Shale shakers separate solids from liquids by utilizing a vibrating basket, which is outfitted with specially designed and sized screens. Shakers are considered the most important tool for removing drilled solids. These units remove the majority of drilled solids generated during the typical drilling process. Shale shakers typically generate between five to over eight G-forces of energy for removing solids from the mud system.
The choice of shale shaker screen is critical to successful removal of solid materials. The size of the holes on the screen should be matched to the size of the rock being extracted from each bore hole. It is also important to choose corrosion-resistant screen materials like galvanized steel to hold up against the extreme conditions on a drilling site. Many projects include multiple shale shakers so that the drilling mud must pass through several layers of cleaning and refinement.
Shakers are positioned after the mud/gas separator and gumbo equipment (if utilized) and before any other solids removal equipment. Rigs may employ any number of shale shakers, depending on the specific drilling parameters of the well. Typically, several shakers are utilized for normal drilling operations. Additional shakers are added in response to a specific well program.