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“Hydraulic vs. Electric: A Review of Actuation Systems in Offshore Drilling Equipment”

Authors: Witold Pawlus, Martin Choux and Michael R. Hansen,
Affiliation: University of Agder and MHWirth AS
Reference: 2016, Vol 37, No 1, pp. 1-17.

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Keywords: Offshore drilling, electric motors, hydraulic powertrains, actuation systems, drivetrain design

Abstract: This article presents a survey on actuation systems encountered in offshore drilling applications. Specifically, it focuses on giving a comparison of hydraulic and electric drivetrains along with detailed explanations of their advantages and drawbacks. A significant number of industrial case studies is examined in addition to the collection of academic publications, in order to accurately describe the current market situation. Some key directions of research and development required to satisfy increasing demands on powertrains operating offshore are identified. The impact of the literature and application surveys is further strengthened by benchmarking two designs of a full-scale pipe handling machine. Apart from other benefits, the electrically actuated machine reduces the total power consumption by 70% compared to its hydraulically driven counterpart. It is concluded that electric actuation systems, among other advantages, in general offer higher efficiency and flexibility, however, in some specific applications (such as energy accumulation or translational motion control) hydraulic powertrains are favorable.

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DOI forward links to this article:
  [1] Witold Pawlus, Fred Liland, Nicolai Nilsen, Søren Øydna, Geir Hovland and Torstein K. Wroldsen (2016), doi:10.2118/184406-PA

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  title={{Hydraulic vs. Electric: A Review of Actuation Systems in Offshore Drilling Equipment}},
  author={Pawlus, Witold and Choux, Martin and Hansen, Michael R.},
  journal={Modeling, Identification and Control},
  publisher={Norwegian Society of Automatic Control}


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