Formation-testing buffer tube

The buffer tube is a critical subassembly of the wireline formation testing tool used to sample downhole formation fluid after a well is drilled. It maintains a buffer space between the tool’s internal oil and the formation fluid being sampled.

Original version 

The original buffer tube subassembly consisted of seven parts with several weld joints and dissimilar metals. It was characterized by limited rigidity as well as manufacturing and assembly complexity, resulting in multiple failure modes, and a poor reliability record. The brazed joint in particular had caused downhole leakages. In addition to resolving these issues, we also needed to address design constraints to fit a smaller-diameter formation testing tool. 

Formyst version 

We completely redesigned the buffer tube for additive manufacturing. It’s printed as a single component using just one metal with no joints, and fluid flow channels are completely enclosed inside the part. All previous failure modes have been eliminated. The development process took just one month. We launched the part in 2016 and have since accumulated thousands of operating hours with zero quality alerts. 

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