Varel International Announces Patent Pending PDC Cutter Testing Technologies | Business Wire

CARROLLTON, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Varel International, a leading manufacturer of drill bits and global

supplier to the drilling industry, announces the development and

deployment of two patent pending PDC cutter testing technologies. These

innovative tools measure cutter toughness and abrasion resistance to

enhance and improve the development and selection of PDC cutter

technology for drilling applications.

Cutter Toughness

Cutter toughness is the ability to withstand the effects of drilling

dynamics. Toughness is related to the strength of the diamond-to-diamond

bonding created during the High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT)

sintering of the PDC cutter. Historically, test methods in the industry

have been qualitative and have fallen short of providing effective data

for field cutter selection.

To better measure cutter toughness, Varel has developed its patent

pending Acoustical Emissions Toughness Test (AETT). AETT quantitatively

assesses the strength of the diamond-to-diamond bonding. With this test

a load is applied to the cutters and increased at a constant rate while

an acoustic sensor detects acoustic emissions from microcracking in the

diamond table. Measuring the energy released during microcracking yields

a concrete assessment of the PDC toughness.

Multiple types and grades of PDC cutters can be cross compared according

to their resistance to load induced microcracking yielding a highly

predictive valuation of impact toughness.

Abrasion Resistance

Abrasion resistance is the cutter’s ability to stay sharp as it drills.

The primary drawback of traditional abrasion tests is the lack of an

accurate simulated geological environment. Current tests use a

homogenous rock structure which does not calibrate how moments of high

impact energy affect a cutter’s abrasion resistance. Varel’s second

patent pending test, the Bimodal Abrasive Rock Test (BART), is a

laboratory abrasion resistance test which employs an engineered rock

sample with highly abrasive cement cast around upright layers of high

compressive strength granite to measure a cutter’s abrasion resistance.

The two rock samples create a load/unload cycle to simulate interbedded

formations and formation transitions. By recreating this environment,

BART provides a more suitable measurement of abrasion resistance

correlating to field performance and yields a quantification of a

specific cutter’s applicability to transition drilling.

When used in combination AETT and BART testing regimens promise to

significantly accelerate cutter development by speeding the

qualification of new cutters and by providing more accurate

quantification of prototype cutter attributes. These processes aid in

the development of new cutter technology and in the selection of the

best existing technology while enhancing Varel’s ability to deliver

drill bits with world-class performance.

About Varel International

Founded in 1947, Varel International is the world’s largest independent

supplier in the global oil & gas drill bit market. Headquartered in

Carrollton, Texas, Varel services oil & gas, mining, and industrial

markets with its comprehensive suite of roller cone and fixed cutter

drill bits. The company employs more than 1,000 people and has

manufacturing facilities in Carrollton, Texas; Houston, Texas;

Matamoros, Mexico and Tarbes, France, as well as sales offices

throughout the world. Varel’s proprietary design capabilities, efficient

manufacturing, and global sales force uniquely positions the company to

provide high-quality drill bits that deliver excellent performance and

value to its customer base. For more information, visit www.varelintl.com.

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