Starting the Mud Agitator
Prior to proceeding, check the alignment of the motor to gearbox coupling alignment. If couplings are not aligned properly, you may wear out the flexible element before an acceptable length of operating time has passed. Once installation is complete and proper lubrication levels have been confirmed, pressing the start button on the motor starter can start the unit. (Note that motor starters are NOT supplied with mud agitators unless they have been ordered separately.) As is good practice with all rotating equipment, check for unusual noise or vibration upon start up.
Operation of Mud Agitator
As with centrifugal pumps, mud agitators will consume more horsepower as mud weight increases. There is no adjustment of the mud agitator that is required to compensate for changes in drilling conditions. During drilling operations, mud agitators are kept running at all times.
Aeration of the Suction Tank – Adjusting the height of the impellers in the suction tank is very important to prevent the agitators from introducing air that can cause mud pump problems. If air entrainment starts causing problems with the mud pump, while drilling with acceptable mud volume, impeller height should be lowered at the next opportunity, to minimize aeration. Temporarily increasing mud volume, to prevent aeration, can usually solve the problem.
Safety of Mud Agitator
The gearbox on the Agitator has a speed reduction ratio, which greatly increases the torque output at the impeller. Despite their relatively slow speed, a mud agitator can be extremely dangerous. Any objects that might fall into or be placed in the mud tanks run the risk of being caught by and wrapped up by the agitator. Typical examples of items that pose the threat of being caught by the mud agitator are: hoses, mud sample buckets, ropes, etc.
No attempt should be made to stop a rope or hose once it has been wrapped around a moving mud agitator!!! Doing so can result in a potentially life threatening situation for the person attempting to remove the object from the mud agitator.