This paper describes the progress in upgrading the IADC dull code system. The IADC code is a compact, text-based way to describe the bit condition. The current PDC code was created in 1987 (Clark 1987) and revised in 1992 (Brandon et. al. 1992) along with roller cone bits (McGehee et. al. 1992) and more recently proposed for other cutting tools (Ulvedal et. al. 2011). It has held up well, however with the introduction of automated systems, machine learning, evolving products, and requirement for more detailed analysis, there is a substantial need to improve the system.

The key objectives are to: rework the IADC dull grading system to better support continuous improvement workflow, root cause analysis, reduce the subjectivity inherent in the current system, support human and emerging automated bit dull grading systems, and create a best practice for a digital storage format including searchable metadata.

Over 160 volunteer subject matter experts have been divided into four workgroups to focus on: 1) a qualitative classification scheme for PDC cutters, drill bits, and tools, 2) BHAs, motors, RSS tools, and stabilizers, 3) case studies, and 4) data definition, storage, retrieval, and exchange.

The bit and BHA sub groups are defining a standard set of examples and descriptions for each damage classification. They are gathering and labeling a set of photo examples for human training and machine learning. Once complete, the proposed codes will be sent out for an end user trial of the new system. Updated codes and best practices instructions will be created based on this feedback and submitted to the IADC for publication.

The Case Study group is collecting and documenting case studies for continuous improvement and forensics analysis to provide examples for the industry based on the input of a large group of industry and academic experts. Much of this work is presented in a companion paper. (Watson et. al. 2022)

Last, the required metadata needed to support this effort has been documented and examples of best practice storage methods for image and metadata are offered to the industry for voluntary adoption. This is the scope of workgroup 4.

This is the first major revision of the IADC dull code system in 35 years. It is taking into account changes in the data needed and available for continuous improvement, with a plan for future developments in photometrics, AI classification, and storage technologies. It is also the first joint industry attempt to document case studies and forensics workflow best practices.

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