Experimental validation of torsional controllers for drilling systems

N. van de Wouw, H. Nijmeijer, T. Vromen, M.J.M. van Helmond, P. Astrid, A. Doris

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Torsional stick-slip vibrations decrease the performance, reliability and fail-safety of drilling systems used for the exploration and harvesting of oil, gas, min- erals and geo-thermal energy. Current industrial controllers regularly fail to eliminate stick-slip vibrations, especially when multiple torsional flexibility modes in the drill- string dynamics play a role in the onset of stick-slip vibrations. This chapter presents the experimental validation of novel robust output-feedback controllers designed to eliminate stick-slip vibrations in the presence of multiple dominant torsional flexibility modes. For this purpose, a representative experimental test setup is designed, using a model of a real-life drilling rig as a basis. The model of the dynamics of the experimental setup can be cast in Lure-type form with set-valued nonlinearities representing an (uncertain) model for the complex bit-rock interaction and the interaction between the drill-string and the borehole. The proposed controller design strategy is based on skewed-m-DK-iteration and aims at optimizing the robustness with respect to uncertainty in the non-smooth bit-rock interaction. Moreover, a closed-loop stability analysis for the non-smooth drill-string model is provided. Experimental results confirm that stick-slip vibrations are indeed eliminated using the designed controller in realistic drilling scenarios in which state-of-practice controllers have failed to achieve the same.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvanced Topics in Nonsmooth Dynamics
Subtitle of host publicationTransactions of the European Network for Nonsmooth Dynamics
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages44
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-75972-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-75971-5
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2018


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