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Title:
POWER TONG AND BACKUP TONG APPARATUS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2014/085484
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A power tong assembly and backup tong assembly are disclosed. The power tong assembly includes a drive motor driving a drive gear engaged with a rotatable portion of a bearing assembly. The rotatable portion of the bearing assembly is connected to a cylindrical rotor positioned concentrically about jaws that grippingly engage and rotate a first tubular member when the portion of the bearing assembly rotates. The backup tong assembly comprises a pair of diametrically opposed gripper assemblies each having a cylinder with a cylinder rod, connected to a head member, connected to a pair of gripper members with gripping surfaces, so that extension of the cylinder rods causes the gripper members to grippingly engage a second tubular member. The power tong assembly and the backup tong assembly may be concentrically aligned to connect and disconnect the first and second tubular members.

Inventors:
RODGERS TROY A (US)
Application Number:
PCT/US2013/072054
Publication Date:
June 05, 2014
Filing Date:
November 26, 2013
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
AMERICAN CERTIFICATION AND PULL TESTING LLC (US)
International Classes:
E21B19/06; E21B31/18
Foreign References:
US6334376B12002-01-01
US5842390A1998-12-01
US8100174B22012-01-24
US5351767A1994-10-04
US20020189804A12002-12-19
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ROUSE, Nicholas, D. (P.C.P.O. Box 1637, Oklahoma City OK, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A power tong assembly for rotating a tubular member, the power tong assembly comprising:

a jaw assembly comprising:

a plurality of jaws having an internal gripping portion and an external gear portion, the jaws arranged to form a tubular member receiving space central to the jaws; and

a cylindrical rotor positioned concentrically about the jaws, the rotor having a plurality of internal gear teeth interfaced with the external gear portion of the jaws such that rotation of the rotor causes rotation of the jaws relative to the tubular member receiving space such that the internal gripping portion of the jaws is movable relative to the tubular member receiving space to engage and rotate the tubular member when same is positioned in the tubular member receiving space, the rotor further having a lower flange extending perpendicularly from the rotor;

a bearing assembly positioned concentrically to the jaw assembly and comprising a stationary inner portion and a rotatable outer portion, the outer portion having an external gear ring and being connected to the lower flange of the rotor such that rotation of the outer portion causes rotation of the rotor;

a housing encompassing the jaw assembly and at least a portion of the bearing assembly, the housing having an upper plate, a lower plate, and a plurality of sidewall members, the upper and lower plates having tubular member receiving openings aligned with the tubular member receiving space central to the jaws, the lower plate connected to the inner portion of the bearing assembly; and

at least one drive assembly comprising at least one drive gear powered by at least one drive motor, the drive gear interfaced with the gear ring of the bearing assembly such that rotation of the drive gear causes rotation of the gear ring.

2. The power tong assembly of claim 1 , further comprising a controller remotely positioned from the jaw assembly and configured to control the drive assembly.

3. The power tong assembly of claim 1 , further comprising a plurality of guide plates connected with the upper and lower plates of the housing, the guide plates having an opening aligned with the tubular member receiving space, the opening having beveled rims that define tapered guide surfaces.

4. The power tong assembly of claim 1 , wherein the lower flange of the rotor substantially surrounds the circumference of the rotor.

5. A backup tong assembly for holding a tubular member stationary, the backup tong assembly comprising:

a tubular housing having a first side with a first opening and a second side with a second opening, the first and second opening aligned with each other to form a tubular member receiving space, the housing further having a first end and a second end opposite from one another;

a first gripper assembly secured through the first end of the housing, the first gripper assembly comprising:

a first cylinder connected to the first end of the housing;

a first cylinder rod extending from the first cylinder through the housing toward the tubular member receiving space, the first cylinder rod having a proximal end and a distal end;

a first head member connected to the distal end of the first cylinder rod; and

a first pair of gripper members connected to the first head member, each gripper member having a gripping surface; and

a second gripper assembly secured through the second end of the housing in a diametrically opposed relationship to the first gripper assembly, the second gripper assembly comprising:

a second cylinder connected to the second end of the housing; a second cylinder rod extending from the second cylinder through the housing toward the tubular member receiving space, the second cylinder rod having a proximal end and a distal end;

a second head member connected to the distal end of the second cylinder rod; and

a second pair of gripper members connected to the second head member, each gripper member having a gripping surface;

wherein extension of the first and second cylinder rods causes the first and second pairs of gripper members to grippingly engage the tubular member when same is positioned in the tubular member receiving space.

6. The backup tong assembly of claim 5, further comprising a controller remotely positioned from the housing and configured to control the gripper assemblies.

7. The backup tong assembly of claim 5, wherein each gripper member is pivotally connected to the head member about a pivot axis, and wherein each gripper surface is positioned concentric to the pivot axis.

8. The backup tong assembly of claim 5, wherein each gripper surface is arcuate shaped.

9. An assembly comprising:

a power tong assembly comprising:

a jaw assembly comprising:

a plurality of jaws having an internal gripping portion and an external gear portion, the jaws arranged to form a first tubular member receiving space central to the jaws; and a cylindrical rotor positioned concentrically about the jaws, the rotor having a plurality of internal gear teeth interfaced with the external gear portion of the jaws such that rotation of the rotor causes rotation of the jaws relative to the first tubular member receiving space such that the internal gripping portion of the jaws is movable relative to the first tubular member receiving space to engage and rotate the tubular member when same is positioned in the first tubular member receiving space, the rotor further having a lower flange extending perpendicularly from the rotor;

a bearing assembly positioned concentrically to the jaw assembly and comprising a stationary inner portion and a rotatable outer portion, the outer portion having an external gear ring and being connected to the lower flange of the rotor such that rotation of the outer portion causes rotation of the rotor;

a power tong housing encompassing the jaw assembly and at least a portion of the bearing assembly, the power tong housing having an upper plate, a lower plate, and a plurality of sidewall members, the upper and lower plates having tubular member receiving openings aligned with the first tubular member receiving space central to the jaws, the lower plate connected to the inner portion of the bearing assembly; and

at least one drive assembly comprising at least one drive gear powered by at least one drive motor, the drive gear interfaced with the gear ring of the bearing assembly such that rotation of the drive gear causes rotation of the gear ring; and

a backup tong assembly comprising:

a tubular backup tong housing having a first side with a first opening and a second side with a second opening, the first and second opening aligned with each other to form a second tubular member receiving space concentrically aligned with the first tubular member receiving space of the power ton assembly, the backup tong housing further having a first end and a second end opposite from one another;

a first gripper assembly secured through the first end of the backup tong housing, the first gripper assembly comprising: a first cylinder connected to the first end of the backup tong housing; a first cylinder rod extending from the first cylinder through the backup tong housing toward the second tubular member receiving space, the first cylinder rod having a proximal end and a distal end;

a first head member connected to the distal end of the first cylinder rod; and

a first pair of gripper members connected to the first head member, each gripper member having a gripping surface; and

a second gripper assembly secured through the second end of the backup tong housing in a diametrically opposed relationship to the first gripper assembly, the second gripper assembly comprising:

a second cylinder connected to the second end of the backup tong housing;

a second cylinder rod extending from the second cylinder through the backup tong housing toward the second tubular member receiving space, the second cylinder rod having a proximal end and a distal end;

a second head member connected to the distal end of the second cylinder rod; and

a second pair of gripper members connected to the second head member, each gripper member having a gripping surface;

wherein extension of the first and second cylinder rods causes the first and second pairs of gripper members to grippingly engage the tubular member when same is positioned in the second tubular member receiving space.

10. The assembly of claim 9, further comprising at least one controller remotely positioned from the jaw assembly and configured to control at least one of the drive assembly and the first and second gripper assemblies.

11. The assembly of claim 9, wherein the backup tong assembly is connected to the lower plate of the power tong housing.

12. The assembly of claim 9, further comprising a plurality of guide plates connected with the upper and lower plates of the power tong housing, the guide plates having an opening aligned with the first tubular member receiving space, the opening having beveled rims that define tapered guide surfaces.

13. The assembly of claim 9, wherein the lower flange of the rotor substantially surrounds the circumference of the rotor.

14. The assembly of claim 9, further comprising at least one resilient support connected to the power tong housing to permit movement of the power tong assembly relative to the backup tong assembly.

15. The assembly of claim 9, further comprising a plurality of resilient supports extending between the power tong housing and the backup tong housing to permit movement of the power tong assembly relative to the backup tong assembly.

16. The assembly of claim 9, wherein each gripper member is pivotally connected to the head member about a pivot axis, and wherein each gripper surface is positioned concentric to the pivot axis.

17. The assembly of claim 9, wherein each gripper surface is arcuate shaped.

Description:
POWER TONG AND BACKUP TONG APPARATUS

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. provisional application serial number 61/730,266, entitled "POWER TONG AND BACKUP TONG APPARATUS," filed November 27, 2012, the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Apparatus for connecting and disconnecting (threading and unthreading) tubular members, such as pipe joints and the like, are widely used. In particular, such apparatus are readily utilized in the drilling industry for the purpose of connecting and disconnecting sections of pipe and other elongated elements, such as drill pipe, well casing, production tubing, sucker rods, and the like (referred to herein as tubular members). During drilling, completion, and servicing operations for wells typically drilled for the production of petroleum products, lengths of pipe are interconnected by connecting operations for developing a string of pipe that is run into the well. Further, upon removal of a string of pipe from the well, it is necessary to break out the individual joints of pipe as the pipe string is withdrawn from the well.

[0003] During making up and breaking out operations, it is desirable to provide power energized equipment that is capable of applying relatively high torque to the pipe joints to thread or unthread to connect or disconnect the connection. High torque may be necessary especially during breakout operations. In the petroleum industry, such power energized devices are typically referred to as power tong assemblies, and these power tong assemblies have become quite well developed over the years.

[0004] One of the problems encountered with power tongs is that they are generally complex in construction. As such, power tongs can be difficult and expensive to maintain, particularly when used on wells located in remote areas.

[0005] In addition to the power tong which is employed to apply torque to rotate a first tubular member, a backup tong assembly is utilized to hold a second inline tubular member stationary, in order to connect or disconnect the first and second tubular members. Like power tong assemblies, backup tong assemblies have been complex in construction, and thus difficult to maintain.

[0006] To this end, a need exists for improved power tong and backup tong assemblies that are simple in construction and easy to maintain. It is to such apparatus that the inventive concepts disclosed herein are directed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0007] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a power tong assembly constructed in accordance with the inventive concepts disclosed herein.

[0008] FIG. 2 is an exploded, perspective view of the power tong assembly of FIG. 1.

[0009] FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along line 3-3 in FIG. 1

[0010] FIG. 4A is a perspective view of a jaw assembly.

[0011] FIG. 4B is side elevational view of the jaw assembly.

[0012] FIG. 4C is a top plan view of the jaw assembly.

[0013] FIG. 4D is a sectional view of the jaw assembly taken along line 4D-4D of FIG. 4B.

[0014] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the jaw assembly shown with a bearing assembly attached thereto.

[0015] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a power tong assembly.

[0016] FIG. 7 is a perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a backup tong assembly.

[0017] FIG. 8 is an exploded, perspective view of the backup tong assembly of FIG. 7.

[0018] FIG. 9 is a top plan view of the backup tong assembly.

[0019] FIG. 10A is a perspective view of a gripper assembly.

[0020] FIG. 10B is a side elevational view of the gripper assembly.

[0021] FIG. 10C is a top plan view of a head member and a pair of gripper members.

[0022] FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a power tong assembly and backup tong assemblies constructed in accordance with the inventive concepts disclosed herein. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

[0023] Before explaining at least one embodiment of the inventive concepts disclosed herein in detail, it is to be understood that the inventive concepts are not limited in their application to the details of construction and the arrangement of the components or steps or methodologies set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The inventive concepts disclosed herein are capable of other embodiments, or of being practiced or carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein is for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting the inventive concepts disclosed and claimed herein in any way.

[0024] In the following detailed description of embodiments of the inventive concepts, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a more thorough understanding of the inventive concepts. However, it will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art that the inventive concepts within the instant disclosure may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well-known features have not been described in detail to avoid unnecessarily complicating the instant disclosure.

[0025] As used herein, the terms "comprises," "comprising," "includes," "including," "has," "having," and any variations thereof, are intended to cover a nonexclusive inclusion. For example, a process, method, article, or apparatus that comprises a list of elements is not necessarily limited to only those elements, and may include other elements not expressly listed or inherently present therein.

[0026] Unless expressly stated to the contrary, "or" refers to an inclusive or and not to an exclusive or. For example, a condition A or B is satisfied by anyone of the following: A is true (or present) and B is false (or not present), A is false (or not present) and B is true (or present), and both A and B is true (or present).

[0027] In addition, use of the "a" or "an" are employed to describe elements and components of the embodiments disclosed herein. This is done merely for convenience and to give a general sense of the inventive concepts. This description should be read to include one or at least one and the singular also includes the plural unless it is obvious that it is meant otherwise.

[0028] As used herein, qualifiers like "substantially," "about," "approximately," and combinations and variations thereof, are intended to include not only the exact amount or value that they qualify, but also some slight deviations therefrom, which may be due to manufacturing tolerances, measurement error, wear and tear, stresses exerted on various parts, and combinations thereof, for example.

[0029] Finally, as used herein any reference to "one embodiment" or "an embodiment" means that a particular element, feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment. The appearances of the phrase "in one embodiment" in various places in the specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment.

[0030] Referring now to drawings, and more particularly to FIGS. 1-5, illustrated therein is a power tong assembly 10 for connecting and disconnecting tubular members, such as tubular members 210 and 212 (FIG. 11). The power tong assembly 10 includes a housing 12, a jaw assembly 14 for gripping a tubular member, a bearing assembly 16, and a drive assembly 18.

[0031] The housing 12 includes an upper plate 24, a lower plate 26, and a plurality of sidewall members 28. The upper and lower plates 24 and 26 may be of any form with interior portions thereof cut away and defining central openings 30 and 32, also referred to herein as tubular member receiving openings 30, 32. The housing 12 may substantially encompass the jaw assembly 14 and at least a portion of the bearing assembly 16. The housing 12 may be formed of metal or other suitable material.

[0032] A plurality of guide plates 34 and 36 may be interconnected with the upper and lower plates 24 and 26. The guide plates have an opening aligned with the tubular member receiving openings 30, 32 of the upper and lower plates 24, 26 of the housing 12. The inner peripheries of each of the guide plates 34 and 36 are provided with beveled rims 42 and 44, respectively, to guide a tubular member as the tubular member is inserted into and through the power tong assembly 10.

[0033] The jaw assembly 14 may be any suitable mechanism, such as those known as Foster style jaw assemblies and commercially available from Gill Services, Inc. The jaw assembly 14 generally employs a rotor 50 and a plurality of jaws 52, also referred to as pipe gripping members.

[0034] The jaws 52 are arranged to form a tubular member receiving space 45, aligned with the tubular member receiving openings 30, 32 of the upper and lower plates 24 and 26 of the housing 12. The jaws 52 have an internal gripping portion 46 and an external pinion gear portion 56. The internal gripping portion 46 may be composed of teeth, ridges, or other gripping surface. In one embodiment, the jaws 52 are pivotally connected to a support ring 47.

[0035] The rotor 50 is in the form of a cylindrical sleeve, and the inner peripheral portion of the rotor 50 has a plurality of internal gear teeth 54 that are received by the opposing external pinion gear portions 56 of the jaws 52 such that rotation of the rotor 50 in either direction causes the jaws 52 to rotate relative to the tubular member receiving space 45 such that the internal gripping portion 46 of the jaws 52 is moveable relative to the tubular receiving space 45 to engage the tubular member 212 when present. The rotation causes making or breaking of a connection between adjacent tubular members by threading or unthreading the connection, depending upon the direction of rotation of the rotor 50.

[0036] The rotor 50 is provided with an upper flange 60 and a lower flange 62, each extending outwardly from the rotor 50. The upper flange 60 and lower flange 62 may substantially surround the circumference of the rotor 50 and may extend perpendicularly from the rotor 50. The upper flange 60 of the rotor 50 provides structural support to the rotor 50.

[0037] The bearing assembly 16 has a diameter such that the bearing assembly 16 is positioned concentrically about at least a portion of the jaw assembly 14. The bearing assembly 16 has a stationary inner portion 64 and a rotatable outer portion 66. The bearing assembly 16 may be in the form of a bearing commonly referred to a slewing bearing.

[0038] The inner portion 64 of the bearing assembly 16 is configured to be connected the lower plate 26 of the housing 12 with a plurality of fasteners 78, thus holding the inner portion 64 substantially rotationally stationary. The fasteners 78 may also be used to secure the guide plate 36 to the lower plate 26 of the housing 12.

[0039] The outer portion 66 of the bearing assembly 16 has an external gear ring 68 extending therefrom and defining external gear teeth 70. The outer portion 66 of the bearing assembly 16 is connected to the lower flange 62 of the rotor 50 of the jaw assembly 14 such that rotation of the outer portion 66 causes rotation of the rotor 50. The outer portion 66 of the bearing assembly 16 is connected to the lower flange 62 of the rotor 50 in a suitable manner, such as with fasteners 76.

[0040] The drive assembly 18 supplies rotative forces to the bearing assembly 16 and the bearing assembly 16 provides a direct drive linkage between the rotor 50 and the drive assembly 18. The drive assembly 18 includes one or more suitable hydraulic drive motors 74 and one or more drive gears 72. Any drive motor 74 of suitable power to drive the bearing assembly 16 and jaw assembly 14 may be used. An example of a suitable drive motor 74 is model number M015-61-1 S-015-50-B1- TB available from Rineer Hydraulics, Inc. of San Antonio, Texas. The drive gear 72 has a plurality of teeth 73. The teeth 73 of the drive gears 72 are disposed in driven engagement with the gear teeth 70 of the bearing assembly 16.

[0041] In the embodiment of FIG. 2, two hydraulic drive motors 74 are utilized. The hydraulic drive motors 74 rotate the drive gears 72 which are directly engaged with the bearing assembly 16, thereby rotating the outer portion 66 of the bearing assembly 16. The hydraulic drive motors 74 may be located anywhere around the bearing assembly 16 so long as the drive gears 72 are positioned to interface with the bearing assembly 16. For example, the hydraulic drive motors 74 may be positioned adjacent to one another or opposing one another across the jaw assembly 14. In one embodiment, the lower plate 26 of the housing 12 supports the drive assembly 18; however, the drive assembly 18 may be supported by any suitable structure. Hydraulic power is supplied to the hydraulic drive motor 74 by any suitable hydraulic power system (not shown).

[0042] In one embodiment, the drive motors 74 and/or a resilient support 20 are controlled from a control panel 80 which includes corresponding control valves for actuating each of the drive motors 74 and/or the resilient support 20. The control panel 80 may be remotely positioned whereby a workman can be positioned in a convenient and safe location at the work site away from the moving parts of the power tong assembly 10. Because the use of hydraulic circuits is well known in the art, as well as their various components, the hosing used in the present invention has been omitted from the drawings for the sake of clarity.

[0043] The power tong assembly 10 may be connected to one or more resilient supports to permit relative movement of the power tong assembly 10, for example, during the threading and unthreading of the connection. In one embodiment, shown in FIG. 1 , a resilient support 20a in the form of hydraulic piston and cylinder assembly is shown to be mounted to the power tong assembly 10. In another embodiment illustrated in FIG. 6, a plurality of resilient supports 20b in the form of cylinders may be mounted between the power tong assembly 10a and a base support 23. [0044] Referring now to FIGS. 7-10C, a backup tong assembly 100 constructed in accordance with the inventive concepts disclosed herein is illustrated. The backup tong assembly 100 is adapted to be used in combination with the power tong assembly 10 described above, or with other power tong assemblies, to hold a tubular member in a stationary position while the power tong assembly 10 rotates another tubular member during a connecting or disconnecting operation, that is, threading or unthreading the connection between the tubular members, such as tubular members 210 and 212 depicted in FIG. 11. The backup tong assembly 100 may be connected directly to a support structure, such as a rig floor, (not shown) and/or connected to the power tong assembly 10, such as to the housing 12 of the power tong assembly 10 (FIG. 11).

[0045] The backup tong assembly 100 broadly includes a housing 102 and a pair of gripper assemblies 104 secured to the housing 102 in diametrically opposing relationship with one another.

[0046] The housing 102 serves as a support structure for the gripper assemblies 104. In one embodiment, the housing 102 has a square cross-section with a first open end 106 and a second open end 108; the first and second ends 106, 108 being opposite from one another. The housing 102 further is provided with a first side 109 with an upper opening 110 and a second side 111 with a lower opening 112 with the openings 110, 112 aligned with one another to form a tubular member receiving space 113 for receiving the tubular member. In one version, the housing 102 is formed of square steel tube. The upper and lower openings 110 and 112 are sized to permit the tubular members to pass there through, and the upper and lower openings 110 and 112 may be further sized (e.g., 7 1/16 inch) to permit other equipment to pass there through, such as packers and landing hangers, without requiring removal of the backup tong assembly 100. As described above, the housing 102 may be adapted to be secured to the rig floor (not shown), a support structure, or secured to a power tong, such as the power tong assembly 10 described above.

[0047] The gripper assemblies 104 may be secured through the first and second ends 106, 108 of the housing 102 in a diametrically opposed relationship to one another. In one embodiment, each of the gripper assemblies 104 includes a cylinder 120, a cylinder rod 122 extending from the cylinder 120, a head member 124 connected to a distal end of the cylinder rod 122, and a pair of gripper members 126 connected to the head member 124.

[0048] The cylinders 120 may be any suitable cylinder, such as a six inch, 20 ton, 10,000 psi, single acting hydraulic cylinder with a return spring, commercially available from BVA Hydraulics. The cylinder 120 may be secured to the housing 102 with a cylinder support assembly 130 to facilitate removal of the gripper assembly 104 from the housing 102 for servicing the gripper assembly 104. More particularly, the cylinder support assembly 130 includes a sleeve 132 for receiving the cylinder 120, a flange 134 extending from the sleeve 132, and an end cap 136 with a hole 138 formed therein. The flange 134 is configured to fit in the open end 106, 108 of the housing 102 and to be secured to the housing 102 with suitable fasteners, such as bolts 140. To this end, the gripper assembly 104 may be removed from the housing 102 by removing the bolts 140 and withdrawing the gripper assembly 104 from the housing 102. The cylinder 120 may further be provided with an indicator 142 connected to the cylinder 120 and extending through the hole 138 or the end cap 136 to provide a visual indication of the position of the cylinder 120. By way of example, when the indicators 142 are visible, this may indicate that the gripper assembly 104 is in a retracted or non-gripping position wherein the tubular members 210, 212 may be passed through the backup tong assembly 100.

[0049] The cylinder rod 122 extends from the cylinder 120 through the housing 102 toward the tubular member receiving space 113. The cylinder rod 122 has a proximal end 143 and a distal end 144. The head member 124 is connected to the distal end 144 of the cylinder rod 122. The head member 124 may have one or more guide plates 125 dimensioned to slidably contact the interior surface of the housing 102. A pair of gripper members 126 is connected to the head member 124, each gripper member having a gripping surface 150.

[0050] The gripper members 126 are commonly known as tong dies. In one embodiment, the gripper members 126 each have arcuate shaped gripping surface 150 which may be provided with pipe engaging teeth or serrations. The gripper members 126 are pivotally connected to the head member 124 in such a way that the gripping surfaces 150 are concentrically positioned relative to a pivot axis 152 through the gripper member 126. The concentric arrangement permits a greater range of pipe to be gripped without requiring gripper members 126 of different sizes to be interchanged. [0051] Extension of the cylinder rods 122 causes the pairs of gripper members 126 to grippingly engage the tubular member 210 when the tubular member is

positioned in the tubular member receiving space 113.

[0052] The cylinders 120 may be powered by any suitable hydraulic power

system (not shown). For example, the cylinders 120 may be controlled from the control panel 8( for the sake of clarity.

[0053] Referring now to FIG. 11 , an assembly 200 that includes the power

tong assembly 10 and a pair of backup tong assemblies 100 is illustrated. The

backup tong assemblies 100 may be attached to the housing 12 of the power

assembly 100 or to any suitable structure. For example, the backup tong assembly

100 may be attached to a structural support 202. The tubular member receiving

spaces 113 of the backup tong assemblies 100 are concentrically aligned with the

tubular member receiving space 45 of the power tong assembly 10. The backup

tong assemblies 100 may be positioned on opposing sides of the power tong

assembly 10. Though two backup tong assemblies 100 are shown, it will be

understood that any number of backup tong assemblies 100 may be used.

[0054] The assembly 200 illustrated in FIG. 11 also includes the resilient

support 20a as described above in conjunction with FIG. 1. However, it will be

understood that the assembly 200 may also be supported in a variety of ways,

including configured to have no resilient support, or the resilient support may be

configured as the plurality of cylinders 20b, as described in conjunction with FIG. 6.

[0055] In use, to connect or disconnect a first tubular member 210 and a

second tubular member 212 by threading or unthreading a connection between the

first and second tubular members 210, 212, one of the backup tong assemblies 100

is first activated such that the cylinders 120 extend so as to cause the gripper

members 126 to contact and grip the first tubular member 210. The power tong

assembly 10 may then be actuated to engage and rotate the second tubular member

212 to either connect the second tubular member 212 to, or disconnect the second

tubular member 212 from, the first tubular member 210 by threading or unthreading

the connection. It will be understood that either backup assembly 100 may be used,

or additional backup assemblies 100 may be utilized in the assembly 200.

[0056] To release the second tubular member 212, the drive assembly 18 may

be reversed, thereby disengaging the gripping portion 46 of the jaws 52 from the

second tubular member 212. To release the first tubular member 210, the hydraulic

g power system is disengaged thereby causing the cylinders 120 to return to the retracted position thereby causing the gripper members 126 to disengage the first tubular member 210. The drive assembly 18 and hydraulic power system may be remotely controlled.

[0057] From the above description, it is clear that the inventive concepts disclosed herein are well adapted to carry out the objects and to attain the advantages mentioned herein as well as those inherent in the inventive concepts disclosed herein. While exemplary embodiments of the inventive concepts disclosed herein have been described for purposes of this disclosure, it will be understood that numerous changes may be made which will readily suggest themselves to those skilled in the art and which are accomplished within the scope of the inventive concepts disclosed and claimed herein.