How PDC bits performs better than tricone bits



Many people wants to know which is the better one between PDC bits and Tricone bits, to answer this question, we should know the drilling conditions, the drilling applications includes oil&gas, mining, geothermal, trenchless, water well, etc. , and maybe different way of drilling  including vertical drilling, horizontal drilling, HDD pilot hole drilling, raise boring, piling, etc.
Based on different drilling conditions, it is hard to say which is the better by one words, even it depends on expectation of drillers, maybe the drillers prefer higher drilling down speed(ROP), maybe they prefer longer footage than taking care speed, so we should analyse and judge the conditions and expectation firstly.
This article is to tell how a PDC bit performs better than tricone bit in a specific condition. 
Tricone bits is assembled by many parts, including arms, 3 different cones, ball for locking, O-ring for sealing bearing, grease for lubrication, different tungsten carbide inserts/teeth on cones and arms, grease resevoir, etc.
If we make a change on tricone bits, we have to make new moulds for many parts, the arms and cones are produced by forging, the forging MOQ is calculated by tons, so it is expensive to get a new sample of forging arm. The same things happens on tungsten carbide inserts, O-rings, balls, etc. Generally, it is hard to make new parts of tricone bits to make a change for a new design.
Further more, the workshop needs to customize fixing tools for machines holding steel parts. For example, even the arms of 8 1/2” IADC517 and IADC537 are different, the fixing tools on machine are different to produce arms of 8 1/2”IADC517 and IADC537.
In a summary, it is hard and costly to produce new moulds for new design of tricone bits, meanwhile it is hard to make fixing tools on CNC machines, so it is hard and costly to improve tricone bits.
The PDC bits is constituent by body and cutters. The PDC body has two types, matrix and steel, nowadays the matrix body becomes less and less, the steel body is popular. It is no need make new mould for steel body, and it is no need make fixing tools for machining steel body. Further more, it is no need customize PDC cutters as the regular diameter of PDC cutters are 13mm, 16mm, 19mm, smaller diameters 8mm, 11mm, 22mm rarely used.
In a summary, it is much easier to produce a new designed PDC bits.
So let’s answer the question of this article topic:
Specific drill bits performs better in specific formations, and specific drill bits meets with requirement from drillers, drilling faster preferred or longer footage preferred?
It is very easy to produce and improve a new designed PDC bits, engineers can design new style after analyzing Used PDC bits pulling of hole, producing new ones, testing again, analyzing again, improving again..., at last we can find the best design/solutions to fit the specific requirement for one drilling area or one driller, PDC bits can be improved continuously at a low cost, it is the way how PDC bits performs better than tricone bits.

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