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Title:
MOBILE SERVICE FACILITY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/027903
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A mobile service facility (10) for provision of activities and services concerned with analysis of samples, such for example geological samples in exploration drilling. The mobile service facility (10) comprises a transportable base (13), and a plurality of modular units (15) adapted to be removably mounted on the base (13) to provide an assembly (17) movable as a unit. The assembly (17) is adapted to be lifted onto and from a transport vehicle (21), with the transportable base (13) being configured to be lifted by a fork-lift or other load-lifting apparatus. The modular units (15) are adapted to accommodate apparatus and equipment required for performance of designated functions. The modular units (15) comprise cabinets (41) in which the infrastructure can be accommodated. The cabinets (41) are adapted to be mounted on the transportable base (13) in an interchangeable arrangement, thereby providing the necessary infrastructure in the layout required.

Inventors:
BLAKEWAY, Benjamin (3a Cadd Street, Beaconsfield, Western Australia 6162, 6162, AU)
STEVENS, Anthony Malcolm (5 Jikara Drive, Glen Osmond, Western Australia 5064, 5064, AU)
Application Number:
AU2016/000284
Publication Date:
February 23, 2017
Filing Date:
August 16, 2016
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
REFLEX TECHNOLOGY INTERNATIONAL PTY LTD (216 Balcatta Road, Balcatta, Western Australia 6021, 6021, AU)
International Classes:
B60P3/14; B60P1/64; E02D1/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2006053395A12006-05-26
Foreign References:
US20140054098A12014-02-27
US3492042A1970-01-27
CN203611844U2014-05-28
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WRAYS PTY LTD (Ground Floor, West Perth, Western Australia 6005, 6005, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A mobile service facility comprising a transportable base, and a plurality of modular units adapted to be removably mounted on the base to provide an assembly movable as a unit.

2. The mobile service facility according to claim 1 wherein the transportable base is adapted to be loaded onto a transport vehicle.

3. The mobile service facility according to claim 1 or 2 wherein the modular units are releasably coupled to the transportable base when mounted thereon

4. The mobile service facility according to claim 1 , 2 or 3 wherein the modular units are adapted to accommodate apparatus and equipment required for performance of designated functions.

5. The mobile service facility according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the modular units are sized and shaped for selective positioning at several available locations on the transportable base.

6. The mobile service facility according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the modular units are configured as cabinets.

7. The mobile service facility according to claim 6 wherein the cabinets have side doors configured to provide the access.

8. The mobile service facility according to claim 7 wherein at least one of the doors is operable to provide a canopy above a work station for a user alongside the mobile service facility.

9. The mobile service facility according to any one of the preceding claims wherein at least one of the modular units is adapted to provide a collapsible work bench.

10. The mobile service facility according to claim 9 wherein the ccollapsible work bench is movable between a stowed condition and an operative condition, wherein in the stowed condition, the work bench is folded upwardly to nest alongside the modular unit and in wherein in the operative condition, the work bench is folded downwardly to extend outwardly from the modular unit to provide a work surface

11 . A method of providing services, the method comprising use of mobile service unit according to any one of the preceding claims.

12. A method of providing services at an onfield location, the method comprising: positioning a plurality of modular units on a transportable base to provide an assembly, the modular units accommodating infrastructure required in the provision of the services; conveying the assembly to the onfield location; and performing said services at the onfield location.

The method according to claim 12 further comprising using a mobile service unit according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the mobile service unit provides the plurality of modular units and the transportable base.

Description:
l

Mobile Service Facility

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The present invention relates to a mobile service facility.

[0002] The invention has been devised particularly, although not necessarily solely, in relation to a mobile service facility for provision of activities and services concerned with analysis of samples, such for example geological samples in exploration drilling. Accordingly, the following discussion in relation to background art is provided in the context of analysis of samples in exploration drilling such as mineral exploration drilling. However, the invention may have application in various other fields, such as for example where there might be need for onsite provision of services or other activity.

BACKGROUND ART

[0003] The following discussion of the background art is intended to facilitate an understanding of the present invention only. The discussion is not an acknowledgement or admission that any of the material referred to is or was part of the common general knowledge as at the priority date of the application.

[0004] In exploration drilling such as mineral exploration drilling, there is a need for sample analysis to determine the geology of the earth formation being drilled.

[0005] A current practice, when performing exploration drilling, such as for example mineral exploration drilling, is to send samples obtained during the course of drilling (e.g. core samples obtained from diamond drilling) to a laboratory (which is usually located remotely from the drilling site) for analysis. This usually results in a significant delay between the time that the samples are obtained and the time that the results of the analysis of the samples by the laboratory become available. The delay can be in the order of weeks or months. The delay in obtaining the analysis means that there is minimal, if any, feedback available for use in making decisions while drilling.

[0006] In an effort to reduce the delay, there have been proposals to perform sample analysis, at least to a certain extent, at or in close proximity to the drilling site in order for some feedback to be available for use in making decisions while drilling. Some such proposals involve use drilling cuttings as a source of analysis to determine the geology of the earth formation that is being drilled.

[0007] While the drilling cuttings constitute material representative of the geological formation being drilled, it is necessary that the drilling cuttings be prepared to provide appropriate samples for analysis and to conduct the analysis. This requires that various functions be performed in the field at or in close proximity to the drilling site.

[0008] Typically, the drilling cuttings are separated into batches, each providing an individual sample for analysis. The preparation of the drilling cuttings to provide the samples may involve one or more of various preparation procedures, depending upon the nature of the drilling activity and what is required of the samples. The preparation may, for example, include functions such as comminution of the drilling cuttings, drying the drill cuttings, and preparing the dried material such that the resultant samples can be presented for analysis in an optimised manner.

[0009] The comminution may be performed in a rotary comminution device, which may also serve to remove some moisture content. A dryer, such as an oven, may also be involved for moisture removal.

[0010] The dried material may be delivered as batches into sample pots, with the batches of material being pressed into in the sample pots to provide the prepared samples. The delivery of the dried material to the sample pots may be way of a conveyer and hopper, and a press may be provided for pressing the batch material into the sample pots to provide the prepared samples.

[001 1] The analysis of the prepared samples also needs to be conducted in the field. The prepared samples may be analysed in any appropriate way; such as, for example, by any one or more of the followings analysis methods: X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analysis; X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis; infra-red (IR) spectroscopy analysis; near infra-red (NIR) spectroscopy analysis; shortwave infra-red (SWIR) spectroscopy analysis; laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) analysis; Gamma logging analysis; magnetic susceptibility analysis; and Raman spectroscopy analysis.

[0012] Further, field operation data, and data obtained from analysing the prepared samples may be collected and analysed. The field operation data may comprises data such as particulars of the drilling event, data friction factor (FF), rate of penetration (ROP), and drilling state data. The field operation data may be time-stamped. The step of collecting and managing such data may comprise transferring the data to cloud- based data storage.

[0013] In order to perform the sample analysis there is a requirement for infrastructure in the field to perform these various functions involved, including the comminution, drying and delivery in batch form to the sample pots, analysis of the prepared samples, collecting the field operation data and the data obtained from analysing the prepared samples, and transmitting the collected data to cloud-based data storage.

[0014] The infrastructure required may vary according to the depending upon the nature of the drilling activity and what is required of the samples. There may also be a need to vary the infrastructure in the field, say for example in response to progress of, or outcomes arising from, the drilling process.

[0015] In order to perform sample analysis, at least to a certain extent, at or in close proximity to the drilling site in order for some feedback to be available for use in making decisions while drilling, the infrastructure may be required to be moved from one location to another each time a drilling rig moves location to commence a borehole at a new drilling site.

[0016] It is against this background that the present invention has been developed.

[0017] While the present invention was developed against this background, it need not necessarily be used for the purposes discussed. Rather, the invention may merely offer an alternative arrangement providing a mobile service facility for delivery of other services requiring infrastructure on site, as may be appropriate.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

[0018] According to a first aspect of the invention there is provided a mobile service facility comprising a transportable base, and a plurality of modular units adapted to be removably mounted on the base to provide an assembly movable as a unit.

[0019] The transportable base may be adapted to be loaded onto a transport vehicle. The transport vehicle may be of any appropriate type, including for example a trailer adapted to be towed by a towing vehicle, a tray-back utility vehicle (commonly known as a tray-back ute), a tray-back truck, or some other form of vehicle suitable for, or configured for, this purpose.

[0020] The transportable base may be fitted with the modular units prior to being loaded onto the transport vehicle. In other words, the unit may be mounted onto the transport vehicle with the modular units already in position on the base.

[0021] The transportable base may be adapted to be lifted onto and from the transport vehicle; for example, the transportable base may be configured to be lifted by a fork-lift or other load-lifting apparatus.

[0022] The transportable base may be configured as, or may incorporate, a skid frame. The skid frame may have forklifting insertion passages.

[0023] The mobile service unit may remain on the transport vehicle at site, or it may be removed from the transport vehicle and placed in position for operation at the site. In the latter case, the unit would later need to be reloaded onto a transport vehicle for relocation or removal from site.

[0024] The mobile service unit may have provision for stabilising the assembly at site. This provision may comprise one or more stabilisers (such as stabilising legs) which are deployable at site to engage the ground. Typically, the one or more stabilisers are provided on the transport vehicle.

[0025] The modular units may be releasably coupled to the transportable base when mounted thereon.

[0026] The modular units may be adapted to accommodate apparatus and equipment required for performance of designated functions. By way of example, in circumstances where the mobile service facility is configured for provision of activities and services concerned with analysis of geological samples in exploration drilling, the modular units may accommodate various types of infrastructure required to perform the specific functions involved. In other words, the modular units may be dedicated to specific purposes. [0027] For instance, one modular unit may accommodate infrastructure required for comminution and drying of the drilling cuttings. Another modular unit may accommodate infrastructure required for delivery of the dried material as batches into sample pots, with the batches of material being pressed into in the sample pots to provide the prepared samples. Yet another modular unit may accommodate infrastructure required to perform the analysis (such as apparatus for X-ray fluorescence (X F) analysis or apparatus for; X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis. Yet another modular may accommodate apparatus for collecting field operation data, and data obtained from analysing the prepared samples, and transferring the data to cloud- based data storage. One or more modular units may be provided to accommodate miscellaneous equipment required to perform other services and activities as part of the analysis process and to also accommodate any support equipment that may be required; for example, a battery back-up facility in case of a power outage, ancillary equipment such as a compressor and a vacuum cleaner. There may also be provision in one or more of the modular units for general storage.

[0028] The modular units may be of any appropriate form and configuration suitable for the intended purpose. In one form the mobile units may comprise cabinets in which the infrastructure can be accommodated.

[0029] The modular units may be configured for access to infrastructure accommodated therein. With this arrangement, the modular units may be adapted for positioning on the transportable base with the access side outwardly facing, whereby a user can obtain access to the infrastructure from alongside the mobile service facility.

[0030] Where the modular units comprise cabinets, the cabinets may have side doors configured to provide the access.

[0031] At least one of the doors may be operable to provide a canopy above a work station for a user alongside the mobile service facility.

[0032] At least one of the modular units may provide a collapsible work bench. The collapse work bench may be movable between a stowed condition and an operative condition, wherein in the stowed condition, the work bench is folded upwardly to nest alongside the modular unit and in wherein in the operative condition, the work bench is folded downwardly to extend outwardly from the modular unit to provide a work surface. [0033] The modular units may be adapted to be coupled to an onboard electrical and communications network incorporated in the mobile service unit. Modular units requiring this facility may be provided with a detachable wiring harness for connection the onboard network.

[0034] The modular units may be sized and shaped for selective positioning at several available locations on the transportable base. This permits the configuration of modular units mounted on the transportable base to be selectively varied. In other words, the particular layout of modular units installed on the transportable base can be selected according to tasks required to be performed by the mobile service unit. Further, this also facilitates interchanging of modular units at the stage of preparing the initial layout or at a later stage when, for example, the mobile service unit is in the field and requires some modification.

[0035] According to a second aspect of the invention there is provided a method of providing services, the method comprising use of mobile service facility according to the first aspect of the invention.

[0036] According to a third aspect of the invention there is provided a method of providing services at an onfield location, the method comprising: positioning a plurality of modular units on a transportable base to provide an assembly, the modular units accommodating infrastructure required in the provision of the services; conveying the assembly to the onfield location; and performing said services at the onfield location.

[0037] The method according to the third aspect of the invention may be provided using a mobile service unit according to the first aspect of the invention, the mobile service unit providing the plurality of modular units and the transportable base used in the method.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0038] Further features of the present invention are more fully described in the following description of a non-limiting embodiment thereof. This description is included solely for the purposes of exemplifying the present invention. It should not be understood as a restriction on the broad summary, disclosure or description of the invention as set out above. The description will be made with reference to the accompanying drawings in which: Figure 1 is a front perspective view of an embodiment of the mobile service unit according to the invention;

Figure 2 is a rear perspective view of the mobile service unit of figure 1 ;

Figure 3 is a front view of the mobile service unit;

Figure 4 is a rear view of the mobile service unit in an operative condition;

Figure 5 is a view of one side of the mobile service unit in the operative condition;

Figure 6 is a view of the other side of the mobile service unit in the operative condition;

Figure 7 is a side perspective view of a trailer for transporting the mobile service unit;

Figure 8 is a side perspective view depicting transportation of an assembly forming part of the mobile service unit to the trailer (this being for illustrative purposes only, as the assembly depicted is in a partly completed state); and

Figure 9 is a side perspective view depicting loading of the assembly forming part of the mobile service unit onto the trailer (this also being for illustrative purposes only, as the assembly depicted is in a partly completed state).

[0039] In the drawings like structures are referred to by like numerals throughout the several views. The drawings shown are not necessarily to scale, with emphasis instead generally being placed upon illustrating the principles of the present invention.

[0040] The figures which constitute the drawings depict an exemplary embodiment of the invention. The embodiment illustrates certain configurations; however, it is to be appreciated that the invention can take the form of many configurations, as would be obvious to a person skilled in the art, whilst still embodying the present invention. These configurations are to be considered within the scope of this invention.

DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENT

[0041] Referring to the drawings, there is shown an example embodiment of a mobile service facility 10 for provision of activities and services concerned with analysis of geological samples in exploration drilling. The mobile service facility 10 is intended to be located in the field, at or in close proximity to the drilling rig and the borehole being drilled.

[0042] In an exploration drilling process conducted using a drilling rig of known kind, drilling cuttings are conveyed to ground surface in a returning drilling fluid (the drilling fluid returns). The drilling fluid returns are captured and conveyed to a separation system at which at least some of the drilling cuttings (drilling solids) are removed for sampling. The separation system may comprise a solids control system forming part of a drilling fluid system (commonly known as a mud system) used in conjunction with the drilling process. A solids control system likely to be particularly suitable is of the type disclosed in Australian Patent Applications 2012318265 and 2013204746.

[0043] The removed drilling cuttings may be collected in batches, with each batch corresponding to the axial location within the borehole at which the particular sample has been collected. The axial location may represent a specified or known depth interval within the borehole. When a representative sample is required corresponding to a specified or known depth interval within the borehole, the drilling fluid returns corresponding to that depth interval are captured and conveyed to the separation system, at which at least some of the drilling cuttings (drilling solids) are removed for sampling. The removed drilling cuttings, which constitute the batch corresponding to the specified or known depth interval, are taken or otherwise delivered to the mobile service facility 10 for analysis at or in close proximity to the drilling site. The sample analysis is performed onsite using the mobile service facility 10 at or in close proximity to the drilling site in order for some feedback to be available for use in making decisions while drilling.

[0044] At the mobile service facility 10, the drilling cuttings are prepared to provide appropriate samples for analysis, and the analysis is also conducted. This requires that various functions relating to sample preparation and analysis be performed in the field at the mobile service facility 10.

[0045] In this embodiment, the mobile service facility 10 comprises a transportable base 13, and a plurality of modular units 15 adapted to be removably mounted on the base to provide an assembly 17 movable as a unit. The modular units 15 may be selectively interchangeable, as will be described further later, and for this purpose are of a common size and general shape. In the arrangement shown, the modular units 15 are of box configuration, being rectangular both in elevation and in plan.

[0046] The transportable base 13 is adapted to be loaded onto a transport vehicle 21 . In the arrangement shown, the transport vehicle 21 comprises a trailer 23 adapted to be towed by a towing vehicle. The transport vehicle 21 may take any other appropriate form, including for example a tray-back ute or a tray-back truck.

[0047] Typically, the modular units 15 are installed on the transportable base 13 prior to the assembly 17 being loaded onto the transport vehicle 21. In other words, the assembly 17 is mounted onto the transport vehicle 21 with the modular units 15 already in position on the base (as shown in Figures X and Y).

[0048] The assembly 17 is adapted to be lifted onto and from the transport vehicle 21 . For this purpose, the transportable base 13 is configured to be lifted by a fork-lift 24 or other load-lifting apparatus.

[0049] The transportable base 13 comprises a frame structure 31 having forklifting insertion passages 32. The frame structure 31 may comprise a skid frame 34 permitting sliding of the assembly 17 into position on the load carrying surface 23a of the trailer 23, and also along a surface (such as a floor surface or ground surface) upon which the assembly 17 may be rested. The transportable base 13 is rectangular in plan, and has two sides 35, a front 36 and a rear 37.

[0050] The mobile service unit 10 may have provision for stabilizing it at site. This provision may comprises stabilising legs which are deployable at site to engage the ground. The stabilising legs may be adjustable to accommodate uneven terrain at which the mobile service facility 10 is installed; for example, the stabilising legs may comprise jack-up legs.

[0051] The modular units 15 may be releasably coupled to the transportable base 13 when mounted thereon. The releasable coupling may be provided in any appropriate way, for example, latching mechanisms 38 operable between the modular units 15 and the transportable base 13.

[0052] The modular units 15 may be adapted to accommodate apparatus and equipment required for performance of designated functions. In the present embodiment in which the mobile service facility 10 is configured for provision of activities and services concerned with analysis of geological samples in exploration drilling, the modular units 15 may accommodate various types of infrastructure required to perform the specific functions involved. In other words, the modular units 15 may be dedicated to specific purposes.

[0053] In particular, one modular unit 15 may accommodate infrastructure required for comminution and drying of the drilling cuttings. Another modular unit 15 may accommodate infrastructure required for delivery of the dried material as batches into sample pots, with the batches of material being pressed into in the sample pots to provide the prepared samples. Yet another modular unit 15 may accommodate infrastructure required to perform the analysis (such as apparatus for X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analysis or apparatus for; X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis. Yet another modular 15 may accommodate apparatus for collecting field operation data, and data obtained from analysing the prepared samples, and transferring the data to cloud-based data storage. One or more modular units 15 may be provided to accommodate miscellaneous equipment required to perform other services and activities as part of the analysis process and to also accommodate any support equipment that may be required; for example, a battery back-up facility in case of a power outage, ancillary equipment such as a compressor and a vacuum cleaner. There may also be provision in one or more of the modular units 15 for general storage.

[0054] In this embodiment, the modular units 15 comprise cabinets 41 in which the infrastructure can be accommodated. The cabinets 41 are adapted to be mounted on the transportable base 13, preferably in an interchangeable arrangement, thereby providing the necessary infrastructure in the layout required. The cabinets 41 are interchangeable because of the modular units 15 being interchangeable.

[0055] In the arrangement shown, the cabinets 41 are provided in two sizes, as one or more larger cabinets 43, and one or more smaller cabinets 45.

[0056] More particularly, in the arrangement shown, modular unit 15a providing larger cabinets 43a is adapted to be positioned on the transportable base 13 adjacent the rear 37 thereof, with the cabinet 43a extending crosswise between the two sides 35. Further, modular unit 15b providing larger cabinet 43b is adapted to be positioned on the transportable base13 adjacent one of the two sides 35 thereof. Still further, modular unit 15c providing two smaller cabinets 45 is adapted to be positioned on the transportable base13 adjacent the other side thereof.

[0057] Because the modular units 15 are of a common size and general shape, they can be arranged in the assembly 17 in any desired layout. For instance, particular modular units 15 selected for the assembly 17 may be such that all cabinets 41 are larger cabinets 43, with one larger cabinet 43 at the rear and one larger cabinet along each side. Alternatively, modular units 15 selected for the assembly 17 may be such that there are two sets of smaller cabinets, one on each side 35.

[0058] In the arrangement shown, there a space 48 between the modular units 15 along the sides 35; that is, between modular units 15b, 15c in the arrangement shown. The space 48 may be used for storage. In the arrangement shown, a door 49 is provided to close the space 48 at the front of the assembly 17.

[0059] The cabinets 41 are configured for access to infrastructure accommodated therein. With this arrangement, the cabinets 41 are adapted for positioning on the transportable base 13 with the access side outwardly facing, whereby a user can obtain access to the infrastructure from alongside the mobile service facility 10, either at the sides or the rear.

[0060] In this embodiment, the cabinets 41 have doors 50 configured to provide the access to the interiors of the cabinets. The doors 50 are be configured as upwardly opening or lift-up doors for ease of access, with door hinges at the upper ends. Door locks 55 are also provided locking the doors in their closed positions.

[0061] The doors 50 comprise a door 51 on each larger cabinet 43 and a door 52 on each smaller cabinet.

[0062] In the arrangement shown, larger cabinet 43a adjacent the rear 37 of the transportable base 13 has doors 51a to facilitate access by a user from the rear of the assembly 17. Larger cabinet 43b adjacent has doors 51 b to facilitate access by a user from the corresponding of the assembly 17. The smaller cabinets 45 each has a door 52 to facilitate access by a user from the respective side of the assembly 17.

[0063] The doors 51 , 52, when open, may function canopies 61 above work stations alongside the mobile service facility 10 for users accessing the infrastructure. [0064] The larger cabinet 43a at the rear has a collapsible work bench 63 at each end 65 thereof. Each collapse work bench 63 is movable between a stowed condition and an operative condition. In the stowed condition, the work bench 63 is folded upwardly to nest alongside the respective end 65, as shown in Figures 1 and 2. In the operative condition, the work bench 63 is folded downwardly to extend outwardly from the respective end 65 in cantilever fashion to provide a work surface 67, as shown in Figures 4, 5 and 6.

[0065] The modular units 15 may be adapted to be coupled to an onboard electrical and communications network incorporated in the mobile service unit 10. The modular units 15 requiring this facility may be provided with a detachable wiring harness (not shown) for connection the onboard network.

[0066] The mobile service facility 10 further includes a shelter system 71 for providing some shelter to users working alongside the assembly 17 in the field. In particular, the shelter system 71 is operable to provide shelter alongside at least one side of the assembly 17. Any suitable shelter system 71 may be used. Other arrangements are possible; for example, the shelter system may be operable to provide shelter alongside both sides, and also alongside the rear, of the assembly 17. The shelter system 71 may also comprise walls for shelter against wind

[0067] One suitable shelter system 71 may comprise a collapsible canopy 73 mounted on the assembly 17 to provide some shelter against sun and rain. The canopy 73 has a collapsed condition (as shown in the drawings) in which it is folded into a compact arrangement for storage and transport, and an extended condition (not shown) in which it provides an awning to afford the required shelter. In the extended condition, canopy 73 provides shelter alongside one side of the assembly.

[0068] From the foregoing it is evident that the mobile services unit 10 can be configured specifically for the function(s) that it is required to perform. The modular units 15 are sized and shaped for selective positioning at several available locations on the transportable base 13. This permits the configuration of modular units 15 mounted on the transportable base 13 to be selectively varied. In other words, the particular layout of modular units 15 installed on the transportable base 13 can be selected according to function(s) required to be performed by the mobile service unit 10. Further, this also facilitates interchanging of modular units 15 at the stage of preparing the initial layout of the assembly 17, or at a later stage when, for example, the mobile service unit 10 is in the field and requires some modification.

[0069] The mobile service unit 10 may be assembled with the required layout of the assembly 17 at, for example, a remote location (such as a base station), prior to transportation to the intended drilling site. In assembling the mobile service unit 10 at the remote location (the base station), the particular cabinets 41 having the required infrastructure and facilities are selected and installed on the transportable base 13 to provide the assembly 17. The assembly 17 is then lifted onto the transport vehicle 21 , and any further required activity is undertaken to compete the mobile services unit 10 for transport to the site of intended use. At site, the mobile service unit 10 is set up for operation in the field to prepare appropriate samples for analysis, and to also conduct the analysis, as previously described. In this way, feedback is available from the sample analysis for use in making decisions while drilling.

[0070] If the drilling rig is moved to drill another borehole, the mobile service facility 10 can also be moved, so that it is available for sample analysis at or in close proximity to the new borehole.

[0071] It should be appreciated that the scope of the invention is not limited to the scope of the embodiment described as an example. By way of example, in the embodiment described, the modular units 15 are of a common size and general shape. This need not necessarily be the case. The modular units may be provided in several sizes; for instance, larger modular units and smaller modular units. With such an arrangement, the smaller modular units may be adapted to operate in sets, with the assembly of smaller units in each set cooperating to correspond overall in size to one larger modular unit. In this way, if the smaller units were of the same width and height as a larger modular unit, but one half the length, two smaller modular units would then be interchangeable with one larger modular unit.

[0072] While the present invention has been described in terms of a preferred embodiment in order to facilitate better understanding of the invention, it should be appreciated that various modifications can be made without departing from the principles of the invention. Therefore, the invention should be understood to include all such modifications within its scope. [0073] This disclosure is intended to explain how to fashion and use various embodiments in accordance with the technology rather than to limit the true, intended, and fair scope and spirit thereof. The foregoing description is not intended to be exhaustive or to be limited to the precise forms disclosed. Modifications or variations are possible in light of the above teachings. The embodiment was chosen and described to provide the best illustration of the principle of the described technology and its practical application, and to enable one of ordinary skill in the art to utilise the technology in various embodiments and with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated.

[0074] Reference to positional descriptions, such as "upper", "lower", "top", and "bottom", "front", "rear" and "side" are to be taken in context of the embodiments depicted in the drawings, and are not to be taken as limiting the invention to the literal interpretation of the term but rather as would be understood by the skilled addressee.

[0075] Additionally, where the terms "system", "device" and "apparatus" are used in the context of the invention, they are to be understood as including reference to any group of functionally related or interacting, interrelated, interdependent or associated components or elements that may be located in proximity to, separate from, integrated with, or discrete from, each other.

[0076] Throughout this specification, unless the context requires otherwise, the word "comprise" or variations such as "comprises" or "comprising", will be understood to imply the inclusion of a stated integer or group of integers but not the exclusion of any other integer or group of integers.