E-loop Scoops Drilling Industry Safety Award at First Attempt, Vindicates R&D in Service Loop Protection

Igus has returned a winner at the prestigious International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) NSC Safety Awards in Aberdeen for the innovative e-loop, a clever product that combines the advantages of a plastic energy chain with a high tension pull rope.

E-loop claimed first place in the associate member category at Igus’ first attempt at the IADC North Sea Chapter (NSC) awards on Friday 25 March. The category recognizes technical or operational initiatives to reduce risk and increase safety. The e-loop is an articulated and ruggedized cable assembly protector to replace existing top drive service loops used by drilling operators. Service loops have several design and operational defects that can cause unplanned downtime, incur cost, and create a risk to human safety.

On onshore and offshore drilling operations, hanging service loops can get snagged and caught, come under strain with no external support, they can swing in the wind and potentially strike equipment and personnel. For these reasons they can present a safety risk.

Traditional service loops are protected with only a hydraulic hose sleeve or casing. e-loop uses strong, polymer inner links to protect the hoses and cables, with a rubberized polyurethane outer link to absorb impact/shock. The e-loop offers the ability to combine several service loops into a single e-loop system.

E-loop not only protects the energy and data cables and hoses in a neat, robust and flexible chain, it is also designed specifically to transfer the pull forces in the loop to the mounting brackets and the chain (super)structure. Consequently, the cables are completely relieved of strain, do not incur stress damage and fail far less frequently than service loops with no protection.

Service loops have no mechanism to stop cables over-extending their bend radii. The e-loop restricts the bend radius, extending the life of cables/hoses within the system, meaning less downtime is needed for repair, and reducing time working at height.

Launched in 2019, e-loops are already in action on over 40 land drilling rigs and the e-loop is now installed on a North Sea jack-up rig.

It is rare to win an award on debut among international and well-established competition in a safety critical industry like oil & gas. The judges saw the potential of e-loop, to both reduce operational risk to people and to extend the life of unprotected, and expensive, service loops.

Courtesy of Igus UK Ltd.

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