Survival Research Labs: Best of the Yard: Pitching Machine Tests

Pitching Machine Tests

Oil Drilling Applications for Pitching Machine (November 22, 2005)
SRL received a request from a Shell Oil Engineer In houston asking to rent the Pitching Machine for some tests.

Mr. Pauline,

I am still interested in taking a deeper look into your heavy duty pitching machine. If it is what we are needing, we would like to lease the machine in order to run some tests. Some of the things that I need to know are:

1) can you decrease the rpm and increase the torque (is it variable speed)
2) what material are the rollers that project the 2x4's made of and what is their durometer hardness
3) can the distance between the rollers be adjusted
4) how much would you charge to lease the machine

Please respond as soon as possible. If all is well, I would like to run some tests ASAP.

As far as what we will be using it for. We are looking into a method to deploy a 1.2" steel rod which have 2" O.D. silicon nitride spacers attached to it down a well. Traditional deployment methods cannot be used because of the brittle silicon nitride spacers that are attached to the rod. Also the varying diameters are a problem for injector heads. I feel pretty confident that your machine will have more than a shred of practical value in helping us perform our tests. I guess it will also have some monetary value. Go figure.

Call me anytime. I am in the Central time zone.

Testing Procedure [pdf]

The shell engineer in charge of the Pitching machine testing flew into to SF and SRL staged tests all day with the Pitching Machine using the load setup Mark Pauline and Kimric Smythe made. The PM can lift at least 500 lbs of steel blocks from a dead lift pulling on a 1.2 " stainless rod (and can probably pull at least 1000 lbs with added extra belt adjustment). Bottom line, the Shell guy liked it so much he asked if SRL would build him a pitching machine optimized for their application! His team is going to design a high tech version with giant servo motors and off the shelf parts and SRL will build it at the shop. The primary application is to push long sections of bimetallic heating rods with Silicon nitride insulators (that look like the sections we tested with today) into a well pipe several thousand feet deep and heat the shit out of oil shale. They freeze the ground above the well and below and leave it to pressure cook for three years at around 400F then they pump out the oil instead of strip mining the shale and cooking in big vats above ground. He said they plan to do it in Colorado and other places. They already are doing it but the system they have to push the heater down the tube is really cumbersome and expensive. They think a PM type machine with rubber wheels is better. Every now and then wed ask him a question and get the "its proprietary" response.

Miscellaneous Testing (May 2, 2000)
Requires Real Video Player. Download the free version
here or an alternative to real player here The gearing was inverted on the pitching machine which increased board speed from 135mph to about 200mph.

Pitching Machine Test (28k)

Pitching Machine Test (56k)

Pitching Machine Test (DSL or better)

The old Pitching Machine engine used in Tokyo was destroyed and replaced. The following footage shows its demise in 8 steps:

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Video taken by Karen Marcelo