Sit in Jelec’s chair, dive into virtual drilling

During OTC, FueFix will check out various booths. Here is a look at one.

By Tanya Rutledge

Finding a place to sit at the Offshore Technology Conference can be challenging, but visitors to Jelec’s booth are invited to take a load off in a chair like none other.

The Houston-based company staged a leather control chair, known as the Drilling Cyber Chair, in its booth as the centerpiece of a self-directed, land drilling simulation.

The chair, which has the luxury of a space-age living room recliner, is connected to an 80-inch television screen surrounded by six 22-inch screens depicting a drilling event based on the chair’s controls.

Dozens of OTC attendees gathered around the the chair as a Jelec employee demonstrated a land drilling simulation.

But within the first two hours of OTC’s opening on Monday morning, nearly half a dozen attendees had tried their hands at simulated drilling, each spending about 10 or 15 minutes going through the process.

“A lot of people are excited when they see it, but then they hesitate to get on,” Jelec systems engineer Ric Ho said. “If you don’t have the right skills and you don’t handle it right, it could get ruined.”

Along those lines, Jelec had four trainers on hand to walk attendees through the control process, including Guillaume Braillon, a project engineer who designed the chair.

Jelec, which has been exhibiting at OTC for 14 years, offered a similar chair simulation last year, but Braillon said this year’s chair has more bells and whistles, including a larger simulation screen, increased functions and new software.

“It’s always a big hit,” he said. “It’s easy if you understand the process, and we can walk people through it.”

Jelec, which was launched in 1996 to provide electrical engineering support for power distribution and instrumentation systems, created the chair to address the transition from a traditional “drawworks” hand-brake to drilling control systems that introduce new functions that drillers must adapt to.

The company provides training for its drilling control systems installations in the simulator, a course which takes about a week.
Using the Drilling Cyber Chair, the rig floor is rendered in a 3D model that includes drilling equipment and tools.

In addition to the cyber chair, Jelec showcased fire and gas detection systems, weather monitoring systems, telecommunication systems and drilling system monitors.

“Fire and gas detection systems are our bread and butter, but at this show, the chair is the thing,” Ho said.