Patent Number: 6,332,502

Title: Pipe loading device for a directional drilling apparatus

Abstract: A magazine for holding a plurality of pipes, and a drive head including a drive member adapted to be coupled to a pipe. The drive member is aligned along a drive axis. The drilling apparatus includes a first drive mechanism for rotating the drive member about the drive axis, and a second drive mechanism for moving the drive member axially along the drive axis. The drilling apparatus also includes a pipe transfer member for transferring pipes between the magazine and the drive head. The pipe transfer member defines a pipe receiving region for receiving a pipe. The pipe transfer member is movable between a first orientation in which the pipe receiving region is located adjacent to the magazine, and a second orientation in which the pipe receiving region is located adjacent to the drive axis of the drive head. The drilling apparatus further includes a magnet for magnetically attracting a pipe received at the pipe receiving region of the pipe transfer member at least when the pipe member is in the second orientation. The magnet is adapted to magnetically hold the pipe in coaxial alignment with the drive axis while the drive member of the drive head is being coupled to the pipe or uncoupled from the pipe.

Inventors: Mills; Matthew Arlen (Pella, IA), Austin; Gregg Alan (Pella, IA), Erickson; Steven C. (Pella, IA)

Assignee: Vermeer Manufacturing Company

International Classification: E21B 19/14 (20060101); E21B 19/15 (20060101); E21B 19/00 (20060101); E21B 019/20 (); E21B 019/14 ()

Expiration Date: 12/25/2018