Varel International Opens Houston Technology Centre

HOUSTON, Tex. -- Varel International, the leading independent manufacturer of drill bits and global supplier to the drilling industry, announces the opening a state-of-the-art technology centre and laboratory in Houston. The site, dedicated to the testing, characterization and development of advanced materials for PDC and roller cone drill bits, utilizes the company’s patents pending Acoustic Emissions Toughness Testing (AETT) technology for PDC.

It also includes a fully instrumented Vertical Turret Lathe for abrasion testing against large rock samples, an advanced scanning electron microscope and diamond sample preparation equipment.

Mike Thigpen, Varel director of PDC Engineering, elaborated on the importance of such a facility. “First and foremost, we strive to give the most value to our customers. Through our thorough testing and characterization of materials we can best choose the product for their applications.”

He continued, “While we have a strong focus on PDC cutting elements, we also test a variety of other components for our products. This is imperative as our industry uses the hardest, most abrasion resistant materials available in the commercial world and our continued testing allows us to evolve and excel over other players in the field.”

Thigpen pointed to Federico Bellin, Varel PDC Cutter Technology manager, as to the impact of the patents pending testing mechanism, the AETT.

“This facility allows us to exploit the benefits of the AETT technology which detects and differentiates variances in diamond quality and performance in a unique and beneficial way,” said Bellin. “Multiple types and grades of PDC cutters can be cross compared, yielding a highly predictive valuation of impact toughness. This benefits our customers by allowing our engineers to select the most effective tools for their drilling requirements.”

Alfa Dourfaye, Varel’s Technology Development manager, added the following, “The testing of the exotic materials used in oil and gas drill bits naturally leads to the development of advanced technology. Varel has put in place a number of joint development efforts with leading suppliers to create new, differentiating technology that translates into better performance for our customers. This new lab, which is one of the most advanced worldwide in terms of equipment capabilities, helps to make Varel an attractive partner for joint technology development.”

Founded in 1947, Varel International is the world’s largest independent supplier in the global oil and gas drill bit market. Headquartered in Carrollton, Texas, Varel services oil and gas, mining and industrial markets with its comprehensive suite of roller cone and fixed cutter drill bits.

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