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  • Sonic Weighted Wireline System


    Weighted Wireline System for Sonic Applications

    Designed to complement the Sonic Dual Tube 4.5 in. (SDT45) system for sonic applications, the new SDT45 Weighted Wireline (WW) system from Geoprobe® adds yet another innovative tool to the Geoprobe® sonic tool box.

    While conventional wireline systems with various latching mechanisms have proven themselves in the coring world, their adaptation to sonic applications has not been without its challenges.

    Jed Davis, lead engineer for the new system, said that conventional wireline systems utilize a mechanical latch to hold a core barrel in place inside of the core rod at the bottom of the tool string.  “The tool string (core barrel and core rod) is advanced through the sampling interval,” Davis explained.  “A release tool (overshot) is then lowered down to release the mechanical latch so the core barrel can be retracted.”  

    The ‘secret’ behind the SDT45 Weighted Wireline design is ... Mass. The core barrel uses a simple weight system to hold it in place at the bottom of the tool string rather than a mechanical latch. In other words, the latching mechanism is replaced by a weight system. 

    Davis explained: “The weight system is modular in design and is comprised of 150 lb. weight segments that can be coupled together depending on sampling conditions.  In most cases two, 150 lb. weight segments are sufficient to sample consolidated formations,” he said.

    According to Davis, one critical design feature of this system is the adaptation of the modular weight system to the Geoprobe® rod handler. “Once the weight system is initially put into the tool string, it’s not handled by us again until after the last sample has been retrieved from the borehole,” he said. During every sample extraction at ground surface, the weight system is easily handled by the rod handler and never by the driller or driller’s helper. “Coming from someone who spends their days outside working with tools, that’s a great thing!” Davis added.

    The SDT45 Weighted Wireline system is designed to complement the standard SDT45 tooling.

    Davis recommends using standard SDT45 tooling with 2.25-in. center rods in softer, shallower formations. When deeper intervals (50 feet plus) or consolidated formations are encountered, “the weighted wireline system can easily be implemented without pulling the casing,” Davis added.

    The SDT45 and SDT60 (Sonic Dual Tube 6.0 in.) and the new SDT45 Weighted Wireline system are designed by and available exclusively through Geoprobe Systems®, and can be used under most sonic rigs.

    The 4-Twenty Project

    New Geoprobe® SDT60 Weighted Wire Line System Obtains High-Quality Soil Samples in Less Time

    Tim Gallagher, President of Enviroprobe Services in Moorestown, NJ, was recently awarded a project that required a 420-ft soil boring outside of Newark, NJ.  Tim was no stranger to Geoprobe® sonic tooling as his crew had already performed several soil borings using the Geoprobe® SDT60 (Sonic Dual Tube system for 6-in. casing). Tim saw the SDT45 Weighted Wireline system (WWL) demonstrated at the Geoprobe® Sonic Field Day in New Jersey last fall, and read about it in the 2015 Spring Probing Times, so he asked if Geoprobe®  could assist with the project.

    Sure enough. The tooling engineers were in the late stages of developing a weighted wireline system for SDT60.  “The timing was perfect, and the site conditions couldn’t have given us a better test of this new tooling system,” Jed Davis, Geoprobe® Tools Engineer, said. “The geology was predominately sedimentary rock throughout the entire 420-ft. boring which made it ideal for the weighted wireline system.” 

    The first 60 feet was mostly unconsolidated so Jason Kuni, Lead Driller for Enviroprobe Services, used a conventional SDT60 system using 2.25-in. center rods. Brian Sweeney and Paul Mancuso were also part of the drilling team. After 60 feet, the formation became more consolidated, so the crew set the 2.25-in. center rods aside and implemented the weighted wireline with the SDT60 system.  The crew went on to complete the boring with a total depth of 420 feet, collecting 10-ft. continuous soil cores at each interval.

    Jed, who was onsite testing the equipment, said, “As the drilling got deeper, the weighted wireline proved its worth.”  Since the sample barrel and weight assembly are tripped in and out together with only the use of the winch, the speed and efficiency of the system becomes more and more evident the deeper you go.  Jed explained: “The winch had a line speed of 130 feet-per-minute, so tripping in and out at, say 250 feet, only took about 2 minutes one way.  Just as a comparison, it took 14 minutes to trip 250 feet of 2.25-in. center rods out, and in the case of a 4x6 system, it would take about 27 minutes to trip out 250 feet of 4.5-in. rod.”

    The SDT60 system is extremely versatile since the weighted wireline option and the 2.25-in. center rods can be used at any point in the boring. The 6-in. casing doesn’t have to be pulled, and drilling can proceed with whichever system (WWL or 2.25-in. center rods) the driller thinks is best for his drilling conditions – he can switch back and forth, if needed, depending on the drilling conditions.

    According to Jed, the test project was a success. “The tooling system performed flawlessly, and with just a few points of direction, the Enviroprobe Services crew was able to take over and operate this new tooling system on their own with confidence,” he said. “It was great to see how well they adapted to it. Everyone at the site was great to work with.”

    The WWL option for the SDT60 makes a great addition to an already efficient sampling system. The use of the 2.25-in. center rods in the shallower, unconsolidated formation coupled with the WWL at the deeper, more consolidated formations was a great match for this project.


    • The modular weight assembly, with the overshot ‘spear’ visible inside the weight drive head, prior to being lowered downhole. The modular weight assembly consists of two, 150-lb. weight segments coupled together and a threaded head and overshot spear.
    • The 8150LS rod loader raises the modular weight assembly into place before it is deployed with the SDT45 Sample Sheath.
    • Joel Christy (left) and Jed Davis, Geoprobe® Tools Engineers, extract an SDT45 soil sample from the sample sheath after it was collected with the Weighted Wireline system.
    • An SDT45 soil core is shown collected from 100 to 110 feet with the Weighted Wireline system. Notice the thin seam of gypsum between layers of red and gray shale.
    • Jed Davis, Geoprobe® Tools Engineer
    • A wireline overshot is released from the modular weight assembly during the sample collection process. The use of the winchline for retrieving sample sheaths reduces ‘trip in’ and ‘trip out’ times significantly.
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