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Exclusive Schramm i-Control Intelligent Control System

Frequently Asked Questions

What is i-Control?

i-Control is a Schramm, Inc. trademark. i-Control rigs are equipped with electric over hydraulic valves, which are controlled by a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC). The PLC has provisions for the rig operator to change many operating parameters of the drill rig via a Human to Machine Interface (HMI). The i-Control rigs provide automation of rig movements, namely i-Control Drilling and air-Control. The i-Control system also provides the rig operator with the rig-Control Data Center.

What are the benefits of an i-Control rig?

  • i-Control Drilling. Customers claim a significant increase in footage drilled per day by experienced drillers as well as inexperienced drillers. Increased drill bit life, less fuel usage and less operator fatigue are other common claims from our customers.
  • Automated rotary gearbox stops and decelerations. The rotary gearbox will stop at the lower drill pipe joint at the holding fork height, at the pipe carousel load in & load out height and will decelerate at both ends of maximum rotary gearbox travel. This automation reduces operator fatigue and increases productivity.
  • rig-Control Data Center. rig-Control Data displays the following:
  • Weight on bit (WOB) in pounds (lbs).
  • Rotation speed in revolutions per minute (rpm).
  • Rotation torque in foot pounds (ft-lbs).
  • Bit depth in feet (ft).
  • Line pressure.
  • Air compressor sump pressure.
  • Air compressor temperature.
  • Hydraulic oil temperature
  • All engine information & diagnostic codes.
  • All drill rig diagnostic codes in easy to read text.
  • And much more.


air-Control is standard on an i-control rig. See air-Control FAQ for the details of air-Control.

  • The control system can be fine tuned as the operator desires.

Does an i-Control rig with electric over hydraulic valves cost more than a standard hydraulic rig?

Yes, there is a moderate price increase associated with electric over hydraulic valves that are controlled by a PLC. However, the overall cost increase is greatly offset by;

  • Elimination of hydraulic logic valves. The Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) contains the ‘Logic’ and can control the electric over hydraulic valves accordingly in a far more efficient manner than hydraulic logic valves. Not only does this save manufacturing cost and reduced circuit complexity, it also reduces fuel usage and in some cases, increases the rig’s utility.
  • Electric over hydraulic valves can be mounted near point of use. This reduces the number of hydraulic hoses and reduces the length of the hydraulic hoses.
  • The operator’s panel can be smaller in size and operator functions are more ergonomically positioned.
  • Increase in rig up time. The on-board diagnostics clearly indicates any faults, so repairs can be performed by the customer or a technician. Repair costs are reduced in either case by eliminating the troubleshooting procedure(s).
  • air-Control reduces fuel consumption by 10% or more.
  • i-Control Drilling increases production. We all know what that equates to, more money to further reduce the payback period.
  • i-Control Drilling reduces drill bit wear. Further reducing the operating cost and payback period.

Do I need to be a computer programmer to operate an i-Control rig?

No. If you are a computer programmer, you would not be able access the machine code without Schramm’s assistance. The rig operator can change the operating parameters of the drill rig; however, machine protection codes will not allow the operator to exceed any safe working limit of the various functions.

Due to the nature of drilling and the various tools used for drilling, the operator can set the operating parameters in i-Control Drilling in excess of the tooling in use and the formation being drilled. However, the operator could adjust the drilling parameters on a mechanical rig in excess of the tools in use and the formation being drilled by setting the weight on bit too high or too low, rotate the drill bit at an incorrect speed and allow the drill bit torque to exceed the drill bit rating. The same visual indicators of a maladjusted mechanical drill parameter setting is the same for a maladjusted i-Control Drilling parameter setting.

i-Control Drilling has several safe guards which automatically make corrections for weight on bit, drill bit torque and drill bit speed, so precise knowledge of the drilling parameters and various formations being drilled is not necessary. The operator only needs to set the ‘do not exceed’ drilling parameters, i-Control Drilling will automatically optimize the drilling parameters for the best penetration rates and protection of the tooling. The ‘do not exceed’ forces are available from the tooling manufacturers.

What if something fails, what can I do?

Electric over hydraulic valves for the mobile market have been field proven for many years and have been deemed extremely reliable. However, any component electric or mechanical can fail. On-board diagnostics clearly indicates any faults, so repairs can then be performed by the customer or a technician.

Wires look like spaghetti to me, how can I tell which wire connects to which component?

There are only a few wire harnesses on an i-Control rig, generally they are for the engine and control panel. These harnesses have multiple wires running inside of electrical conduit and are very similar to the wire harnesses on a mechanical rig. Each wire is labeled numerically at both ends and are color coded by their function i.e. Red for positive, Black for neutral, Green for ground and Blue for signal. All wire numbers correspond to the Electrical Diagram supplied specifically for each rig.

All other ‘wires’ are molded Cord Sets that are arranged so both end connections are visible or can be easily traced. Cord Sets are impervious to water and dust when properly installed.

How does the diagnostics work, is it just a ‘Check Engine Soon’ light?

No. The diagnostic system monitors the i-Control system. Should a fault arise, the diagnostic information is delivered to the operator in plain text on the display screen. Depending on the fault, the diagnostic information will pin point the component at fault or advise the faulty circuit.

What is air-Control?

Please see air-Control frequently asked questions.

What is i-Control Drilling?

i-Control Drilling is a patented drill rig control system. The drill operator needs to enter the maximum forces or ‘do not exceed’ forces using the Human to Machine Interface (HMI). These drilling parameters are weight on bit, bit torque and rotation pitch. Rotation pitch refers to the amount of bit penetration per bit revolution, similar to threading a screw.

The i-Control system will adjust the bit rotation speed and weight on bit to optimize the drilling process. The machine is capable of making adjustments every 30 milliseconds (33 times per second) or faster, far greater than any human can detect a problem and react. Once i-Control Drilling is engaged, the drill operator does not have to consistently watch or monitor the drilling process.

What is SchrammStat?

SchrammStat is a web portal (website) that allows the customer or fleet manager to monitor the drilling operation(s) remotely. This is an optional system that requires the installation of additional components. Data from the drill site can be sent to the web portal via cellular or satellite communications. Rig operating and well bore information is available for viewing. A Global Positioning System (GPS) is standard and provides the latitude and longitude position of the drill rig. Turn by turn directions are also available. Alerts can be sent to an E-mail address or a text message can be sent to a mobile phone to convey any problems with the drill rig.

We are constantly expanding the utility of SchrammStat. Please contact the Schramm Customer Support Department for more details.