Shale shakers are components of drilling equipment used in many industries, such as coal cleaning, mining, oil and gas drilling. They are the first phase of a solids control system on a drilling rig, and are used to remove large solids (cuttings) from the drilling fluid (“Mud”).
Drilling fluids are integral to the drilling process and, among other functions, serve to lubricate and cool the drill bit as well as convey the drilled cuttings away from the bore hole. These fluids are a mixture of various chemicals in a water or oil based solution and can be very expensive to make. For both environmental reasons and to reduce the cost of drilling operations, drilling fluid losses are minimized by stripping them away from the drilled cuttings before the cuttings are disposed of. This is done using a multitude of specialized machines and tanks.
Shale shakers are the primary solids separation tool on a rig. After returning to the surface of the well the used drilling fluid flows directly to the shale shakers where it begins to be processed. Once processed by the shale shakers the drilling fluid is deposited into the mud tanks where other solid control equipment begin to remove the finer solids from it. The solids removed by the shale shaker are discharged out of the discharge port into a separate holding tank where they await further treatment or disposal.
Shale shakers are considered by most of the drilling industry to be the most important device in the solid control system as the performance of the successive equipment directly relates to the cleanliness of the treated drilling fluid.
Shale shakers use shaker screens to separate the solids from fluids. VGP Solids Control is a leading manufacturer for shaker screens.