Definition - What does Top Drive mean?
Top Drive is a device that has an elevator and links that operate hydraulically to pick up pipes from the mouse hole, V-door, or the vertical racked position in the derrick. It is a critical component of a rig hoisting, rotating and circulating system as it functions to satisfy all the three systems. A unique and most versatile system that can be considered as an engineering marvel should withstand loads up to 1 million pounds (the capacity can be even more), up to 5000 psi pressure and rotate the drill string even up to 200 or beyond rpm.
Petropedia explains Top Drive
A modern top drive has replaced swivel, Kelly, Kelly bushing, hook, and rotary table with its own tongs to torque up. Top drives have automated the drilling procedures and pipe handling systems and thus they have overcome all the functions which were earlier provided by power swivels. The top drive can spin and torque a drill pipe connection. Some other of the advantages of top drive are:
- Saves time and can trip the pipes without removing power swivel, fast drill down operations.
- It has easy and automated procedure of making or breaking connections above the rig floor.
- Torque is reacted with a torque track.