Mud hopper tips during operation and installation
The following recommended tips will promote efficient mud hopper installation and use
Choose proper mud hopper
Select a mud hopper that is properly sized for the mud system
. Generally, a single hopper is sufficient for most rigs. If the mud circulating rate is greater than 272m³/h (4550lpm), then consider using a hopper with 1200-gpm capacity. Generally, there is no need to add chemicals faster than this. For many operations, 136m³/h to 181m³/h
(600 to 700 gpm) is adequate.
Initial problem during hopper operation
If the jet action and dispersion appear to be substandard, check the following:
1. Determine that the pump is providing an adequate volume of mud at the normal operating discharge head. A gauge upstream of the hopper will verify the pressure or head. A reduced pump discharge volume is normally caused by air entering the air pump packing an object lodged in the piping, a worn impeller, gas or air causing the pump to airlock, a connection or piping leak, or dry mud packed around the jet and restricting the mixing area within the throat.
2. With the pump shut down, remove the mud hopper
and valve from the tee Unions installed upstream from the hopper allow disassembly as well as inspection to determine whether the inside passage is eroded or an object is lodged in the eductor.
Kind suggestion on mud hopper lines
Keep the lines to and from the mud hopper as short and straight as possible. Size the pump and motor based on the system head and flow rate requirements. A venturi is beneficial in all operations, but especially when the system backpressure may reduce the mud hopper efficiency and operation. The venturi will allow fluid to move vertically higher than the hopper height. On many rigs, hoppers are placed at ground level and the downstream pipe is raised to a height equal to or greater than the top of the mud tanks.
Use new or clean fittings to reduce friction loss. After each operation flush the entire system with clean fluid to prevent the mud from drying and plugging the system. Clean the throat of the hopper to prevent material from bridging over that will cause poor performance the next time the hopper is used.
A table should be attached toor located near the hopper to hold sacks of material. The table should be at a convenient height (36 to 42 in., or 0.9 to 1.1 m) so that personnel can add material easily with minima strain. Power-assisted pallet and sack handlers will enhance addition rates and minimize personnel fatigue.
As with all equipment on the rig, develop a regular maintenance and inspection program for the mud hopper. The mud hopper is normally simple and easy to operate, but worn jets and valves will hinder the operation. Inspect the entire system every 30 to 60 days. Maintain an inventory of spare nozzles, valves, and bushings.