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Otto Fuchs eyes aluminum drill pipe market

German forging, extrusion and ring rolling company Otto Fuchs KG is partnering with TPS Technitube R?hrenwerke GmbH (TPS) to enter the aluminum drill pipe market.

"Based on some very special extrusion technologies, Otto Fuchs is able to produce high-strength seamless tubes with very special dimensional features, which enable us°™together with our partner company, Technitube°™to produce aluminum drill pipes," Bernd Velten, head of technical sales and marketing at Otto Fuchs, told AMM on the sidelines of this week's Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston.

 Velten noted that aluminum pipes have some considerable advantages over conventional carbon steel. "The major advantage, of course, is the lower weight of the pipe, which allows the user of it to drill deeper (and) handle longer pipes with existing equipment. Also, for directive (drilling), the higher elasticity of aluminum offers considerable advantages," Velten said.

 The company is initially focusing on the Asian, Russian and American markets where aluminum drill pipe has already found some acceptance. Otto Fuchs has seen little interest in Europe so far, Velten said.

 The Meinerzhagen, Germany-based company is manufacturing the alloys and providing the extrusions for the pipes, which will primarily use 2000- and 7000-series aluminum. Meanwhile, Daun, Germany-based TPS will be responsible for threading and finishing, Velten said.

 Otto Fuchs' experience with strict quality rules and regulations in making aluminum alloys and extrusions for the aircraft industry should serve it well in the drill pipe market, according to Velten. "The same (quality) philosophy is required in ... drilling technology," he said.

 Otto Fuchs' extrusion technology allows for varying thicknesses throughout a tube, making it possible to increase wall thickness at the ends for easier threading, he said. The technology also allows Otto Fuchs to extrude pipes with a flange at the end, eliminating the need to bolt on or weld a flange, Velten said.