Three accomplished scientists with more than 50 years of combined diamond research experience lead the US Synthetic research and development efforts. A separate team of application engineers works directly with customers to develop custom diamond solutions that make the best possible use of the latest technology. These engineers have years of experience with PDC design and working with bit companies. A staff of experienced technicians constantly evaluates and tests new products in the laboratory, so the product is tested and ready for application in the field.
All of these experienced professionals work in state-of-the-art research and testing facilities. This includes a full metallurgical lab, an advanced computer-aided design center, and a sophisticated testing lab. These facilities allow our scientists and engineers to:
- Create and optimize new cutter designs using the latest solid modeling software.
- Model and analyze the thermal and mechanical performance of PDC cutters under simulated drilling conditions using finite element analysis tools.
- Quickly build prototype cutters in a dedicated R&D environment.
- Evaluate cutters using scanning acoustic microscopy (C-SAM), optical and scanning electron microscopy, and metallurgical analysis.
- Monitor and improve cutter performance with abrasion, impact resistance, and vertical turret lathe (VTL) testing.
At US Synthetic, all of these advanced research, development, and testing capabilities come together to produce the most advanced, innovative, and effective PDCs in the world.
PDCs were first introduced decades ago as a replacement for natural diamonds. These early cutters lacked toughness, were generally limited to the softest drilling applications, and required very specialized bit designs and carefully controlled drilling parameters. Over the years, aggressive innovation and improvements to the process have steadily increased the durability, impact resistance and abrasion resistance of PDCs.
Today’s PDCs are effective in shale, limestone, and sandstone formations. Over time, the PDC-drillable zone will continue to grow and expand (see figure). For example, US Synthetic frequently cuts crystalline rocks for extended periods in a laboratory environment—and is working hard to extend these capabilities to an operating environment.
Today, PDC enhanced bits provide the fastest, most durable and most cost-effective drilling.