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Title:
ELEVATOR FOR HANDLING PIPE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2007/034234
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
An elevator for handling tubulars, said elevator having an elevator body (102) , a door (40a) and a latch characterised in that the elevator comprises a verification lock (162,164) to indicate the latch is fully closed. Also disclosed is an elevator comprising an elevator body (20) and a hinged door characterised in that the hinged door has a handle (70) to operate a latch (50) , the latch comprising a latch body rotatable about a shaft (54) , the handle (70) having a handle lip for co- acting with a lip (53) located on the latch body to inhibit release of the latch (50) and the elevator body (20) comprising a lockbar (29) and the latch body comprising a lockbar recess (58) into which said lockbar (29) fits.

Inventors:
SCHATS, Michael, Antoon, Herman (Boschdijk 376, PB Eindhoven, NL-5622, NL)
DE PONT, Albert, Patrick, Jozef, Maria (Dudokstraat 16, MS Dongen, NL-5103, NL)
DEKKER, Pieter (Zuidhoekstraat 46, AK Baarland, NL-4435, NL)
KRIJNEN, Antonius, Dimphena, Maria (Markdijk 5, SJ Klundert, NL-4791, NL)
Application Number:
GB2006/050254
Publication Date:
March 29, 2007
Filing Date:
August 22, 2006
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
VARCO I/P, INC. (10000 Richmond Avenue, Houston, Texas, 77042-4200, US)
LUCAS, Brian (Lucas & Co, 135 Westhall Road Warlingham, Surrey CR6 9HJ, GB)
SCHATS, Michael, Antoon, Herman (Boschdijk 376, PB Eindhoven, NL-5622, NL)
DE PONT, Albert, Patrick, Jozef, Maria (Dudokstraat 16, MS Dongen, NL-5103, NL)
DEKKER, Pieter (Zuidhoekstraat 46, AK Baarland, NL-4435, NL)
KRIJNEN, Antonius, Dimphena, Maria (Markdijk 5, SJ Klundert, NL-4791, NL)
International Classes:
E21B19/06
Foreign References:
GB249807A1926-12-16
US1871845A1932-08-16
US4042123A1977-08-16
US20050000696A12005-01-06
US3884519A1975-05-20
GB1271250A1972-04-19
GB469326A1937-07-22
US2957724A1
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LUCAS, Phillip (Lucas & Co, 135 Westhall Road Warlingham, Surrey CR6 9HJ, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:

CLAIMS :

1. An elevator for handling pipe, said elevator having an elevator body (20) , a door (40) an d a latch (70) characterised in that the elevator comprises a verification lock (90) to indicate the latch (70) is fully closed.

2. An elevator as claimed in Claim 1 , wherein the verification lock (90) comprises a member (162,164) movable from an engaged position indicating that the door (40) is latched closed to a disengaged position indicating the door is open or openable .

3. An elevator as claimed in Claim 1 or 2 , wherein the verification lock (90) comprises a member (162,164) movable from an engaged position to inhibit opening of the door (40) to a disengaged position in which the door (40) may be opened.

4. An elevator as claimed in Claim 2 or 3 , wherein the member (162,164) is rotatably movable from an engaged position to a disengaged position. 5. An elevator as claimed in Claim 4, further comprising a pin (166), the member (162,164) rotatably movable thereon or thereabout.

6. An elevator as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the verification lock (90) comprises a cam surface (199) , the member (162,164) movable on the cam surface .

7. An elevator as claimed in Claim 6 , wherein in the cam surface (199) comprises at least two valleys (186,188) , such that the member is located in one of the valleys (186) in the engaged position and the other of the valleys (188) in the disengaged position.

8. An elevator as claimed in Claim 6 or 7 , wherein the lock (90) further comprises a resilient member (176) to

resiliently hold the member against the cam surface, such that upon movement of the member the member is resiliently held against the cam surface .

9. An elevator as claimed in any preceding claim, further comprising a handle (80) to operate the latch

(50) , the verification lock (90) movable to an engaged position to inhibit operation of the handle (80) .

10. An elevator as claimed in Claim 9, further comprising a hinge pin (75) wherein the handle (80) is movable about the hinge pin (75) and where the verification lock (90) inhibits operation of the handle (80) by inhibiting movement about the hinge pin (75) .

11. An elevator as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the latch (50) comprises a shaft (54) and a latch body rotatable about said shaft (54) .

12. An elevator as claimed in Claim 11, wherein the handle (80) comprises a handle lip (76) for co-acting with a lip (53) located on the latch body to inhibit release of the latch (50) . 13. An elevator as claimed in Claim 12 , wherein said handle (80) comprises a return spring (74) for biasing said handle (80) toward said door (40) .

14. An elevator as claimed in Claim 12 or 13, the latch body comprising a retaining recess (62) for co-acting with said handle lip (76) for retaining the latch body in a pre-determined position.

15. An elevator as claimed in any of Claims 12 to 14, wherein the elevator body (20) comprises a lockbar (29) and the latch body comprises a lockbar recess (58) into which said lockbar (29) fits.

16. A method for ensuring a door of an elevator for handling pipe is closed, the elevator comprising an elevator body, a door and a latch, the method comprising

the steps of latching closed the door and engaging a verification lock to indicate the latch is properly latched.

17. An apparatus for lifting pipe, the apparatus comprising a pair of links or bails (11) and an elevator as claimed in any of Claims 1 to 15, wherein at least one of the links or bails (11) is provided with a handle apparatus (14) to facilitate opening and closing of the elevator door (40) . 18. An apparatus as claimed in Claim 17, wherein the handle apparatus (14) is formed integrally of the at least one link or bail.

19. An apparatus as claimed in Claim 17, wherein the handle apparatus is releasably secured to a portion of the at least one link or bail .

20. An elevator for handling pipe, the elevator comprising an elevator body (20) and a hinged door (40) characterised in that the hinged door (40) has a handle (80) to operate a latch (50) , the latch comprising a latch body rotatable about a shaft (54) , the handle (80) having a handle lip (76) for co-acting with a lip (53) located on the latch body to inhibit release of the latch

(50) and the elevator body (20) comprising a lockbar (29) and the latch body comprising a lockbar recess (58) into which said lockbar (29) fits.

21. An elevator as claimed in Claim 20, wherein said handle (80) comprises a return spring (74) for biasing said handle (80) toward said door (40) .

22. An elevator as claimed in Claim 19 or 20, wherein the latch body comprises a retaining recess (62) for co- acting with said handle lip (76) for retaining the latch body in a pre-determined position, such that the lockbar recess (58) is maintained in a position and orientation

to allow the latch body to be offered up to the lockbar (29) at an orientation by swing the hinged door (40) closed.

Description:

ELEVATOR FOR HANDLING PIPE

The present invention relates to an elevator for facilitating handling pipe and pipe strings . The present invention particularly, but not exclusively, relates to an elevator for handling pipe on drilling rigs . The pipe may be a single section, stand or string of drill pipe, a single section, stand or string of casing, tubular, premium tubular, drill collars or pipe incorporating a well tool or other item which is lowered into or withdrawn from a borehole.

In the drilling, completion and workover of a borehole in the oil, gas, water and geothermal industries pipes are run into and out of a borehole . Such an operation is sometimes referred to as "tripping in" for moving pipes down into a borehole and "tripping out" for moving pipes up and out of a borehole. Each of these operations requires pipes to be moved around a drilling rig. Accordingly, there are many problems associated with the handling and logistics of pipe handling of a drilling rig especially in the interconnecting, disconnecting, and storing of pipes on an oil drilling platform without interrupting the drilling process.

The types of pipe which need to be moved around a drilling rig comprise drill pipes, drill collars, casings, tubing, perforated tubing, liners, liner hangers, downhole tools, packers, well cleaning tools etc..

During a drilling operation on a conventional oil drilling platform, when the drill bit has penetrated such a distance into a borehole that only a small part of the drill string extends upwards from the upper surface of the drill floor, the drilling operation is stopped, and a new tubular drill string section is moved from a storage

site or rack positioned outside the drill floor and connected to the upper end of the drill string. Once the new section is connected, the drilling operation may be continued. Normally, the length of the drill string sections is 30 feet or about 9m (or a double or triple multiple thereof) . Each time the drill bit has penetrated further into the underground, the drilling operation is usually stopped and a further drill string section (or stand) is added. Many prior art drilling systems have a rotary drive, and/or a top drive, a supportive rig floor, a derrick extending vertically above said rig floor, and a travelling block which can be raised and lowered within the derrick. During drilling operations, such rig equipment is often used to insert and, in some cases remove , pipe from a well . Drill bits and/or other equipment are frequently lowered into a well . Once a well has been drilled to a desired depth, large diameter pipe called casing is often installed in the borehole and cemented in place in order to provide structural integrity to the borehole and to isolate downhole formations from one another.

Current systems for moving pipes on and around a drilling rig incorporate an apparatus known as an "elevator" arranged on the end of a line hanging over a pulley wheel or travelling block hung from a derrick of the drilling rig or from links of a top drive . The other end of the line is wound round a winch. The elevator generally comprises a pair of hinged semicircular segments, a latch and a safety mechanism to ensure the latch is closed properly. Such an elevator is sold by BJVarco under the trade name "BX Elevator" (TM) . The pipe lies horizontally on a "catwalk" or on an inclined ramp

or conveyor and is lifted manually clear of the surface on which it lies in order to place the pipe into the elevator. Alternatively, one end of the pipe is exposed over a ledge, such that the elevator can be applied to the pipe . The segments of the elevator are closed about the body of the drill pipe and the latch is closed and the safety mechanism, usually a split pin is pushed into position to ensure the latch is properly closed and will not allow the latch to be opened until the split pin is removed. The elevator loosely fits around the body of the pipe such that the elevator can slide therealong until the elevator abuts an upset in the pipe or a collar threaded to an end of the pipe . Drill pipe comprises an upset known as a "box" in which a female threaded end is located. Alternatively, an end of the pipe has an external thread and a collar of larger outer diameter connected thereto, which forms a shoulder. The winch is activated to lift the elevator and the pipe hanging therefrom clear of the rig floor to facilitate movement of the pipe on and around the drilling rig. A roughneck is then able to swing the pipe to another location, usually for stabbing into a string of pipe already in the well or located in a "mousehole" , which is a hole in the drilling rig floor in which sections of drill pipe are connected to form a stand of two or three sections of drill pipe, which will then be moved to a λλ fingerboard" storage area or to the well centre for connection to the drill string in the borehole . This method is used in tripping-in operations . The elevator is then used to hold the entire weight of the pipe string whilst the slips in the platform, known as a "spider", are released. The pipe string is rotated and lowered into the well and then the slips in the spider are engaged with the pipe and the

elevator released.

The BJ Varco λλ BX hydraulically actuated elevator" is able to orient the throat of the elevator between a position to engage a vertical pipe to a position to engage a horizontal pipe and engaging a pipe lying at any angle therebetween. The elevator comprises segments in the form of hinged doors . The doors on a large elevator, which must be closed around the pipe, may weigh several hundred pounds . An elevator with doors needs clearance for the doors to swing in an arc under the pipe being engaged. The pipe has to be elevated, or clearance otherwise provided, for swinging doors.

Many prior art elevators are of a "non-slip" variety. The non-slip variety are especially suited to handle pipe which does not have an upset, although may also be used with pipes which have upsets. These pipes are known as λλ flush", "near flush" or λλ smooth walled" pipes. The non-slip elevator is provided with jaws with non-slip teeth move into engagement with the pipe, which prevents the pipe from slipping. Thus smooth walled pipe may be moved with such an elevator. The non-slip elevators have generally been constructed with doors

(generally, one or two) which open to allow the insertion or removal of the pipe; doors which traditionally are heavy, slow in operation, difficult to handle and can present a considerable safety hazard to the operator. The balance point of such an elevator can change when the doors are open, thus creating handling problems and adding danger to the operator. Especially with very heavy pipes, for example, large casing, the pipe is initially in a horizontal position, laying in place on or near the floor beneath a derrick, and the hinged door elevator is lowered near the point of attachment to the pipe . The

derrick personnel then are required to open the heavy door or doors, which may weigh several hundred pounds, to allow the elevator to be placed over the tubular. Because the door or doors must close around the tubular, the tubular end around which the elevator is located is often above the derrick floor.

Often there is idle time in which no actual drilling takes place. In view of the fact that the investment made in a drilling rig is very high even a relatively small reduction of the idle time is significant.

One solution commonly used to reduce the idle time on drilling rigs is to assemble two drill pipe sections, known as "singles", each having a length of about 10m into a 20m stand, known as a "double", placing the singles in a mousehole adjacent to the drilling opening and connecting the singles by using air tuggers and spinning wrenches while the drilling operations proceeds . One exemplary system and apparatus for such offline standbuilding is described in U.S. Patent No. 4,850,439, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference. However, although these conventional offline standbuilding systems do create significant efficiencies in the drilling process, they generally utilize many complex pieces of equipment, such as, hoists and multi- purpose pipehandling machines that result in a system which is complicated, costly, and requires significant ongoing maintenance .

Tubulars such as casing, drill pipe or other pipe are typically installed in a number of sections of roughly equal length. These pipe sections are typically installed one at a time, and screwed together or otherwise joined end-to-end to make a continuous length of pipe . In order to start the process of inserting pipe

in a well, a first joint of pipe is lowered into the wellbore at the rig floor, and suspended in place using a set of "lower slips." Such lower slips are often wedge- shaped dies which can be inserted between the outer surface of said pie and the bowl-like inner profile of the rotary table. Such lower slips hold the weight of the pipe and suspend the pipe in the well . Although such lower slips can be automated, in many applications such lower slips are manually inserted and removed by rig personnel .

To install pipe into a well, a first joint of pipe is generally inserted into a well and positioned so that the top of said joint of pipe is located a few feet above the rig floor. A rig crew or a pipe handling machine grabs a second joint of pipe, lifts the second joint of pipe vertically into the derrick, positions the second joint above the first joint which was previously run into the well, and "stabs" a male threaded end, known as a "pin-end" at the bottom of said second joint into a female threaded end known as a "box-end" at the top of the first joint. The second joint is then rotated in order to mate the threaded connections of the two joints together. Then an elevator attached to the travelling block in the rig derrick is typically lowered over the top of the second (i.e., upper) joint of pipe. Such elevators have a central bore which is aligned with the uppermost end of the joint of pipe. The pipe is received within the central bore of the elevator. Once the elevator has been lowered over the pipe a desired distance, slips within such elevators can be activated to latch or grip around the outer surface of said joint pipe. Depending on the length of the second joint of pipe, this can often occur 12m (40 feet) or more above

the rig floor .

Upon proper latching and engagement of the elevator slips around the body of the pipe, the travelling block and elevator is raised to take weight off of the lower slips. The lower slips can then be removed. Once the lower slips are removed, the entire weight of the pipe string is suspended from the elevator slips . The pipe can then be lowered into the well by lowering the traveling block. After the second or upper joint of pipe is lowered a sufficient distance into the well, the lower slips are again inserted in place near the rig floor. The process is repeated until the desired length of pipe (i.e., the desired number of joints of pips) is inserted into the wellbore. This same process can be utilized for many different types and sizes of pipe whether small diameter drill pipe or large diameter casing. The entire weight of the pipe can be held or suspended by the elevators and by the elevator slips. This pipe can be very heavy, especially when many joints of large diameter and/or heavy-wall casing are being run into a well. Accordingly, it is important that the elevator slips be properly latched around the uppermost section of pipe in the derrick to ensure that the pipe remains securely positioned within the elevators. If the pipe is not properly secured within the elevators , it is possible that the pipe drop or fall out of the elevators, causing damage to the rig or the well, or injury to rig personnel. Incorporated fully herein by reference are U.S. Patents 6,626,238 B2; 6,073,699; 5,909,768; 5,84,647; 5,791,410; 4,676, 312; 4,604,724; 4,269,554; 3,882,377; 6,494,273; 6,568,479; 6,536,520 Bl; and 6,679,333 B2.

In accordance with the present invention, there is

provided an elevator for handling pipe , said elevator having an elevator body, a door and a latch characterised in that the elevator comprises a verification lock to indicate the latch is fully closed. Preferably, the elevator body has an open throat which is closed off by the door.

Preferably, the verification lock comprises a member movable from an engaged position indicating that the door is latched closed to a disengaged position indicating the door is open or openable. Advantageously, the verification lock comprises a member movable from an engaged position to inhibit opening of the door to a disengaged position in which the door may be opened. Preferably, the member is rotatably movable from an engaged position to a disengaged position. Advantageously, the elevator further comprises a pin, the member rotatably movable thereon or thereabout.

Preferably, the verification lock comprises a cam surface , the member movable on the cam surface . Advantageously, the cam surface comprises at least two valleys , such that the member is located in one of the valleys in the engaged position and the other of the valleys in the disengaged position. The cam surface may arranged on the perimeter of a circle with the member rotatable about a concentric pin, the member provided with a cam projection or co-acting surface. The valleys may be spaced about the perimeter at 180 degrees, 120 degrees or 60 degrees or simply enough to allow operation of the handle . Preferably, the verification lock further comprises a resilient member to resiliently hold the member against the cam surface, such that upon movement of the member the member is resiliently held against the cam surface .

The resilient member may be a spring, rubber or Belleville washer arrangement or the like.

Advantageously, the elevator further comprises a handle to operate the latch, the verification lock movable to an engaged position to inhibit operation of the handle. Preferably, the elevator further comprises a hinge pin wherein the handle is movable about the hinge pin and where the verification lock inhibits operation of the handle by inhibiting movement about the hinge pin. Preferably, the latch comprises a shaft and a latch body rotatable about said shaft. Advantageously, the handle comprises a handle lip for co-acting with a lip located on the latch body to inhibit release of the latch. Preferably, the lips are angled at approximately seven degrees each so that rotation of the latch body when the lips are co-acting and engaged, they can not slip out on mere operation of the handle. Preferably, said handle comprises a return spring for biasing said handle toward said door. Advantageously, the latch body comprising a retaining recess for co-acting with said handle lip for retaining the latch body in a predetermined position. Preferably, such that the lockbar recess is maintained in a position and orientation to allow the latch body to be offered up to the lockbar at an orientation which will facilitate latching. Advantageously, the elevator body comprises a lockbar and the latch body comprises a lockbar recess into which said lockbar fits.

The present invention also provides a method for ensuring a door of an elevator is closed, the elevator comprising an elevator body, a door and a latch, the method comprising the steps of latching closed the door and engaging a verification lock to indicate the latch is

properly latched.

The present invention also provides an apparatus for lifting pipe, the apparatus comprising a pair of links or bails and an elevator of the invention, wherein at least one of the links or bails is provided with a handle apparatus to facilitate opening and closing of the elevator door.

Preferably, the handle apparatus is formed integrally of the at least one link or bail. Advantageously, the handle apparatus is releasably secured to a portion of the at least one link or bail .

The present invention also provides an elevator comprising an elevator body and a hinged door characterised in that the hinged door has a handle to operate a latch, the latch comprising a latch body rotatable about a shaft, the handle having a handle lip for co-acting with a lip located on the latch body to inhibit release of the latch and the elevator body comprising a lockbar and the latch body comprising a lockbar recess into which said lockbar fits.

Preferably, the handle comprises a return spring for biasing said handle toward said door. Advantageously, the latch body comprises a retaining recess for co-acting with said handle lip for retaining the latch body in a pre-determined position, such that the lockbar recess is maintained in a position and orientation to allow the latch body to be offered up to the lockbar at an orientation by swing the hinged door closed.

According to another aspect, the present invention provides an elevator for handling pipe the elevator comprising an elevator body, an open throat in the body; a door pivotably connected to the body; and a latch apparatus on the door which latches onto a lockbar on the

body. A locking mechanism locks the door shut. In one particular aspect, the present invention discloses an elevator including: an elevator body for releasably supporting a tubular, the elevator body having two opposed ends and an elevator opening in the body, a tubular passable through the elevator opening; a door pivotably mounted to the body for selectively closing off the elevator opening; a lock bar on the elevator body; door latch apparatus on the door including a movable member to selectively and releasably latch onto the lockbar, and locking apparatus for selectively locking the door in position.

In certain aspects , such an elevator has a locking mechanism which locks the door shut following latching of the door. Optionally, one or more compression springs urges part of the locking mechanism into a locking configuration to hold the latch apparatus in a latched position and to selectively lock the door in position.

In certain aspects, a handle projecting from the door and/or a handle projecting from a link or bail supporting the elevator facilitate elevator opening and closing operations. The present invention provides a link or bail with a handle formed integrally thereof or releasably attached thereto for facilitating operations and for facilitating operation of an elevator in accordance with the present invention.

In certain aspects , both the latch mechanism and the locking mechanism are primary load bearing structures.

For a better understanding of the present invention, reference will now be made, by way of example, to the accompanying drawings , in which:

Figure 1 is a perspective view of an apparatus comprising an elevator in accordance with the present invention depending from links;

Figure 2 is a side view of the apparatus shown in Figure 1 showing a complete link;

Figure 3 is a front view of the apparatus shown in Figure 2;

Figure 4 is a perspective view of an elevator in accordance with the present invention, the elevator having a door shown in an open position;

Figure 5 is a cross-sectional view of the elevator shown in Figure 4 ;

Figure 6 is a cross-sectional view of the elevator shown in Figure 4 showing the door in a closed position and in an ajar position shown in dot-dashed lines and a fully open position shown in double-dot dashed lines; Figure 7 is a side view of an apparatus comprising an elevator in accordance with the present invention depending from tilted links;

Figure 8 is an enlarged view of part of the apparatus shown in Figure 7; Figure 9 is a top view of part of the apparatus shown in Figure 7 ;

Figure 10 is a front view of part of the apparatus shown in Figure 7;

Figure 11 is a front perspective view of part of the apparatus shown in Figure 7;

Figure 12 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 12-12 of Figure 8;

Figure 13 is a perspective view of a handle for a

link ;

Figure 14 is a top view of the handle shown in Figure 13;

Figure 15 is a bottom view of the handle of Figure 13;

Figure 16 is a perspective view, partially exploded, of part of an elevator in accordance with the present invention, showing a verification mechanism;

Figure 17 is a side view of the handle of Figure 13; Figure 18 is a perspective view of the elevator shown in Figure 16, showing the verification mechanism signifying a closed door condition and in dot-dashed lines the verification mechanism signifying an open door condition; and Figure 19 is perspective view taken of the elevator shown in Figure 16, with a top view of the mechanism of Figure 16.

Figures 1 to 6 show an apparatus 8 comprising an elevator 10 depending from links 11. The links 11 have a stem portion 12 and eyes 13 and 16 at their lower and upper ends respectively. Eyes 13 at the lower end of the bails 11 encircle ears 25 projecting from sides of a body 20 of the elevator 10. Each ear 25 has a latch 26 pivotalIy connected to upper lug of the ear with a pin 28 and pinned to a lower lug of the ear with another pin 28a. Thus the elevator 10 is removable from the links 11 by moving the latch 26. Optional tool links 27 are on sides of the body 20, movably connected with pins 31 to projections 33 of the body 20. Using appropriate bails, links, or other supports another item or apparatus, (e.g., but not limited to, an elevator, a single joint elevator, a pipe gripper or a torque head can be suspended from the body 20. Alternatively, a line (not

shown) may be connected to the tool links 33 and used for guiding the elevator and adjusting the orientation of the elevator 10.

A door 40 is movably connected to the body 20 about a pin 44 so that the door is movable to open and close- off a pathway for a pipe (e.g. a tubular 6) into and out of a throat 22. Optionally, a ridge 24 for shouldering a tubular projects up from the body 20. Optionally, a solid projection or a handle 14 with an optional opening 15 is connected to or formed integrally with one of the links 11 to provide a structure which can be held or pushed-off from moving the door 40. It is within the scope of this invention to provide such a projection or handle on both links 11, on any known link or bail. A handle 80 projects from a recess in the door body 42 of door 40. The handle 80 forms part of a locking apparatus 70 for locking and unlocking the door 40 from the body 20. The locking apparatus 70 rotates on a shaft 75 which extends through a hole 73 in the door body 42 and holes 77 (one shown in Figure 4) in the body 42. A compression spring 74 with one end in a recess 82 in the handle 80 and the other end in a recess 81 in the door body 42 urges the handle 80 away form a lip 46 of the door body 42. The handle 80 may, optionally, be a separate item releasably connected to the body 42. The compression spring 74 has a spring force of approximately 10lbs (45 Newtons) .

The handle 80 is positioned for selective interaction with a latch 50 which is movable to engage and disengage a lockbar 29 connected to and projecting from the body 20. The latch 50 rotates about a shaft 54 which extends through holes 45 (top one shown, Figure 4; bottom hole beneath top hole) in the door body 42 and

through a hole 55 through a latch body 52.

The latch 50 is rotatable so that a lip 51 and lockbar recess 58 are movable to selectively encircle or release the lockbar 29. The handle 80 is movable so that a lip 76 projecting from the body 72 can enter a handle lip recess 60 in the body 52 of the latch 50 to lock the latch in position. The handle 80 is also movable so that the lip 76 can enter and reside in a second handle lip recess 62 to releasably hold the latch 50 in a position suitable for initially engaging the lock bar 29 upon appropriate movement of the door 20. The lock may have a grease nipple 56 from which channels 63, 64, and 65 provide grease to parts of the apparatus , e.g. the shaft 54 and adjacent parts. A grease nipple 79 is used to apply grease to the shaft 75. A recess 78 in the handle 80 receives a latch body lip 53 and co-acting surfaces of this latch body lip 53 and the handle lip 76 are angled (e.g. a negative angle of seven degrees providing a locking function) so that the lip 76 (and thus the handle 80) can move with respect to the latch body lip 53. The lip 76 can move along a curved surface 59 of the latch body lip 53. The recess 62 is between the latch body lip 53 and a lip 51 and is sized in such a way that it does not pass the lip 76 to overcome further rotating of the latch 50 (see position of Figure 6) and so that rotation of the latch 50 is not impeded by the lip 76 once the handle 80 is moved away from the latch 50 to free the latch from the lockbar 29, permitting the latch 50 to rotate away from engagement with the lockbar 29. Figure 6 shows the door in three positions:

I - the door in a closed position;

II - in an ajar position shown in dot-dashed lines; and

III - in a fully open position shown in double-dot

dashed lines

In position I, the door 40 is latched and locked.

The recess 58 is positioned about the lockbar 29 and the lip 76 of the handle 80 is held in a recess 60 by the force of the spring 74. Two springs 74 may be used, one above the other.

To open the door 40, to begin to move it to position II, the handle 80 is pulled, moving it about pin 75 and against the spring 74, until an end 86 of the handle abuts the door body 42. A lip 46 inhibits items such as wirelines or cables from entering the space between the door body 42 and the handle 80. Movement of the handle 80 releases the lip 76 from the latch recess 60, releasing the handle 80 from the latch 50 to allow the latch 50 to rotate. Once the handle 80 is free of the latch 50 further pulling on the handle 80 pulls the door 40 away from the body 20 resulting in rotation of the latch 50 with respect to the lockbar 29 and the disengagement of the lockbar 29 from the latch 50. After this, the door 40 is moved to position II with the lip 76 contacting the lip 51 (this contact with the lip 51 assists in disengaging the latch 50 from the lockbar 29 and to overcome further rotation of the latch 50) . The lip 51 moves to abut the lip 76 to stop rotation of the latch 50.

When the handle 80 is pulled, in position I, against the force of the spring 74 , this action loads the spring 74 which tries to urge the handle 80 back to the position of position I . The spring force is preferably approximately 10 lbs force (approximately 45 Newtons) . This force maintains the lip 76 of the handle 80 against the lip 51 of the latch 50 (as shown in position II) .

As shown in position III, the door 40 is open and an

end part thereof has moved to abut and be stopped by door end stop 39. The user release the handle 80. The loaded spring 74 expands to move and resiliently maintain the lip 76 into a recess 62. The door 40 is open and a tubular, e.g. the tubular 6, can be moved into and out of the body 20 of the elevator 10.

The latch 50 is now held by lip 76, which holds the lockbar recess 58 of the latch 50 in a predetermined position. Upon closing the door 40, a contoured outer surface 83 of a finger 85 defining recess 58 is guided along surface 84 of the body 20, moving the latch 50 about pin 54 to position the recess 58 about the pin 29. This movement also causes a contoured side 87 of the latch 50 to move along contoured handle lip 76. The spring 74 biases the contoured handle lip to clip over the contoured latch lip 53 locking the door closed. Thus providing a positive latch.

Figures 7 to 12 show an elevator 100 in accordance with the present invention, with a body 102 and a door 40a (like the door 40) like the elevators previously described herein in accordance with the present invention and like the elevator 8 described above. The elevator 100 is shown supporting a tubular 150. Links or bails 110 are similar to the links as described above. The bails 110 have a body 112 with an upper opening 114 and a lower opening 116 through which passes part of ear 125 (like the ears 25 described above) .

A handle 140 is releasably secured around part of the body 112. The handle 140 is located so that personnel operating the elevator 100 can grip the handle 140 to provide stability and to facilitate operation of the elevator 140 and particularly, but not exclusively to hold the elevator steady whilst closing and opening the

door 40. Such a handle also facilitates manipulation, movement, and/or transport of a bail or link.

As shown in Figures 12 to 19 the handle 140 has two parts, part 142 and part 144 which are held around part of the bail body 112 by bolts 140a passing through holes 142a, 144a and 142b, 144b. The bolts 140a may be replaced by screws, or fasteners. Alternatively or additionally, the handle 140 may be connected to the bail 110 by any suitable known item, device, apparatus, substance (e.g., but not limited to, epoxy adhesive) or method. Optionally the part 142 alone is bolted directly or otherwise secured to the body of the bail 112 (with or without the portions with the holes 142a, 142b), e.g., but not limited to, with one or more bolts or screws through the part 142 into the bail 112, or formed integrally thereof. An optional opening 146 through the handle facilitates gripping of the handle . The opening 146 may be deleted (as may be the opening 15 of the handle 14, Figure 2) . The opening 15 may be replaced by an impression or recess to facilitate gripping of the handle 110.

Figures 16 to 19 illustrate one embodiment of a verification lock apparatus 160 in accordance with the present invention. Such an apparatus may be used adjacent a movable handle 80 of any elevator. The apparatus 160 has a verification lock body 162 with a projection in the form of a lever 164 and a shaft 166 projecting from the verification lock body 162. The lever 164 facilitates rotation of the shaft 166. The shaft 166 extends into a hole 168 in the door 40a of the elevator and is brought under spring load by a spring 176 adjacent a ring 177 and retained in place by a retainer pin 172. The pin 172 is arranged through the door 40a and through

a hole 174 in the shaft 166 releasably holds the body 162 in position. The spring 176 holds the verification lock body 162 in a desired position. Preferably, the spring 176 is compressed and biased against an internal lip (not shown) in the door 40, such that the verification lock body 162 is biased away from the door 40. The cam projection 178 is formed integrally with the verification lock body 162. The cam projection 178 is movable by rotation of the body by lever 164 over raised parts 182 and 184 of a cam profile 199 on the door 40. Turning the handle 164 anti-clockwise moves the cam projection 178 into a recess 186 of the cam profile so that the lever 164 is in an engaged position in which movement of the handle 80 is restricted, as shown in Figure 19. Moving the lever downwards rotates the lever body 162 moving the cam projection 178 over the raised part 184 of the cam profile 199 and into recess 188. The handle will now be in a disengaged position, resiliently maintained one hundred and eighty degrees from the engaged position. In the disengaged position, the handle 80 may be used to unlatch the door and open the door. Preferably, the verification lock lever 162 can only move across the handle into the engaged position when the lip 76 of the handle 80 has moved into the recess 60. Thus if the door 80 has not been latched properly, the verification lock 160 can not move into its correct position, which indicates that the latch 50 has not been fully closed, see Figure 19. Figure 18 shows the handle 164 in a door- locked position with the handle 164 abutting a lower portion 80a of the handle 80. The door-unlockable position is illustrated in outline in Figure 18. Manually moving the handle 164 provides sufficient force to overcome the spring 176 and move the cam projection

178 into or out of the spaces 186 or 188.

Optionally, an elevator in accordance with the present invention may have a verification lock which provides a visual indication that the elevator is latched and locked and which provides further structure to maintain the elevator in a locked configuration. In one embodiment a verification lock has a portion 90 which projects against a part of the handle (e.g. the handle 14 or 80) and is rotatable with respect thereto. To open an elevator in a locked and latched position as in position I , Figure 6 , the verification lock is rotated clockwise (e.g. about sixty degrees) to permit opening of the elevator. Upon closing of the elevator and latching and locking thereof, the verification lock is turned (e.g. about sixty degrees) counter-clockwise to lock it in place, preventing movement of the handle.

In one particular embodiment, e.g. as shown in one aspect in Figure 7, the elevator has a turning angle of plus-or-minus 60 degrees "turning angle" is the angle between a vertical centerline of the shaft of a support link and the vertical center line of the elevator and measures the rotation of the elevator with respect to the link. As shown, the elevator may have a tilt angle of 20 degrees or more. "Tilt angle" is the out-of-vertical position of the link centre line and measures the rotation of the link with respect to "the world."

The present invention, therefore, provides in some, but not in necessarily all, embodiments an elevator with an elevator body for releasably supporting a tubular, the elevator body having two opposed ends and an elevator opening in the body, a tubular passable through the elevator opening, a door pivotably mounted to the body for selectively closing off the elevator opening, a lock

bar on the elevator body, door latch apparatus on the door including a movable member to selectively and releasably latch onto the lockbar, and locking apparatus for selectively locking the door in position. Such an elevator may have one or some, in any possible combination, of the following: the door latch apparatus having a latch body, a recess in the latch body for selectively receiving and selectively disengaging from the lockbar, and the latch body pivotably mounted to the door; the locking apparatus having a lock body movably mounted to the door for co-action with the latch body, the lock body selectively movable to hold the latch body in place in engagement with the lockbar, and the lock body selectively movable to move the latch body out of engagement with the lockbar to unlatch the door for pivoting movement of the door to permit a tubular to pass through the elevator opening; the latch body having a first latch recess therein, the lock body having a lock body projection projecting therefrom, and the first latch recess located for releasably receiving the lock body projection so that with the lock body projection in the first latch recess the door is locked; spring apparatus connected to and between the door and the locking apparatus to bias the locking apparatus into a locking position; the locking apparatus having handle apparatus on the lock body for facilitating gripping of the lock body and movement thereof; a lip on the door for inhibiting movement of an item into a space between the door and the locking apparatus; the elevator body having two opposed support eyes projecting from the elevator body, the support eyes for receiving a part of a support bail; two support bails, one each of the two support bails having a portion passing through a corresponding

one of the support eyes; handle apparatus on at least one of the two support bails, the handle apparatus sized, located, and configured for manual handling by personnel; the handle apparatus located on the at least one of the two support bails to facilitate movement of the door of the elevator by personnel; the handle apparatus formed integrally of the at least one bail; the handle apparatus releasably secured to a portion of the at least one bail; verification apparatus for releasably maintaining the locking apparatus in a door-locked position; the verification apparatus including a primary body movably mounted to the door, a primary handle projecting from the body, the primary handle movable to an abutment position to abut part of the locking apparatus and movable out of said abutment position; and/or spring apparatus biased between the door and the primary body for releasably holding the verification apparatus in a door-locked or a door-unlockable position .

The present invention, therefore, provides in some, but not in necessarily all, embodiments a method for gripping a tubular, the method including positioning an elevator adjacent a tubular, the elevator as any disclosed herein in accordance with the present invention, and releasing a door latch apparatus to unlatch the door, releasing a locking apparatus to unlock the door, moving the door to expose one elevator opening, moving the tubular into the elevator, and closing the door, latching the door shut, and locking the door. Such an elevator may have one or some, in any possible combination, of the following: wherein the elevator includes verification apparatus for releasably maintaining the locking apparatus in a door-locked position, the method including releasably maintaining

with the verification apparatus the door in a door-locked position; wherein the elevator includes the verification apparatus including a primary body movably mounted to the door, a primary handle projecting from the body, the primary handle movable to an abutment position to abut part of the locking apparatus and movable out of said abutment position, the method including moving the primary handle to abut part of the door to maintain the door in a door-locked position; and/or wherein the elevator includes spring apparatus biased between the door and the primary body for releasably holding the verification apparatus in a door-locked or a door- unlockable position, the method including releasably holding the verification apparatus in position.