Unconsolidated formations present the risk for the core to slide out of the inner barrel during the trip to surface. Purposely designed equipment is required to fully close the inner barrel in situations where a spring core catcher will not suffice.
Our Soft-Pro™ Technology utilizes a hydraulic, dual-bearing upper head called the Gyro-Head. The Soft-Pro Gyro Head is an innovative upper head design which allows the inner barrel to rest freely within the outer barrel, ensuring total independence between the inner and outer barrels. The design incorporates dual bearings in the upper head allowing the inner barrel to remain static while the outer barrel rotates. Additionally, the Gyro Head provides the hydraulic mechanism to activate the full closure shoe. Combined with the lower bearing of the core head, the Soft-Pro system delivers the necessary stability to both cut and retain core in challenging environments.
The Soft-Pro™ design pioneers a consistent and reliable full closure mechanism to retain unconsolidated core. The system is activated hydraulically and is not sensitive to pressure fluctuations like other systems. The activation cell, located in the Gyro Head, utilizes a sealed column of hydraulic fluid which holds the weight of the inner barrel during normal coring procedures. When it is time to activate the full closure shoe, a ball is dropped to vent the oil column which supports the TSS inner tube above the lower shoe. The TSS inner barrel is then free to move down and activate the full closure shoe. Within the shoe, either a basket catcher or inverted clamshells close and trap the core inside the barrel. As a backup, a spring catcher is included to ensure a successful recovery in the instance a harder formation is encountered.
The full closure shoe is available in two configurations; Soft-Catch and the Orenoc Shoe:
• Soft-Catch contains a cage/basket style catcher which collapses in the center. Once Soft-Pro™ is activated, the core is caught by a basket which forms at the bottom of the core. This system suffices in most unconsolidated, offshore applications.
• The Orenoc shoe is an inverted clam shell which closes completely when activated. The shells pinch together and secure the core. The Orenoc shoe has applications in highly unconsolidated formations such as heavy oil sands where there is virtually no mechanical structure and the core is held primarily by the viscous reservoir fluids.