Tripping the String with Tubing Spiders

Moving and adjusting the drill string may be a routine procedure for extraction operations, but it’s also a risky process that exposes both workers and equipment to potential risk. Strings not only support expensive and delicate equipment, but they can also exert a massive amount of pressure on handling tools due to their sheer size and weight.

Manual tubing spiders are specialized pipe handling tools that allow rig crews to stabilize the drill string. On well servicing or work-over rigs, spiders are used after drilling is complete, and the rotary table is no longer needed. Also referred to as tubing bowls, the tool is placed above a blowout preventer, flange, double studded adapter or on top of a stinger plate.  

Basic Design Elements of Tubing Spiders

Pipe-handling spiders have dozens of different components that are carefully engineered to work in unison. However, you can visualize a basic spider assembly as two distinct parts that interlock with each other: the slip and the spider.

The term “spider” is used to describe the adjustable and mobile component of the tool. Essentially, it is a smaller slip made from individual sections that lock together to form a contiguous gripping surface. The spider section is attached to an extended handle that allows workers to manually attach or release the gripping surface during tripping operations.

In this context, the slip component functions much like any other slip tool designed for tube handling. It can open and latch to fit tightly around the pipe, providing guidance and stabilization. The slip fits inside a more permanent fixture called a bowl. Tubing spider bowls are tailored to the size of the assembly, so operators need to have the correct bowl size to properly use the tool. Ramey Martin 4.5” and 5.5” slip parts are also field repairable.

The Technology Behind Tubing Spiders

Tubing spiders used in the energy industry must be designed to withstand the massive amount of pressure exerted by the weight and torque of the drill string. Rig operators should take steps to ensure they only use tools that are rated for the scale of their operations. Ramey Martin’s manual tubing spiders can handle loads of up to 100 tons, which makes them a solid choice for most applications. Like many other energy tools, spiders should be quality and stress tested before use in a live operation.

The adjustable gripping surface fits tightly around the circumference of the pipe to distribute the force evenly, which helps keep the string steady and stable during handling. Even distribution of the force not only reduces the chances of serious and inopportune equipment failure, but it also reduces the risk of attrition or damage to the tubes present during any handling procedure.

Using the Right Tools the Right Way

Anyone in the market for energy tools needs to have a lot of information at their disposal to make a good choice. Like all industrial and commercial equipment, tools for extraction operations must be carefully selected based on the expected demands of the site. Operators need to have thorough estimates, assessments, and plans in place before they finalize their selection of equipment.

With decades of experience supplying high-grade USA-made pipe handling tools and other equipment, Ramey Martin has a long history of excellent service to companies in the energy industry. As an API-7K / API-Q1 certified company, we help our clients identify key data points, provide alternatives to consider, and offer insight into the world of energy tools. Contact us for help finding effective solutions that fit your needs.


All RMET products are proudly Made in the U.S.A.