December 29, 2015
When business slows down, drilling contractors may have to lay-up some of their equipment. But when things pick up again, the equipment may no longer be “fit and ready” to take on new assignments. Here’s the best way to find out.
Mining contractor Small Mine Development of Battle Mountain, Nevada, USA, prefers to hold on to its drilling equipment rather than sell it when business is slow. This way, the company does not have to source new rigs when the work suddenly returns. In this respect, SMD is typical of many similar companies around the world. As Mike Schomer, SMD’s Maintenance Superintendent, puts it: “You can’t bid for jobs with equipment you don’t have.”
"The RigScan audit helps us get assets we already own to go back into service so much faster than waiting on a new rig delivery or sourcing a different one for remanufacture."
Two of the company’s Atlas Copco Boltec rock bolting rigs are a case in point. They had recently been standing idle on the surface, one of them for almost two years, after working 24/7 underground. But what repairs and maintenance did these rigs need at the time they were sidelined? How far had their performance fallen in relation to the manufacturer’s specification? And what had exposure to the Nevada summer sun and a severe winter done to their hoses, electrical components, mandatory safety labels and signage?
“If we had invested in bringing the rigs back to specification right away,” explains Schomer, “we would have allotted a good portion of our capital indefinitely to idle inventory. But we knew the industry would pick up again, so we were looking for the fastest way to get the rigs back into service condition as soon as potential new contracts appeared again.” The solution was a thorough audit of the rigs using RigScan technology. Schomer says: “The RigScan audit helps us get assets we already own to go back into service so much faster than waiting on a new rig delivery or sourcing a different one for remanufacture.” The audit was carried out by the Atlas Copco facility in Elko where Matt Roemmich, Underground Product Support Technician, explains: “The audit gives the customer a thorough OEM inspection. It identifies everything and will label each item as a critical safety or performance issue or a regulatory concern, all the way down to cosmetic items.