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Oil well tool deal is 'sealed'

03 November 2009

In a landmark development between two world leaders in their respective fields, mechanical sealing specialist, John Crane has announced the signing of a Joint Development Agreement with the Hughes Christensen product line of Baker Hughes. The deal covers the development of new sealing technologies and products for use on the Tricone range of rock drilling bits manufactured by Baker Hughes. John Crane has also signed a similar ‘back-to-back’ agreement with international composite component manufacturer Greene Tweed & Co, whose products may be incorporated into future development work.
 
The umbrella agreement between John Crane and Baker Hughes defines the parameters under which the two companies will begin a series of development projects. These will focus on various areas, such as the creation of improved seal designs, lower friction sealing elements and a replacement for the traditional O-ring seal used on larger rock bits.
 
“This is a major milestone in our 14-year long relationship with Baker Hughes,” comments Stuart Hall, Technical Director for John Crane Northern Europe. “Over that time we have increased our involvement with this customer, moving through various stages of accreditation to our current standing as single source supplier to the Baker Hughes plants in both the USA and Belfast. It also strengthens our relationship with Greene Tweed with whom we already work very closely “
 
As the drilling industry continues to demand ever-more advanced sealing technology, the new agreements will allow the companies to pool their resources and develop improved sealing technology that will bring significant benefits to all involved.
 
“The cost of retrieving a failed bit inside a drill hole can often be extremely high so each bit is only used for as long as the drilling operator is confident that it will perform properly,” adds Stuart Hall. “As a result, Baker Hughes applies exacting quality standards to the mechanical sealing technology it uses, and so signing this agreement is a significant endorsement of John Crane’s product quality.
 
"Baker Hughes specifies that the critical dimensions of some seal parts are measured to within thousandths of a millimeter, with the thicknesses of the silver coating applied to some parts measured down to only a few microns. Considering that these parts often have to be heat-treated to achieve the required degree of hardness, we are very proud that we have refined our production processes to such a level that we can meet Baker Hughes’ demands without the need for any finish grinding.

"I firmly believe that the outcome of the combined development efforts between John Crane, Baker Hughes and Greene Tweed will dictate the development of the next generation of Tricone rock bit sealing and that its effects will be felt for decades to come,” concludes Stuart Hall.

 
Pictured here at the signing are (from left) Joe Haas, Global Vice President, Engineering, (John Crane); Scott Schmidt , President, Hughes Christensen (Baker Hughes); and Neil Mendes, Senior Vice President & General Manager Oilfield (Greene Tweed & Co).


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