A blowout preventer (BOP) is a large valve that encases an oil well on the surface. The valve may be closed while drilling if overpressure from a reservoir causes formation fluids such as oil and natural gas to back up within the wellbore and endanger the rig. A pipe ram is one of the critical components in the BOP system, which is designed to seal around a drill pipe, restricting the flow in the annulus between the outside of the drill pipe and the wellbore. The pipe ram design family, which contains hundreds of pipe ram designs, intends to cover different configurations to suit a variety of dill pipe sizes. To assure their structural integrity under service loads, these pipe rams need to be designed to meet the stress requirements per the American Petroleum Institute (API) Specification 16A and ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Section VIII, Division 2. With a conventional manual design workflow, it would take a significant amount of time and effort to complete all the designs for the product family with code compliance. Therefore, a scalable solution is highly desirable for delivery of customer-needed ram blocks with much shorter lead time. MDO (Multi-Disciplinary Optimization) involves multi-code integration, CAE (Computer-Aided Engineering) workflow automation, design space exploration, and optimization. MDO-enabled, automated design optimization is becoming increasingly popular in both scientific and engineering communities.

In this paper, a methodology for integration of CAD (Computer Aided Design), FEA (Finite Element Analysis), cost, and optimization packages to enable FEA automation and design optimization is presented. A BOP pipe ram is adopted as the use case. The ram block geometry was parameterized before being imported into an FEA package. The FEA workflow was automated such that once a set of geometric parameters are given, the preprocessing, solving, and postprocessing steps can be automatically completed. As part of the FEA postprocessing, stress linearization analysis per the API and ASME BPVC codes has also been automated, which had never been done in the past. A manufacturing cost analysis package can also be used to consume the parameterized geometry for automatic manufacturability assessment and cost predictions. The stress analysis and cost analysis workflows are conducted separately but also orchestrated by an MDO package. Reports that contain the analysis results are sequentially generated for various design permutations. The MDO-enabled automated design and cost analysis approach could substantially enhance efficiency and consistency in performing FEA and cost studies and producing analysis reports. It is also the backbone for automated design optimization, which could significantly improve the product performance and reliability and, meanwhile, minimize the development and product cost.

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