In drilling equipment, making sure that every bit of mud, the drilling liquid that is used during the drilling process to lubricate the drills and cool down drilling equipment, is essential. With solids control equipment, any solids that are brought up to the surface during the boring process can be separated from the drilling liquid. By utilizing various types of solids control equipment, the mud can then be reintroduced back into the borehole allowing for efficient drilling and lower overall costs.
A shale shaker is extremely important and is the equipment that separates the largest solids from any drilling liquid. With a shale shaker, shavings that come to the surface end up on a series of mesh shale shaker screens where they are constantly shaken so that the drilling liquid goes through the screen and solids do not.
The shale shaker can typically separate solids down to 75μm but most of the time this is not enough to truly remove any solids from drilling liquid. Once the shale shaker stage is over, the next piece of solids control equipment is the desander which can remove solids between 45 and 74μm.
The desilter is similar to the desander and is another piece of solids control equipment that can remove very small particles from any liquid. Solids as small as 15μm can be separated using a proficient desilter. There are times when desanders and desilters can even be combined depending on the situation.
During the process of removing solids from drilling liquid, air can become trapped in the liquid itself. A vacuum degasser is a type of solids control equipment that will remove any of the air within the liquid so that it can be reintroduced to the mud tank.
Once liquid goes through all of the various equipment that sits on top of the mud tank, the drilling liquid can be sent back into the bore hole and operate almost as effectively as if it were pure drilling liquid in the first place.