WorldWide Drilling Resource

30 NOVEMBER 2021 WorldWide Drilling Resource® of inadvertently causing loss of returns. In case you haven’t already caught on, in drilling, everything depends on the interaction between different processes. One of the most common comments you will receive in answer to a question is frequently going to be: “It depends”, as there are so many conflicting things we need to accomplish in drilling, especially with a drilling fluid. Ideally, all of the properties need to be in the proper balance to obtain our goal. I hope you have found this useful and thought provoking. We will revisit many of the points in future articles as we discuss other drilling fluid parameters. If you have any questions about this topic or if you have another topic you would like me to address, please contact Michele (below) and she will let me know. If I don’t know the answer, I will find someone who does and is willing to share. We work in an amazing industry and have a tremendous resource base to pull from. Ron Ron Peterson may be contacted via e-mail to Peterson continued from page 8 The Right to Repair by Britt Storkson Owner, P2FlowLLC There have been several reports from various media outlets that McDonald’s restaurants have ice cream machines made by the Taylor company that always seem to be “out of order” - about 14,000 of them. A company called Kytch Inc. developed a diagnostic tool to help troubleshoot the Taylor ice cream machine. Kytch complained the Taylor ice cream machine had deliberately “flawed” software causing them to break down on a regular basis, to generate more repair orders. Long story short, Kytch sued Taylor ice cream basically to prevent Taylor from undercutting Kytch’s reputation and diagnostic tool sales. I won’t get into the legal issues because it isn’t within the scope of this article, but I will address the question of: Is it possible to write computer software so it will deliberately fail at predetermined intervals? Remember, there is nothing random about computers. The answer: Certainly, it is possible. And it is probably done more often than we know. I put the word “flawed” in quotes because if this flaw generates more business and profits for the machine maker, it really isn’t a flaw - it’s a business model; and while unethical, it’s not illegal at this time. I first came to understand this concept a number of years ago when the bookkeeping software I was using suddenly disabled certain functions - not all of them, mind you, just certain ones I could and would use from time to time. This was before the Internet was in widespread use, so it wasn’t a virus or hack either. Turned out, the software maker deliberately disabled certain functions to encourage customers to pay to fix a problem they never had before, which was to restore the missing functions they already paid for once. I was told by a local farmer that a tractor company made computer controls used in their machines so complex and unwieldly that if anything went wrong, a technician from this company had to come out and plug in a diagnostic tool specific to that tractor to figure out what went wrong. I’ve also heard of this same issue regarding large semitrucks. If the local mechanic couldn’t figure out how to fix it (which is most of the time), they called the factory to come - at a huge cost - and try to fix it. Sometimes even the factory personnel couldn’t fix it. Since most of this is billed at an hourly rate, the more time spent trying to figure this out, the better for the vendor. Often, manufacturers include clauses in their terms and conditions that preclude the customer from repairing or even adjusting their equipment controls. What happened to being able to fix something with just a screwdriver? Not too many years ago, companies would print rebuilding information, such as alignment marks, on their product to make repairing or rebuilding faster and easier. Now you have to throw away the product because even if you could repair it, given the time required to do it wouldn’t make any sense. I’m not advocating going back to the good old days of crude, bulky equipment that needed constant attention, but manufacturers can make equipment much easier to troubleshoot and repair, if and when it is needed. How about using the display already on the equipment to show diagnostic information instead of requiring a separate tool and display to do it? Any sensor the computer uses can be tested by that computer and the problem identified on the existing display. How about using generic, widely available parts instead of costly, one-of-a-kind parts that must be shipped from Denmark, China, or some other faraway nation with lead times of months instead of days? One has to wonder just how much this drag of our time and resources is actually impacting the bottom line of our industrial complex in particular, and our country as a whole. Britt Britt Storkson may be contacted via e-mail to