screen damage

How to Inspect and Clean your Shaker Screens

Shaker screens are a critical component of mud cleaning systems. Your solids control process can be finetuned by selecting the correct mesh of screens while drilling, depending upon your soil and drilling conditions at hand.

Mesh is defined as the number of openings per linear inch. It’s always advisable to keep an ample supply of extra screens of varying mesh on hand, in order to manage your solids control process.

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Store your screen inventory in a dry area to prevent rust and corrosion. It’s a good idea to store the screens vertically not only to conserve floor space in your storage area, but also to prevent damage caused by stacking other items on the shaker screen. Ensure your crew doesn’t walk on the screens or handle them in a rough manner. We’ve had issues where guys have stood on the screens to put them in and have bent the frames and mesh.

screen damage

If screens are damaged or incorrectly installed, unwanted solids will make their way into the cleaned mud tank, and damage items downstream from there.

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As a routine, always closely inspect all screens for wear, damage punctures and overall condition. Wash down screens regularly, which is especially important when drilling through very “sticky” solids (i.e. clays), or when drilling with fluids that incorporate polymers.

You can use either a stand-alone power washer, or utilize your recycler’s fresh water intake manifold for screen cleaning and spraying purposes. Use caution with high water pressure, especially on very fine mesh screens. Start by spraying the top of the rear screens first, moving all the fluid to the front of the shaker, ensuring to get in every space and hole that you can. Once the top side cleaning process is complete, move to checking all mesh areas for tears or dents.

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screen damage

Proceed to remove the screens one by one, and spray them from back to front by starting at the top of the screen and work your way to the bottom. Rinse or blow out any solids stuck in the mesh. You may also use softer bristle cleaning brushes to dislodge debris, but avoid wire brushes or abrasive cleaning solutions. Hold the screens up to the sun to see if anything is still in the mesh, and the holes have been cleaned out. Do this to all the screens until you’re satisfied with the results. In many cases the screens remain blinded off, due to crews just spraying the top and not removing them to blow out from the back side. You’ll want them as clean as possible before starting the inspection.

Closely inspect all screens for wear, damage punctures, bent or cracked frames, the tension of the mesh, and overall condition. Never attempt to use screens that are damaged or punctured, as controlling your sand content will be impossible. Most fine mesh screens have a much larger course mesh “backer” to help with durability of the top wire cloth.

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temporary screen plug

After the screens have been properly cleaned and inspected, it’s time to the evaluate the screen tray of the shakers. You’ll want to look at the rubber gasket or strips on all the shaker beds to make sure they are in a good quality condition, with no cuts or missing areas. Look for missing attachment rivets, if applicable. Never install screens over cut, worn, or missing deck rubber strips.

Once these steps are completed, re-install the properly selected screens using the proper screen wedges. Check the fit to make sure everything is snug with the wedges and gaskets, while ensuring the screens butt against the rear of each screen tray.

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bent screen

As an emergency option only, there are screen plugs available on the market that allow you to plug a punctured screen until you are at a point to replace the screen.

As part of your rig-down and mobilization procedures, always remove and clean your screens as well as thoroughly washing out the screen tray area. This will help prevent any unnecessary abrasion and corrosion issues within the tray area.

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Terry Flynn is vice president of sale and marketing at Tulsa Rig Iron.

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