About Drill Pipe Hardbanding

What is hardbanding?

Drill pipe hardbanding protects drill pipes from abrasion and other wear and tear. Workers typically weld the wire onto the tool joint. During this process, the metallic alloy making up the wire melts and increases in both width and thickness. It is commonly used for wells that are deep, displace a large amount of material, or are at an angle rather than vertical. It has become indispensable for major international oil drilling projects.

The welded metal insulates the pipe from direct contact with the casing or well wall, protecting it from friction. Rather than the entire tool joint coming into contact with rough surfaces, it is primarily the much harder, welded area that does so for drill pipes reinforced with hardbanding.

What can hardbanding do for the oil industry?

Drill pipe replacement is expensive in terms of both cost and downtime. Aside from extending the service life of drill pipes and other equipment, drillers can substantially reduce operating costs and minimize time spent on replacing or dealing with worn-out equipment by hardbanding drill pipes. It also protects casing from excessive wear and tear.

Factors affecting performance

Though many characteristics of the drilling environment can impact wear resistance, three have a large amount of influence:

  1. Contact force between the drill pipe and wall,
  2. Friction between the drill pipe and wall, which can be impacted by the type or amount of lubricant added, temperatures, and rotational speed of the drill pipe, and
  3. Whether an adsorption film (created by adhesion of atoms, ions, or molecules to a surface) forms. This is easier between drill pipe and casing than between drill pipe and hard rock. When there is too much force between the drill pipe and the contact surface, the adsorption film disintegrates.

History of hardbanding

The industry created drill pipe hardbanding as a solution for abrasive wear that cost drilling companies millions of dollars.

Most oil drillers chose tungsten carbide upon the introduction of hardbanding. Though its hardness worked well to protect drill pipes from abrasion, the surface it comprised had a high coefficient of friction, resulting in wear damage to casing. As a result, casing failure became a problem. Tungsten carbide is still used for open-well drilling without casing.

For drilling which requires casing, firms introduced hardbanding that made use of amorphous (non-crystalline) metals. The lack of grain boundaries in amorphous metal results in an extremely smooth surface. The much lower coefficient of friction of these metals offered excellent protection for both the drill pipe and the casing.

More recently, industry players introduced a new class of alloys for the application of hardbanding as a second layer. Though these alloys aren’t as hard as other metals, they provided the flexibility to weld more than one layer of hardbanding.

What makes Hardbanding by Kooben unique among its competitors?

HBK provides high quality hardbanding wire at the industry’s most competitive prices. It is also compatable with Arnco products, meaning it can be welded over that company’s hardbanding wire for lasting protection. Browse our products to learn more.