244 meshed with a driven gear 246. In Figure 2F, the drive gear 244 is disposed on the side door 204 and the driven gear 246 is disposed on the frame body 202. Alternatively, the drive gear 244 may be disposed on the frame body 202 and the driven gear 246 may be disposed on the side door 206. As shown in Figure 2F, the drive gear 244 is connected to the actuator 220. In one embodiment, the actuator 220 may be a rotary hydraulic actuator. The actuator 220 may rotate the drive gear 244 causing the side door 204 to swing open or close through the coupling between the drive gear 244 and the driven gear 246. In one embodiment, the drive gear 244 may be further coupled to an idle gear 248. The idle gear 248 is further coupled to a turns counter 250. The turns counter 250 may be used to sense intermittent positions of the side doors 204 while the side door 206 is being opened or being closed.

    [0023] Figure 2G is a partial exploded view of the load frame 120 showing the pin puller assembly 208. The pin puller assembly 208 may include a cantilever arm 252. A hydraulic cylinder 254 may be connected to the cantilever arm 252 to move raise and lower the cantilever arm 252. The lock pin 218 is attached to the cantilever arm 252. Movements of the cantilever arm 252 pull the lock pin 218 from the frame body 202 or insert the lock pin 218 into the frame body 202. The side door 204 has a through hole 240 formed at an end. When the side door 204 is closed, the through hole 240 aligns with through holes 242 in the frame body 202 so that the lock pin 218 may be inserted through the through holes 240 and 242 to lock the side door 204 to the frame body 202 at the closed position.

    [0024] In one embodiment, the load frame 120 may also include a sensor assembly 258 disposed on or near the pin puller assembly 208. The sensor assembly 258 may include one or more proximity sensors to confirm that the side door 204 is closed. The sensor assembly 258 may also include one or more linear transducers configured to detect intermittent positions of the lock pin 218 during locking or unlocking of the side door 204. In one embodiment, the sensor assembly 258 may include a proximity sensor positioned to sense the lock pin 218 when the lock pin 218 is inserted therough the through holes 240, 242, therefore confirming locking of the side door 204.

    [0025] Figure 3A is a perspective view of the tool dock 130 according to one embodiment of the present disclosure. Figures 3B and 3C are sectional side views of the tool dock 130. Figure 3D is a top view of the tool dock 130.

    [0026] The tool dock 130 may include a housing 302. The housing 302 may be a tubular having an outer shoulder 308 and an inner shoulder 310. The housing 302 may include a central bore 312. The outer shoulder 308 may be inserted into the load shoulder 224 of the load frame 120 when the tool dock 130 is installed in the load frame 120.

    [0027] The tool dock 130 further includes a drive sleeve 308 disposed in the housing 302. A thrust bearing 314 may be disposed on the inner shoulder 310 in the housing 302. A lower end 306a of the drive sleeve 308 is disposed on the thrust bearing 314. The thrust bearing 314 transfers axial loads between the housing 302 and the drive sleeve 306. A radial bearing 316 may be disposed between an outer surface 306b of the drive sleeve 306 and an inner surface 302a of the housing 302. The radial bearing allows rotation between the drive sleeve 306 and the housing 302. A top cover 322 may be fixedly attached to the housing 302 to prevent the radial bearing 316 and the drive sleeve 306 from moving axially relative to the housing 302.

    [0028] An upper end 306c of the drive sleeve 306 extends from the housing 302. The upper end 306c may be coupled with a drive stem, such as the drive stem 140, to transfer axial and torsional loads from the drive stem. The upper end 306a may have a torque transfer profile 318 for transferring torsional loads to and from the stem drive 140. In one embodiment, the torque transfer profile 318 may be a bayonet profile. The upper end 306a may further include an axial load profile 320 for transferring axial loads to and from the stem drive 140. In one embodiment, the axial load profile 320 may be a groove for receiving one or more load bearing balls.

    [0029] A tool mandrel 304 may be coupled to the drive sleeve 306. The tool mandrel 304 may be a part of or be connected to any tools that can be used with a top drive, such as a drilling tool, a casing tool, a cementing tool, a completion tool, a fracturing tool, a pump, a sand screen, a clamping tool, an internal gripping tool, an external gripping tool, an adaptor, or a combination thereof. The tool mandrel 304 may include a central bore 333 for providing a fluid communication for drilling fluid, cement, and other well construction fluids.

    [0030] In one embodiment, the tool mandrel 304 may be coupled to the drive sleeve 306 by a threaded connection 324. The threaded connection 342 transfers axial loads between the drive sleeve 306 and the tool mandrel 304. A lower end 304a of the tool mandrel 304 may extend from the housing 302. In one embodiment, the lower end 304a may include a connection feature for connecting with a workstring or a tool.

    [0031] An upper end 304b of the tool mandrel 304 extends into the top end 306c of the drive sleeve 306. In one embodiment, the tool mandrel 304 includes a torsional load transfer profile 326 for transferring torsional loads between the load mandrel 304 and the drive sleeve 306. The drive sleeve 306 may also include a torsional load transfer profile 328 formed on the upper end 306c. In one embodiment, the torsional load transfer profiles 326, 328 may be key ways for receiving one or more torque keys 330 therein.

    [0032] In one embodiment, the tool dock 130 further includes a hydraulic swivel 332 for providing hydraulic fluid to the tool. The hydraulic swivel 332 may include a rotating sleeve 336 attached to the tool mandrel 304 and a stationary sleeve 338 attached to the housing 302. When the tool mandrel 304 rotates relative to the housing 302, the rotating sleeve 336 rotates relative to the stationary sleeve 338. One or more fluid paths 340 may be formed between the stationary sleeve 338 and the rotating sleeve 336. In one embodiment, the tool dock 130 may include a swivel sleeve 334 attached on an outer surface of the tool mandrel 304. The rotating sleeve 336 may be attached to a flange 342 of the swivel sleeve 334.

    [0033] A hydraulic multicoupler 344 may be attached to the housing 304 or to the stationary sleeve 338. Figure 3E is a partial enlarged view of the tool dock 130 showing the hydraulic multicoupler 344. The hydraulic multicoupler 344 may include a housing 348 having one or more hydraulic connector 346 disposed therein. Each hydraulic connector 346 may be connected to one of the fluid path 340.

    [0034] The housing 348 may be connected to the housing 304 or the stationary sleeve 338 by a spherical bearing 350. The spherical bearing 350 allows the housing 348 to rotate along three axes to enable alignment between the hydraulic multicoupler 344 and the hydraulic multicoupler 234 on the load frame 120.

    [0035] Figure 4A is a perspective view of the drive stem 140 according to one embodiment of the present disclosure. Figures 4B and 4C are sectional side views of the drive stem 140. Figure 4D is a top view of the drive stem 140.

    [0036] The drive stem 140 include a stem shaft 402. An index plate 404 may be coupled to the drive shaft 402. The index plate 404 may be coupled to an outer diameter of the drive shaft 402 by a bearing 405 so that the drive shaft 402 is rotatable relative to the index plate 404. The index plate 404 and the drive shaft 402 do not move relative to each other on the longitudinal direction along a central axis 401.

    [0037] A locking sleeve 408 may be movably attached to the drive shaft 402. An actuation plate 406 may be coupled to the locking sleeve 408. The actuation plate 406 may be coupled to an outer diameter of the locking sleeve 408 by a bearing 407 so that the locking sleeve 408 is rotatable relative to the actuation plate 406. The actuation plate 406 and the locking sleeve 408 do not move relative to each other on the longitudinal direction along the central axis 401.

    [0038] One or more actuator 412 may be coupled between the index plate 404 and the actuation plate 406 to move the actuation plate 406 and the locking sleeve 408 relative to the drive shaft 402. In one embodiment, the one or more actuator 412 may be one or more pneumatic cylinder. In one embodiment, the one or more actuator 412 may be coupled between one or more tab 414 of the index plate 404 and one or more tab 416 of the actuation plate 406. As shown in Figure 4A, the drive stem 140 may include two actuators 412. The two actuators 412 may be connected to the index plate 404 at 180 ° from each other to provide symmetric actuation.

    [0039] In one embodiment, the drive stem 140 may include one or more alignment rail 430 disposed between the index plate 404 and the actuation plate 406. Figure 4F is a sectional side view of the drive stem of Figure 4A showing the alignment rails 430. In one embodiment, the drive stem 140 may include four alignment rails 430 distributed about 90° from each other, as shown in Figure 4D.

    [0040] In one embodiment, the drive stem 140 may include guide openings 418, 420 configured to guide linear movement of the drive stem 140. The guide opening 418 may be formed through the index plate 404. The guide opening 420 may be formed through the actuation plate 406. The guide openings 418, 420 may be aligned along a line parallel to the central axis 401 of the drive stem 140. When the drive stem 140 is installed on the load frame 120, the guide openings 418, 420 receive the guide post 232 of the load frame 120 to direct vertical movements of the drive stem 140. In one embodiment, one or more bearings 422 may be disposed in the guide opening 418, 420.

    [0041] The stem shaft 402 may include a central bore 410. The stem shaft 402 is configured to connect a drive unit, such as the drive unit 212, to a tool dock, such as the tool dock 130. The stem shaft 402 transfers torsional loads between the drive unit and the tool dock. The central bore 410 is configured to provide a fluid path for working fluids, such as mud, cement, and other well construction fluids.

    [0042] The stem shaft 402 may include an upper end 402a configured to connect with a drive unit and a lower end 402b configured to connect with a tool dock. The lower end 402b may have an outer diameter larger than an outer diameter of the upper end 402a. A tool receiving opening 436 is formed in the lower end 402b. The tool receiving opening 436 may be shaped to receive a tool dock, such as the tool dock 130.

    [0043] A torque transfer profile 428 formed in an inner surface of the tool receiving opening 436. Figure 4E is a sectional top view of the drive stem 140 showing the torque transfer profile 428 according to one embodiment of the present disclosure. The torque transfer profile 428 may include one or more torque keys 426 formed on the inner surface of the stem shaft 402.

    [0044] In one embodiment, a plurality of through holes 434 may be formed through the stem shaft 402 at the lower end 402b. A lock element 432 is movably disposed in each through hole 434. In one embodiment, the lock element 432 may be a lock ball. Alternatively, the lock element 432 may be in other shapes, such as a cylinder. When the locking sleeve 408 moves down to a locked position, as shown in Figures 4B and 4C, the lock elements 432 are pushed radially inward into the tool receiving opening 436 by the locking sleeve 408, thereby, forming an axial load profile to lock a tool dock in an axial position. When the locking sleeve 408 moves up to an unlock position, the lock elements 432 may be pushed radially outward to allow a tool dock in or out the tool receiving opening 436.

    [0045] A pipe portion 402c is formed in the tool receiving opening 436. When a tool dock is inserted in the tool receiving opening 436, the pipe portion 402c may be inserted into a central bore of the tool dock to form a fluid path between the central bore 410 and the central bore of the tool dock. In one embodiment, one or more seal element may be disposed on an outer surface of the pipe portion 402 to form a sealed fluid connection with a tool dock.

    [0046] Figures 5A -5E schematically illustrate a sequence coupling the tool dock 130 to the load frame 120 in the combined multicoupler system 100. The side door 204 of the load frame 120 is open and the drive stem 140 is raised to receive the tool dock 130. The tool dock 130 may be moved adjacent to the load frame 120 and aligned with the load frame 120 so that the outer shoulder 308 of the tool dock 130 may be inserted into the load shoulder 224 of the load frame 120. In one embodiment, the outer shoulder 308 and/or the load shoulder 224 may have guidance chamfers formed thereon to provide tolerance in alignment. In one embodiment, the tool dock 130 may be misaligned with the load frame 120 for about ± 0.25 inch (or about ± 6.5mm) in vertical and horizontal directions. The proximate sensor array 238 on the load frame 120 may be used to align the tool dock 130 and the load frame 120.

    [0047] In one embodiment, the alignment of the tool dock 130 may include adjusting the orientation of the tool dock 130 to align the hydraulic multicoupler 344 on the tool dock 130 with the hydraulic multicoupler 244 on the load frame 120.

    [0048] After the tool dock 130 is aligned with the load frame 120, the tool dock 130 may be inserted into the load frame 120 as shown in Figure 5A. In one embodiment, the proximate sensor array 238 on the load frame 120 may be used to detect the relative position of the tool dock 130 during inserting. When the tool dock 130 is inserted in the load frame 120, the hydraulic multicoupler 344 on the tool dock 130 is also coupled to the hydraulic multicoupler 234 on the load frame 120.

    [0049] After the tool dock 130 is inserted into the load frame 120, the side door 204 may be closed to secure the tool dock 130 in the load frame 120 as shown in Figure 5C. The turns counter 250 on the door actuating assembly 206 may be used to intermittent positions of the side door 204. The turns counter 250 may be used to determine whether the side door 204 is closed. In one embodiment, one or more proximity sensors in the sensor assembly 258 may sense the position of the side door 204 to confirm that the side door 204 is closed.

    [0050] Upon confirmation that the side door 204 is closed, the pin puller assembly 208 may lower the lock pin 218 down to lock the side door 204 to the frame body 202. Figure 5C is a perspective view of the pin puller assembly 208 with the lock pin 218 in an intermittent positon. Figure 5D is a perspective view of the pin puller assembly 208 with the lock pin 218 in a locked position. In one embodiment, a linear transducer 256 in the sensor assembly 258 may be used to monitor the intermittent positions of the lock pin 218. Figure 5E schematically illustrates the linear transducer 256. The linear transducer 256 may be used to determine whether the lock pin 218 is in the locking position. In one embodiment, one or more proximity sensors 260, shown in Figure 5D, in the sensor assembly 258 may be used to detect the lock pin 218 in the locking position, therefore confirming that the side door 204 has been locked.

    [0051] After the tool dock 130 is coupled to the load frame 120, the drive stem 140 may be coupled to the tool dock 130 for operation. Figure 6A -6E schematically illustrate a sequence coupling the drive stem 140 to the tool dock 130 in the combined multicoupler system 100.

    [0052] Figure 6A is a schematic side view of the combined multicoupler system 100 after the tool dock 130 is coupled to the load frame 120 and prior to the tool dock 130 is coupled to the drive stem 140. The drive stem 140 is clear from the tool dock 130. The locking sleeve 408 is raised to the unlocked position. At the position shown in Figure 6A, the drive stem 140 may be rotated to align the torque keys 426 with the torque transfer profile 318 on the tool dock 130.

    [0053] The drive stem 140 may then be lowered toward the tool dock 130 to form a connection therebetween. While lowering the drive stem 140, the proximity sensor array 238 on the load frame 120 may be used to sensing the position of the drive stem 140. Figure 6B is a schematic perspective view of the combined multicoupler system 100 showing the proximity sensor array 238 relative to the drive stem 140. In one embodiment, the proximity sensor array 238 may be used to sensing the position of the actuation plate 406 to determine the final position of the drive stem 140.

    [0054] Figures 6C-6D are schematic sectional views of the coupling sequence between the drive stem 140 and the tool dock 130. In Figure 6C, the drive stem 140 is being moved downwardly so that the pipe portion 402c of the drive stem 140 is inserted into the central bore 333 of the tool dock 130, and the torque keys 426 of the drive stem 140 mate with the torque transfer profile 318 of the tool dock 130. The vertical movement of the drive stem 140 may be guided by the guide rail 232.

    [0055] In Figure 6D, the drive shaft 402 of the drive stem 140 is moved to the target positon wherein the torque keys 426 are coupled with the torque transfer profile 318 and the locking elements 432 are aligned with the axial load transfer profile 320. The target position of the drive stem 140 may be monitored and sensed by the proximity sensor array 238. In this position, a fluid path is formed between the central bores 410 and 332, and a torque load transfer path is formed between the torque keys 426 and the torque transfer profile 318.

    [0056] In Figure 6E, the locking sleeve 408 is lowered to push the locking elements 432 into the axial load profile 320. The actuation plate 406 may move with the locking sleeve 408. The proximity sensor array 238 may be used to detect the position of the actuation plate 406 to determine whether the locking sleeve 408 is in the locked position. The locking elements 432 protrude into the axial load profile 320 therefore providing an axial load transfer path between the tool dock 130 and the drive stem 120.

    [0057] Embodiments of the present disclosure provide a coupler for a top drive. The coupler includes a load frame comprising a frame body having a load shoulder, and a side door coupled to the frame body, wherein the side door opens from the frame body to allow a tool to move horizontally into the frame body, and the side door closes to lock the tool in the load frame, and a drive stem movably coupled to the load frame, wherein the drive stem moves vertically to connect and disconnect with the tool in the load frame.

    [0058] In one or more embodiment, the load frame further comprises a hydraulic multicoupler attached to the frame body, wherein the hydraulic multicoupler is positioned to connect with a hydraulic multicoupler on the tool when the tool is inserted into the load shoulder.

    [0059] In one or more embodiment, the coupler further includes a door actuating assembly coupled to the side door and the frame body, wherein the door actuating assembly automatically opens and closes the side door.

    [0060] In one or more embodiment, the door actuating assembly comprises a gear assembly connected to the side door, and a motor attached to the gear assembly.

    [0061] In one or more embodiment, the door actuating assembly further comprises a turns counter coupled to the gear assembly, wherein the turns counter is configured to monitor positions of the side door.

    [0062] In one or more embodiment, the coupler further includes one or more proximity sensors positioned to detect the side door at the closed position.

    [0063] In one or more embodiment, the coupler further includes a pin puller assembly for inserting a lock pin between the side door and the load frame when the side door is at the closed position.

    [0064] In one or more embodiment, the coupler further includes a linear transducer positioned to sensing intermittent positions of the lock pin.

    [0065] In one or more embodiment, the coupler further includes a sensor assembly attached to the frame body, wherein the sensor assembly comprises one or more proximity sensors positioned to detect positions of the drive stem.

    [0066] In one or more embodiment, the coupler further includes further comprising a drive unit connected with the load frame, wherein the drive unit is coupled to the drive stem.

    [0067] In one or more embodiment, the drive stem comprises a drive shaft having a tool receiving opening and a torque profile, a plurality of locking elements movably disposed in the drive shaft, and a locking sleeve disposed over the drive shaft, wherein the locking sleeve is movable between a lock position and a unlock position, the locking sleeve pushes the plurality of locking elements radially inward at the lock position and release the locking elements at the unlock position.

    [0068] In one or more embodiment, the drive stem further comprises an index plate rotatably coupled to the drive shaft, an actuation plate rotatably coupled to the locking sleeve, and an actuator coupled between the index plate and the actuation plate to move the index plate relative to the actuation plate along an axial direction.

    [0069] In one or more embodiment, the drive stem further comprises one or more alignment rail disposed between the actuation plate and the index plate.

    [0070] In one or more embodiment, the load frame comprises a guide rail along the axial direction, and the index plate and the actuator plate include alignment openings receiving the guide rail.

    [0071] Some embodiments of the present disclosure provide a tool dock for connecting a tool to a top drive. The tool dock includes a housing having a load shoulder formed on an outer surface, a drive sleeve rotatably disposed in the housing, wherein the drive sleeve has a load profile and a central bore for receiving a tool mandrel therein, and a hydraulic swivel attached to the housing.

    [0072] In one or more embodiment, the load profile includes a groove formed the outer surface of the drive sleeve for receiving one or more load bearing elements, and torque keys formed on the drive sleeve.

    [0073] In one or more embodiment, the housing has a threaded portion formed on an inner surface the housing for forming a threaded connection with the tool mandrel.

    [0074] In one or more embodiment, the tool dock further includes one or more torque keys for torsionally coupling the drive sleeve to the tool mandrel.

    [0075] Some embodiments of the present disclosure provide a method for connecting a tool to a top drive. The method includes horizontally moving a tool connected to a tool dock into a load frame coupled to the top drive, closing a side door of the load frame to lock the tool in the load frame, and lowering a drive stem towards to the tool dock to connect the drive stem to the tool dock.

    [0076] In one or more embodiment, moving the tool comprises: aligning the tool dock with the load frame, and sliding the tool dock into the load shoulder.

    [0077] In one or more embodiment, lowering the drive stem comprises aligning a torque transfer profile on the tool dock with a torque transfer profile on the drive stem, lowering the drive stem to the tool dock to torsionally couple the drive stem to the tool dock, and moving one or more locking elements of the drive stem into an axial load transfer profile on the tool dock.

    [0078] In one or more embodiment, moving the one or more locking elements comprises moving a locking sleeve disposed over the drive stem to push the one or more locking elements toward the tool dock.

    [0079] In one or more embodiment, the method further includes coupling a hydraulic multicoupler on the tool with a hydraulic multicoupler on the load frame.

    [0080] While the foregoing is directed to embodiments of the present disclosure, other and further embodiments of the disclosure may be devised without departing from the basic scope thereof, and the scope of the invention is determined by the claims that follow.


    Claims

    1. A coupler for a top drive, comprising:

    a load frame (120) comprising a frame body (202); and

    a drive stem (140) movably coupled to the load frame, wherein the drive stem moves vertically to connect and disconnect with a tool dock (130) positioned in the load frame;

    characterised in that the frame body comprises a load shoulder (224) for transferring an axial load from the tool dock to the frame body;

    and in that the coupler further comprises a side door (204) coupled to the frame body, wherein the side door opens from the frame body to allow the tool dock to move horizontally into the frame body, and the side door closes to lock the tool dock in the load frame.


     
    2. The coupler of claim 1, wherein the load frame (120) further comprises:
    a hydraulic multicoupler (234) attached to the frame body (202), wherein the hydraulic multicoupler is positioned to connect with a hydraulic multicoupler (344) on the tool dock (130) when the tool dock is inserted into the load shoulder (224).
     
    3. The coupler of claim 1 or 2, further comprising a door actuating assembly (206) coupled to the side door (204) and the frame body (202), wherein the door actuating assembly automatically opens and closes the side door;
    and wherein the door actuating assembly optionally comprises a gear assembly (222) connected to the side door and a motor attached to the gear assembly; and optionally a turns counter (250) coupled to the gear assembly, wherein the turns counter is configured to monitor positions of the side door.
     
    4. The coupler of claim 3, further comprising one or more proximity sensors (258) positioned to detect the side door (204) at the closed position.
     
    5. The coupler of any preceding claim, further comprising:

    a pin puller assembly (208) for inserting a lock pin (218) between the side door (204) and the load frame (120) when the side door is at the closed position;

    wherein the coupler optionally further comprises a linear transducer (256) positioned to sensing intermittent positions of the lock pin.


     
    6. The coupler of any preceding claim, further comprising a sensor assembly (258) attached to the frame body (202), wherein the sensor assembly comprises one or more proximity sensors positioned to detect positions of the drive stem (140), and/or wherein the coupler further comprises a drive unit (212) connected with the load frame (120), wherein the drive unit is coupled to the drive stem.
     
    7. The coupler of any preceding claim, wherein the drive stem (140) comprises:

    a drive shaft (402) having a tool receiving opening (436) and a torque profile (428);

    a plurality of locking elements (432) movably disposed in the drive shaft; and

    a locking sleeve (408) disposed over the drive shaft, wherein the locking sleeve is movable between a lock position and a unlock position, the locking sleeve pushes the plurality of locking elements radially inward at the lock position and release the locking elements at the unlock position.


     
    8. The coupler of claim 7, wherein the drive stem (140) further comprises:

    an index plate (404) rotatably coupled to the drive shaft (402);

    an actuation plate (406) rotatably coupled to the locking sleeve (408); and

    an actuator (412) coupled between the index plate and the actuation plate to move the index plate relative to the actuation plate along an axial direction;

    wherein the drive stem optionally further comprises one or more alignment rail (430) disposed between the actuation plate and the index plate; and/or

    wherein the load frame (120) optionally comprises a guide rail (232) along the axial direction, and the index plate and the actuator plate include alignment openings (418,420) receiving the guide rail.


     
    9. A tool dock (130) for connecting a tool to a top drive, comprising:

    a housing (302) having a load shoulder (308) formed on an outer surface thereof for transferring an axial load from the tool dock to a frame body of the top drive;

    a drive sleeve (306) rotatably disposed in the housing, wherein the drive sleeve has a load profile (328) and a central bore for receiving a tool mandrel (304) therein, the tool mandrel being part of or connected to the tool; and

    a hydraulic swivel (332) attached to the housing for providing hydraulic fluid to the tool.


     
    10. The tool dock (130) of claim 9, wherein the load profile (328) includes:

    a groove (320) formed the outer surface of the drive sleeve (306) for receiving one or more load bearing elements; and

    torque keys (330) formed on the drive sleeve.


     
    11. The tool dock (130) of claim 9 or 10, wherein the housing (302) has a threaded portion formed on an inner surface the housing for forming a threaded connection (324) with the tool mandrel (304).
     
    12. The tool dock (130) of any of claims 9, 10 or 11, further comprising one or more torque keys (426) for torsionally coupling the drive sleeve (306) to the tool mandrel (304).
     
    13. A method for connecting a tool to a top drive, comprising:

    horizontally moving a tool connected to a tool dock (130) into a load frame (120) coupled to the top drive;

    closing a side door (204) of the load frame to lock the tool in the load frame; and

    lowering a drive stem (140) towards the tool dock to connect the drive stem to the tool dock.


     
    14. The method of claim 13, wherein moving the tool comprises:

    aligning the tool dock (130) with the load frame (120); and

    sliding the tool dock into a load shoulder (224);

    and/or coupling a hydraulic multicoupler (344) on the tool with a hydraulic multicoupler (234) on the load frame.


     
    15. The method of claim 13 or 14, wherein lowering the drive stem (140) comprises:

    aligning a torque transfer profile (318) on the tool dock (130) with a torque transfer profile (428) on the drive stem;

    lowering the drive stem to the tool dock (130) to torsionally couple the drive stem to the tool dock; and

    moving one or more locking elements (432) of the drive stem into an axial load transfer profile (320) on the tool dock, optionally by moving a locking sleeve (408) disposed over the drive stem to push the one or more locking elements toward the tool dock.


     


    Ansprüche

    1. Koppler für einen Kraftdrehkopf, wobei der Koppler Folgendes umfasst:

    einen Lastrahmen (120), der einen Rahmenkörper (202) umfasst, und

    einen Antriebsschaft (140), der beweglich an den Lastrahmen gekoppelt ist, wobei sich der Antriebsschaft in Vertikalrichtung bewegt, um sich mit einer Werkzeugkopplung (130), die in dem Lastrahmen angeordnet ist, zu verbinden und von derselben zu trennen,

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der Rahmenkörper einen Lastabsatz (224) zum Übertragen einer axialen Last von der Werkzeugkopplung zu dem Rahmenkörper umfasst,

    und dadurch, dass der Koppler ferner eine Seitenpforte (204) umfasst, die an den Rahmenkörper gekoppelt ist, wobei sich die Seitenpforte von dem Rahmenkörper öffnet, um zu ermöglichen, dass sich die Werkzeugkopplung in Horizontalrichtung in den Rahmenkörper bewegt, und sich die Seitenpforte schließt, um die Werkzeugkopplung in dem Lastrahmen zu arretieren.


     
    2. Koppler nach Anspruch 1, wobei der Lastrahmen (120) ferner Folgendes umfasst:
    einen Hydraulik-Mehrfachkoppler (234), der an dem Rahmenkörper (202) befestigt ist, wobei der Hydraulik-Mehrfachkoppler dafür angeordnet ist, sich mit einem Hydraulik-Mehrfachkoppler (344) an der Werkzeugkopplung (130) zu verbinden, wenn die Werkzeugkopplung in den Lastabsatz (224) eingesetzt wird.
     
    3. Koppler nach Anspruch 1 oder 2, der ferner eine Pfortenbetätigungsbaugruppe (206) umfasst, die an die Seitenpforte (204) und den Rahmenkörper (202) gekoppelt ist, wobei die Pfortenbetätigungsbaugruppe die Seitenpforte automatisch öffnet und schließt;
    und wobei die Pfortenbetätigungsbaugruppe wahlweise eine Getriebebaugruppe (222), die mit der Seitenpforte verbunden ist, und einen Motor, der an der Getriebebaugruppe befestigt ist, und wahlweise einen Drehungszähler (250), der an die Getriebebaugruppe gekoppelt ist, umfasst, wobei der Drehungszähler dafür konfiguriert ist, Positionen der Seitenpforte zu überwachen.
     
    4. Koppler nach Anspruch 3, der ferner einen oder mehrere Näherungssensoren (258) umfasst, die dafür angeordnet sind, die Seitenpforte (204) an der geschlossenen Position zu erfassen.
     
    5. Koppler nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, der ferner Folgendes umfasst:

    eine Stiftzieherbaugruppe (208) zum Einsetzen eines Sicherungsstifts (218) zwischen der Seitenpforte (240) und dem Lastrahmen (120), wenn sich die Seitenpforte an der geschlossenen Position befindet,

    wobei der Koppler wahlweise ferner einen linearen Wandler (256) umfasst, der dafür positioniert ist, zeitweilige Positionen des Sicherungsstifts zu erfassen.


     
    6. Koppler nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, der ferner eine Sensorbaugruppe (258) umfasst, die an dem Rahmenkörper (202) befestigt ist, wobei die Sensorbaugruppe einen oder mehrere Näherungssensoren umfasst, die dafür angeordnet sind, Positionen des Antriebsschafts (140) zu erfassen und/oder wobei der Koppler ferner eine Antriebseinheit (212) umfasst, die mit dem Lastrahmen (120) verbunden ist, wobei die Antriebseinheit an den Antriebsschaft gekoppelt ist.
     
    7. Koppler nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei der Antriebsschaft (140) Folgendes umfasst:

    eine Antriebswelle (402), die eine Werkzeugaufnahmeöffnung (436) und ein Drehmomentprofil (428) aufweist,

    mehrere Verriegelungselemente (432), die beweglich in der Antriebswelle angeordnet sind, und

    eine Verriegelungshülse (408), die über der Antriebswelle angeordnet ist, wobei die Verriegelungshülse zwischen einer Verriegelungsposition und einer Entriegelungsposition beweglich ist, wobei die Verriegelungshülse an der Verriegelungsposition die mehreren Verriegelungselemente in Radialrichtung nach innen schiebt und an der Entriegelungsposition die Verriegelungselemente freigibt.


     
    8. Koppler nach Anspruch 7, wobei der ferner Folgendes umfasst:

    eine Schaltplatte (404), die drehbar an die Antriebswelle (402) gekoppelt ist,

    eine Betätigungsplatte (406), die drehbar an die Verriegelungshülse (408) gekoppelt ist, und

    einen Stellantrieb (412), der zwischen der Schaltplatte und der Betätigungsplatte gekoppelt ist, um die Schaltplatte im Verhältnis zu der Betätigungsplatte entlang einer axialen Richtung zu bewegen,

    wobei der Antriebsschaft wahlweise ferner eine oder mehrere Ausrichtungsschienen (430) umfasst, die zwischen der Betätigungsplatte und der Schaltplatte angeordnet sind, und/oder

    wobei der Lastrahmen (120) wahlweise eine Führungsschiene (232) entlang der axialen Richtung umfasst und die Schaltplatte und die Betätigungsplatte Ausrichtungsöffnungen (418, 420) einschließen, welche die Führungsschiene aufnehmen.


     
    9. Werkzeugkopplung (130) zum Verbinden eines Werkzeugs mit einem Kraftdrehkopf, die Folgendes umfasst:

    ein Gehäuse (302), das einen Lastabsatz (308) aufweist, der an einer Außenfläche desselben zum Übertragen einer axialen Last von der Werkzeugkopplung zu einem Rahmenkörper des Kraftdrehkopfs geformt ist,

    eine Antriebshülse (306), die drehbar in dem Gehäuse angeordnet ist, wobei die Antriebshülse ein Lastprofil (328) und eine mittige Bohrung zum Aufnehmen eines Werkzeugdorns (304) in derselben aufweist, wobei der Werkzeugdorn Teil des Werkzeugs oder mit demselben verbunden ist, und

    einen Hydraulikwirbel (332), der zum Bereitstellen von Hydraulikfluid für das Werkzeug an dem Gehäuse befestigt ist.


     
    10. Werkzeugkopplung (130) nach Anspruch 9, wobei das Lastprofil (328) Folgendes einschließt:

    eine Rille (320), die in der Außenfläche der Antriebshülse (306) zum Aufnehmen eines oder mehrerer lasttragender Elemente geformt ist, und

    Drehmomentschlüssel (330), die in der Antriebshülse geformt sind.


     
    11. Werkzeugkopplung (130) nach Anspruch 9 oder 10, wobei das Gehäuse (302) einen mit Gewinde versehenen Abschnitt aufweist, der auf einer Innenfläche des Gehäuses geformt ist, um eine Gewindeverbindung (324) mit dem Werkzeugdorn (304) zu bilden.
     
    12. Werkzeugkopplung (130) nach einem der Ansprüche 9, 10 oder 11, die ferner einen oder mehrere Drehmomentschlüssel (426) zum drehenden Koppeln der Antriebshülse (306) an den Werkzeugdorn (304) umfasst.
     
    13. Verfahren zum Verbinden eines Werkzeugs mit einem Kraftdrehkopf, wobei das Verfahren Folgendes umfasst:

    horizontales Bewegen eines Werkzeugs, das mit einer Werkzeugkopplung (130) verbunden ist, in einen Lastrahmen (120), der an den Kraftdrehkopf gekoppelt ist,

    Schließen einer Seitenpforte (204) des Lastrahmens, um die Werkzeugkopplung in dem Lastrahmen zu arretieren, und

    Absenken eines Antriebsschafts (140) zu der Werkzeugkopplung hin, um den Antriebsschaft mit der Werkzeugkopplung zu verbinden.


     
    14. Verfahren nach Anspruch 13, wobei das Bewegen des Werkzeugs Folgendes umfasst:

    Ausrichten der Werkzeugkopplung (130) mit dem Lastrahmen (120) und

    Gleitenlassen der Werkzeugkopplung in einen Lastabsatz (224)

    und/oder Koppeln eines Hydraulik-Mehrfachkopplers (344) an dem Werkzeug mit einem Hydraulik-Mehrfachkoppler (234) an dem Lastrahmen.


     
    15. Verfahren nach Anspruch 13 oder 14, wobei das Absenken des Antriebsschafts (140) Folgendes umfasst:

    Ausrichten eines Drehmomentübertragungsprofils (318) an der Werkzeugkopplung (130) mit einem Drehmomentübertragungsprofil (428) an dem Antriebsschaft,

    Absenken des Antriebsschafts zu der Werkzeugkopplung (130), um den Antriebsschaft drehend mit der Werkzeugkopplung zu koppeln, und

    Bewegen eines oder mehrerer Verriegelungselemente (432) des Antriebsschafts in ein Axiallastübertragungsprofil (320) an der Werkzeugkopplung, wahlweise durch Bewegen einer Verriegelungshülse (408), die über dem Antriebsschaft angeordnet ist, um das eine oder die mehreren Verriegelungselemente zu der Werkzeugkopplung hin zu schieben.


     


    Revendications

    1. Coupleur pour un entraînement supérieur, comprenant :

    un cadre de charge (120) comprenant un corps de cadre (202) ; et

    une tige d'entraînement (140) accouplée de manière amovible au cadre de charge, dans lequel la tige d'entraînement se déplace verticalement pour se connecter à un socle d'outil (130) positionné dans le cadre de charge et se déconnecter de celui-ci ;

    caractérisé en ce que le corps du cadre comprend un épaulement de charge (224) pour transférer une charge axiale du socle d'outil vers le corps du cadre ;

    et en ce que le coupleur comprend en outre une porte latérale (204) accouplée au corps du cadre, la porte latérale s'ouvrant à partir du corps du cadre pour permettre le déplacement horizontal du socle d'outil dans le corps du cadre, la porte latérale se fermant pour verrouiller le socle d'outil dans le cadre de charge.


     
    2. Coupleur selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le cadre de charge (120) comprend en outre :
    un multi-coupleur hydraulique (234) fixé sur le corps du cadre (202), dans lequel le multi-coupleur hydraulique est positionné de sorte à être connecté à un multi-coupleur hydraulique (344) sur le socle d'outil (130) lorsque le socle d'outil est inséré dans l'épaulement de charge (224).
     
    3. Coupleur selon les revendications 1 ou 2, comprenant en outre un ensemble d'actionnement de la porte (206) accouplé à la porte latérale (204) et au corps du cadre (202), l'ensemble d'actionnement de la porte ouvrant et fermant automatiquement la porte latérale ;
    et dans lequel l'ensemble d'actionnement de la porte comprend optionnellement un ensemble d'engrenage (222) connecté à la porte latérale, et un moteur fixé sur l'ensemble d'engrenage ; et optionnellement un compteur de tours (250) accouplé à l'ensemble d'engrenage, le compteur de tours étant configuré pour surveiller les positions de la porte latérale.
     
    4. Coupleur selon la revendication 3, comprenant en outre un ou plusieurs capteurs de proximité (258) positionnés de sorte à détecter la porte latérale (204) dans la position fermée.
     
    5. Coupleur selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, comprenant en outre :

    un ensemble extracteur de goupilles (208) pour insérer une goupille de verrouillage (218) entre la porte latérale (204) et le cadre de charge (120) lorsque la porte latérale se trouve dans la position fermée ;

    dans lequel le coupleur comprend optionnellement en outre un transducteur linéaire (256) configuré pour détecter des positions intermittentes de la goupille de verrouillage.


     
    6. Coupleur selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, comprenant en outre un ensemble de capteur (258) fixé sur le corps du cadre (202), l'ensemble de capteur comprenant un ou plusieurs des capteurs de proximité configurés pour détecter des positions de la tige d'entraînement (140), et/ou dans lequel le coupleur comprend en outre une unité d'entraînement (212) connectée au cadre de charge (120), l'unité d'entraînement étant accouplée à la tige d'entraînement.
     
    7. Coupleur selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel la tige d'entraînement (140) comprend :

    un arbre d'entraînement (402) comportant une ouverture de réception de l'outil (436) et un profil de couple (428) ;

    plusieurs éléments de verrouillage (432) disposés de manière mobile dans l'arbre d'entraînement ; et

    un manchon de verrouillage (408) disposé au-dessus de l'arbre d'entraînement, le manchon de verrouillage pouvant être déplacé entre une position verrouillée et une position déverrouillée, le manchon de verrouillage poussant les plusieurs éléments de verrouillage radialement vers l'intérieur dans la position verrouillée et libérant les éléments de verrouillage dans la position déverrouillée.


     
    8. Coupleur selon la revendication 7, dans lequel la tige d'entraînement (140) comprend en outre :

    une plaque d'indexation (404) accouplée de manière rotative à l'arbre d'entraînement (402) ;

    une plaque d'actionnement (406) accouplée de manière rotative au manchon de verrouillage (408) ; et

    un actionneur (412) accouplé entre la plaque d'indexation et la plaque d'actionnement pour déplacer la plaque d'indexation par rapport à la plaque d'actionnement le long d'une direction axiale ;

    dans lequel la tige d'entraînement comprend optionnellement en outre un ou plusieurs rails d'alignement (430) disposés entre la plaque d'actionnement et la plaque d'indexation ; et/ou

    dans lequel le cadre de charge (120) comprend optionnellement un rail de guidage (232) le long de la direction axiale, la plaque d'indexation et la plaque d'actionnement incluant des ouvertures d'alignement (418, 420) recevant le rail de guidage.


     
    9. Socle d'outil (130) pour connecter un outil à un entraînement supérieur, comprenant :

    un boîtier (302) comprenant un épaulement de charge (308) formé sur une surface externe de celui-ci pour transférer une charge axiale du socle d'outil vers un corps de cadre de l'entraînement supérieur ;

    un manchon d'entraînement (306) disposé de manière rotative dans le boîtier, le manchon d'entraînement comportant un profil de charge (328) et un alésage central pour recevoir un mandrin d'outil (304), le mandrin d'outil faisant partie de l'outil ou étant connecté à celui-ci ; et

    un pivot hydraulique (332) fixé sur le boîtier pour fournir un fluide hydraulique à l'outil.


     
    10. Socle d'outil (130) selon la revendication 9, dans lequel le profil de charge (328) inclut :

    une rainure (320) formée sur la surface externe du manchon d'entraînement (306) pour recevoir un ou plusieurs éléments de support de charge ; et

    des clés dynamométriques (330) formées sur le manchon d'entraînement.


     
    11. Socle d'outil (130) selon les revendications 9 ou 10, dans lequel le boîtier (302) comporte une partie filetée formée sur une surface interne du boîtier pour établir une connexion filetée (324) avec le mandrin d'outil (304).
     
    12. Socle d'outil (130) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 9, 10 ou 11, comprenant en outre une ou plusieurs clés dynamométriques (426) pour accoupler par torsion le manchon d'entraînement (306) au mandrin d'outil (304).
     
    13. Procédé de connexion d'un outil à un entraînement supérieur, comprenant les étapes ci-dessous :

    déplacement horizontal d'un outil connecté à un socle d'outil (130) dans un cadre de charge (120) accouplé à l'entraînement supérieur ;

    fermeture d'une porte latérale (204) du cadre de charge pour verrouiller l'outil dans le cadre de charge ; et

    abaissement d'une tige d'entraînement (140) vers le socle d'outil pour connecter la tige d'entraînement au socle d'outil.


     
    14. Procédé selon la revendication 13, dans lequel l'étape de déplacement de l'outil comprend les étapes ci-dessous :

    alignement du socle d'outil (130) avec le cadre de charge (120) ; et

    glissement du socle d'outil dans un épaulement de charge (224) ;

    et/ou accouplement d'un multi-coupleur hydraulique (344) sur l'outil avec un multi-coupleur hydraulique (234) sur le cadre de charge.


     
    15. Procédé selon les revendications 13 ou 14, dans lequel l'étape d'abaissement de la tige d'entraînement (140) comprend les étapes ci-dessous :

    alignement d'un profil de transfert du couple (318) sur le socle d'outil (130) avec un profil de transfert du couple (428) sur la tige d'entraînement ;

    abaissement de la tige d'entraînement vers le socle d'outil (130) pour accoupler par torsion la tige d'entraînement au socle d'outil ; et

    déplacement d'un ou de plusieurs éléments de verrouillage (432) de la tige d'entraînement dans un profil de transfert de charge axiale (320) sur le socle d'outil, optionnellement par déplacement d'un manchon de verrouillage (408) disposé au-dessus de la tige d'entraînement afin de pousser ledit un ou les plusieurs éléments de verrouillage vers le socle d'outil.


     




    Drawing










































    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description