CAD Conversion is the New Exploration for Oil and Gas Sector Equipment Designs

Baker Hughes Inc. on 3rd June 2016 reported an increment in oil rig count by 4 for the first time since August 2015; then again a rise of 9 on 8th July. The latest number for the operational rig count in the USA by the oil and gas exploration giant is at 624 as on 19th December 2016 seeing an increase of 27 in the past four weeks. One of the reasons this giant is able to expand and invest is due to the fact that design engineers have been able to enhance the existing designs to generate better returns. The problem today is, that the engineers prefer to use digitized designs, while the equipment used in oil and gas exploration have been designed even before the concept of digital designs was prevalent. As a result, most of them have outlived their paper based drawings and/or are existent in degraded paper form. 3D CAD conversion of these 2D paper drawings is the most efficient way out.

Converting the oil and gas industry legacy of paper documents to digital CAD documents

Oil and gas industry has cutting edge maintenance of following the legacy of paper documents alongside adapting the upcoming technology for enhanced exploration. Perhaps the reason to this is O&G industry has survived a time span of incredible technological advances keeping its principles intact, and embraced the innovations with upgradations.

Today is the case of young engineers, who have developed a close association with CAD software and relies heavily on virtual design tools for every major decision. Their mindset has changed and come to accept the fact that, ‘Those paper based documents are only too good to be stored. Making money through them is impossible today.’

Making money, and as cited above, deploying increasing number of operational rigs every month comes from innovations and design changes in small parts, as small as a drill bit or wellhead. CAD conversion of existing drawings essentially converts these drawings into editable CAD field and allows easy and accurate design amendments as per the optimization needed. Sean Gillis, product development manager at Drilformance comments that, “Drilling success begins at the bit. We seek to consistently deliver best in class penetrations.” This delivering best in class comes from what we call design amendments.

For example, to achieve high penetration rates, the PDC cutter angle profile has to be relatively aggressive, which traditionally was considered to be inapt for build sections as stability was of prime importance. Although, today with 3D CAD conversion, followed by simulations, optimization and automated manufacturing, delivers an understanding to the entire design and manufacturing team. It allows achieving outputs for every proposed design parameters, by changing the designs efficiently within short time.

By adopting CAD conversions and hence 3D solid modeling for the designs, engineers are empowered to have better design communication, management, automation through drawing tools and macros, simulations, and finally improved production efficiency. Rigorous kinematic and dynamic performance motion of the components, such as drill bits or spindle can be studied accurately, minimizing the need of prototyping tests. It manages the data and design documents needed for entire product lifecycle management.


Oil and gas is by far the richest industry giving high returns, but the risks involved in terms of health, safety and environment (HSE) are high. Thus, design engineers pay a significant importance to innovative designs for finding and taking efficiencies of design and material, cost consciousness to make their systems compete in marketplace and above all safety, durability and reliability on top to minimize business and environment risks. 3D CAD conversion for paper drawings can easily cater to all these needs and delivers a cost effective solution in today’s ever-evolving and increasingly multifaceted global energy industry.