Smooth Ride to Success for APS Drilling Tool Using Magnetorheological Fluid

Using magnetorheological fluid to dampen vibration, a dynamically adjustable drilling tool from APS Technology is helping oil and gas companies achieve impressive results in their expensive drilling operations. APS has rebranded and relaunched its active vibration damper device to reflect its multiple capabilities. 

“We are excited to relaunch AVD as the SureDrill-IPDT (Intelligent Performance Drilling Tool),” said William Turner, CEO. “The new name conveys the device’s proven ability to actively mitigate a myriad of adverse drilling conditions, improve ROP (rate of penetration) and enhance overall drilling performance.” It has demonstrated 50% improvements in ROP and doubled the life of pricey drill bits in the field due to reduced vibration, he said. 

Its damper chamber is filled with a magnetorheological fluid that has electronically controlled viscosity providing programmable stiffness. An integrated motion sensor measures displacement several times per second and changes the damping factor over a 7-to-1 range based on observed drilling conditions. 

By keeping tool string damping in the right range for current drilling conditions, the IPDT significantly reduces vibration, maintaining the bit in better contact with the formation and increasing ROP. 

Based on the design of magnetic ride suspension control in automobiles, APS adapted the technology for oilfield drilling by engineering a system comprised of three main sections: the spring and torsional bearing section, which is similar to a standard shock sub; the middle damper section with the MR valve assembly, which includes a shaft position sensor, and the compensation system; and the upper section which has a turbine alternator to provide power, the control electronics, and a sensor section, which measures high frequency shock and vibration, and changes in rotational speed. A white paper available on the APS website, “Making the Most of Magnetism,” explains the technology in detail. 

Based in Wallingford, Connecticut, APS provides of an assortment of drilling optimization products used in the oil and gas industry. It also provides product development services and proprietary products to customers worldwide based on its engineering expertise in the design, development and manufacture of oilfield electronic, mechanical, instrumentation, sensor and software products; shock and vibration isolation designs; stress analysis for static and rotating conditions; and mechanical and electronics analysis for harsh environments. For more info, see