Skip to main content


Field-proven onshore drilling technology

The Herrenknecht Vertical onshore rig portfolio comprises drilling rigs in the hook load range of 170 metric tons (185 short tons) to 750 metric tons (825 short tons) and based on two hoisting concepts: 

Combined with various types of masts and substructures we offer a large onshore rig portfolio, adaptable for different applications. This enables efficient drilling operations in both remote regions and highly built-up areas, for either quick, standardized wells with frequent rig moves or for longer-lasting complex deep drilling such as ERD wells.

The Herrenknecht Vertical rigs and their core components, such as the hoisting system, top drive and pipe handler, are based on a hydraulic drive concept. A central hydraulic power unit (HPU) distributes the hydraulic power to the respective component depending on the capacity required. This allows for a reduction in total installed power and provides a high level of redundancy.

A key aspect of the design is the comprehensive energy management concept. It aims to lower energy consumption, increases operational lifetime and enables online maintenance of the HPU. Another advantage of the central hydraulic drive instead of individual electric motors are reduced noise emissions, especially at exposed positions such as the top drive. Herrenknecht Vertical rigs are therefore among the quietest rigs on the market, making them viable for use in or near conservation and urban areas.


Our hydraulic cylinder rigs are available with hook loads of 250 metric tons (275 short tons) to 750 metric tons (825 short tons). 

Substructure and mast concepts

The cylinder rigs are available with mast stroke for super singles or doubles. The mast can be designed telescopically or statically. Depending on the local requirements, the rigs are built with a self-erecting hydraulic slingshot or a containerized box-on-box substructure.

Characteristics of self-erecting slingshot substructure and telescopic mast:

  • assembly in horizontal position with minimum footprint
  • reduced crane capacities required
  • hydraulic cylinder erection system for mast and substructure
  • superior in remote areas where large cranes are unavailable or heavy machinery cannot reach the wellsite due to poor infrastructure

Characteristics of containerized box-on-box substructure: 

  • compact layout due to the main components being arranged in substructure containers 
  • efficient noise protection due to noise-insulated containers
  • fast rig-up with minimized footprint due to vertically assembled mast
  • superior in preserved or densely populated areas, for example in geothermal energy projects

Hydraulic cylinder hoisting system

Compared to conventional drawworks, the direct-acting hydraulic cylinder hoisting system of Herrenknecht Vertical rigs gives a direct feedback of the downhole conditions. This enables the driller to identify potential stuck pipe incidents and to better control the weight on bit (WOB).

Benefits of the cylinder hoisting system:

  • dampening effect of the cylinders prevents top drive damage and minimizes maintenance costs
  • capability of pushing the drill string adds weight on the bit and prevents stuck pipe or casing
  • very slim timbered mast due to direct distribution of the hook load into the substructure
  • reduced exposure to winds allows for continued operations in harsh environmental conditions 

Horizontal to vertical pipe handling

No pipe is stored vertically at the mast of a Herrenknecht Vertical rig, reducing the load in height and eliminating a major source of noise. Tubulars are stored and prepared at ground level. Different pipe rack automation levels are possible, from manual handling to a mechanized racking system consisting of pipe boxes and a gantry crane. The horizontal catwalk provides the tubulars to the horizontal-to-vertical pipe handler that transfers the tubular doubles to the well center.

The pipe handler is equipped with grippers, which can handle all kinds of tubulars including HWDPs and casing up to 4.5 metric tons (5.0 short tons) and 24 1/2 inch diameter. In addition to the drilling and tripping process being fully hands-off, also casing can be run safely by the drilling crew without losing time, for example to change the grippers.

The hands-off pipe handling allows for the elimination of work in hazardous areas, improving safety significantly. The position of the derrick man is eliminated and during standard operations, no manual intervention is required at the rig floor.

Rig moving systems

Skidding and stepping systems for moving the rig in one or two directions are available. This allows for efficient pad drilling or drilling of geothermal doublets. The horizontal pipe rack stays in place when using the telescopic catwalk, which transfers the drill pipes to the handover position of the pipe handler over a distance of up to 10 meters. Extension lines can be included in a specialized cable container with drag chain, enabling the rig to be moved without any disconnection of the backyard for immediate spud-in on the next well.


The rack and pinion (RP) rigs include all advantages of the automated, hydraulic rig concept combined with a robust, modular rack and pinion hoisting system. The super singles rig is available with hook loads from 150 metric tons (175 short tons) to 250 metric tons (275 short tons). It was developed especially for projects where the rig move is a critical part of operation due to poor local infrastructure. Therefore, the trailerized design comprises smaller and lighter components.

Characteristics of the rack and pinion rig:

  • fully self-erecting
  • craneless rig-up with only a heavy forklift
  • super singles mast separable into three segments for short transport units
  • mast base with integrated trailer including mast erection cylinder
  • rig floor with driller's cabin is self-erecting via a slingshot mechanism
  • main components (rotary table, iron roughneck, top drive) permanently fixed to the mast, staying “on board” for transportation
  • backyard components fully trailerized and easily moveable by standard oilfield trucks

Adaptable hands-off pipe handling

The rack and pinion rig comes with a space-saving, vertical cassette-type pipe rack next to the rig. It is equipped with a two-stage pipe handling system between the vertical racking boxes and the well center. Placing the pipe rack on the ground reduces the rig surface pressure and the load in height, allowing for a lighter mast and substructure. Non-standard drill string components are handled via the power catwalk in front of the rig.

The rig can also be operated without the vertical pipe rack system, for example when standardized wells do not require frequent tripping. In this case the rig can be provided with tubulars only via the power catwalk.


A Herrenknecht Vertical strength is producing customized rig solutions for special applications. One example is the hydraulic test rig for Shell’s R&D center in the Netherlands. The combination of a fully capable drilling rig placed stationary in a research environment enables the testing of new drilling and completion equipment and procedures under standardized conditions.

The rig’s high safety and minimized noise made it possible to place the rig directly in the R&D lab’s backyard.

Related Content










Send us a message.