By Justin Brown, Operations Manager, Schramm Australia
As ongoing market volatility and financing challenges continue to deter some Australian drilling contractors from ordering newbuild drilling rigs, rig owners are striving to keep their existing fleet up to specification and good working order. As a result, the aftermarket services business in Australia is booming. In fact, Schramm’s aftermarket revenue for the first half of 2020 has continued to increase year on year, and the company’s dedicated rig service center in Western Australia and Queensland has a machine upgrade and refurbishment order backlog stretching into 2021, a backlog that has not been seen in some time.
The Perth facility, which boasts 6,000 square meters of workshop space, is staffed by a talented in-house team of engineers and factory-trained technicians with a wide range of expertise. This permits Schramm to offer customers comprehensive purpose-built aftermarket solutions and a unified high standard of quality. While the majority of our competitors outsource work on rig electronics, for example, Schramm’s engineers design components and software in-house. Our clients can therefore count on the consistency of our work product.
Schramm is well known for its commitment to premier quality, and rig owners know it. Top drillers—including those who own rigs built by our competitors—are increasingly turning to Schramm for all manner of aftermarket services. Mitchell Services and Lucas are making use of our Brisbane facility for rig rebuilds and electric over hydraulic (EoH) control system upgrades. Another example is Easternwell Minerals has contracted Schramm to redesign, refurbish and manufacture componentry for their fleet of dual rotary drilling rigs.
When a rig requires service, however, we recognise that technical expertise and advanced quality control are not enough. Drillers also demand urgency, in order to minimise unprofitable non-productive time (NPT). To that end, we have vastly expanded our spare parts stock over the last year. This attention to inventory helps us shield our customers from delays caused by pandemic-related disruptions to the supply chain.
Speediness of service is especially valuable to rig owners based at remote worksites. Traditionally, part replacement on rigs in isolated areas has been a costly and time-consuming problem for drillers. In addition to waiting for new part delivery, the typical requirement for qualified technicians to be on-site for installation can be a notorious bottleneck.
Today, due to leaps in communications and computing technology, it is increasingly easy for Schramm to remotely troubleshoot problems, which can minimise delays caused by the need for a mechanic to be physically present. As an example, when a customer’s rig is taken offline due to electrical issues, our engineers are able to access the rig’s operating system remotely, diagnose the problem and provide repair support remotely. By eliminating the requirement for on-site diagnosis, significant time can be saved and the driller and his equipment can be up and running without further delays.
We are pleased to report that feedback from our aftermarket customers across Australia has been extremely positive, and we encourage customers to continue to communicate with us. We greatly value your comments, questions and concerns, as this information is key to continuous enhancement of our services. With your help, even in uncertain times, Schramm’s aftermarket services can help keep Australia drilling.