Composites for Downhole Applications

Oil & Gas

Cost optimizing processes ◾ Experienced in oil & gas industry◾ Frac plugs, sucker rods

Rock West Composites is currently supplying frac plug materials to major oil tools and drilling companies. Our team can deliver cost-effective products that work in these challenging environments. We can provide frac plug billet materials, machined details or complete frac plug tubes and assemblies fabricated to customer specifications. If you have questions about our ability to help with frac plugs, sucker rods, or other downhole applications, call our San Diego office at 858-537-6260 or request a quote.

Composites Materials Expertise for Extreme Environments

  • We are experts in the design and selection of materials and processes to be used in downhole environments, where temperature, pressure, and exposure to mixtures of solutions can be taxing to fiberglass and carbon fiber composite applications
  • We currently design hardware using advanced, highly cross-linked, matrix resin systems that support applications in environments including temperature ranges from 250°F to 400°F in combination with fluid pressures in excess of 10,000psi
  • We understand the complexities of fabricating thick-walled tubes involving long cure and post-cure above 350 F
  • RWC processed nearly half a million pounds of fiberglass and resin last year supporting these applications.

Composites Production Facilities

While our San Diego and Tijuana facilities have compression molding capability, our Salt Lake City facility has an entire manufacturing bay dedicated to filament winding, the process we use to manufacture frac plug components, including large ovens to cure product. We have one-, three-, four-, and six-spindle winders. Our six-spindle winders enable us to be very cost-competitive.

  • We have produced 10’s of thousands of tubes for frac plugs over the past several years
  • We expanded our facility by another 20,000 sq ft to meet the demand of this growing segment of our business

 

Case Studies

 

 

Filament Winding Center of Excellence

Our Salt Lake City facility has an entire 20,000 sq ft manufacturing bay dedicated to this process, including wet tow and tow-preg winding, accommodating tubes in lengths up to 22 ft and diameters up to 30 inches. We have custom resin mixing and dispensing systems for precise resin mix ratios to assure mixing accuracy and consistency. Co-located for improved efficiency are several ovens, an extended length hydraulic mandrel extractor, and mandrel storage.

 

What is the filament winding process?

Continuous strands of dry fibers are:

  • Impregnated with epoxy resin (in situ)
  • Wound onto a mandrel via precise CNC control at various angles
  • Externally pressurized for compaction and then
  • Heat cured to solidify

After curing, the solid composite form is extracted from the mandrel as a tube. In the case of a tank or other closed end vessel, the mandrel could be left inside the composite form or dissolved out via various methods.

This is the process we use for larger, longer parts and for higher quantity production runs. Filament winding is best suited for medium to large diameter parts of longer lengths, for example 1" through 24" diameter structures with lengths from 10' to 20'. It is also the most automated process for producing tubing and tanks and is therefore best suited for higher quantity production runs.