How to Sell Multi Feature Drilling Rigs at Standard Costs

“We never shy away from a new design because that’s what keeps things interesting, and that’s how our company has grown. We’re constantly asking ourselves, ‘well what about this? Can it do this?’ And then we make it do that (laughs).”

That’s Callum Mee from Dando Drilling International. I’ve been speaking with Callum for the last couple weeks about Brexit, Dando’s evolution as a company, and their brand new MK 2 Dando Terrier.

Read part 1

Read part 2

Here’s the final piece of our interview.

Kelvin: Last week we were talking about keeping costs down on the new Terrier Mk 2 while also ensuring it’s capable of pretty much anything. How do you plan to accomplish that?

Callum: The new rig comes with the ability to add or subtract components as you see fit.

So as you can imagine, there’s a lot of thought when a customer purchases the rig because they have so many options. As a salesmen it makes the job more interesting. juggling the options. We were selling a lot of different rigs and the terrier was 14 years old, so we thought the 15 year mark was a good time to evolve and modify it with new technology and features. We’re bringing it into the current age with new components, technology, and abilities. We wanted to build a rig that gave us and our customers as much flexibility as possible.

And so the MK 2 was launched with several new key features, one of the coolest of which is the ability for the customers to retrofit it with other options down the road. Hydraulic stabilizing legs, the rig will already have that capability. SPT casing will be standard, lever casing – these are elements the customer can retrofit themselves in the field or wherever they are in the world. People can use the rig as is and they can add new things, so they can maximize their budgets and purchase new attachments as required.

I feel like, mix and match drilling rigs – I feel like this isn’t a standard way of doing things. Is Dando blazing a trail for other OEM’s?

I think it’s just the path we’ve taken; this is how we’ve responded to challenges in the field, these are the solutions we’ve come up with. We’ve always dealt with customers directly and maintained our flexibility. A lot of big companies will come up with the best product they can and feel it’s perfect and leave it. That works fine, but we’ve taken a different approach. Every customer is different. It’s a commercial tool. Jobs are different, applications are different. Having all those options available to us makes things easier for everyone.

The terrier will be more user friendly than ever. This is where things are going, so I suppose we’re being progressive. We want to make life easier. Little examples, there will be easy-to-follow decals and signage demonstrating components that could be added down the road, so you know where to go next. Sort of like a puzzle, but the original pieces include a diagram to finish the rest of the picture.

So the best kind of puzzle.

(Laughs) Yes, I suppose so. The terrier allows customization down the road after the initial purchase. Some people just want a stripped down drive system and they’re fine with that, but some want to get more out of it.

Our standard line has grown so much over the past decade, but the idea now is to build upon what we’ve got. The terriers, the multi tech rigs, we’ve got all these new models, new sizes, the IBEC slope climbing rig we’ve introduced in recent years – we’ve got everything we need for right now, and it’s the perfect time to really perfect what we’ve got.

Perfecting what you’ve already got can certainly take you a lot further into the future, right?

Right. There’s always changes and challenges to come, but as we come out of this period we want to be in the strongest position possible. And with the new terrier, so far so good.

The new Dando Terrier Mk 2 has something for everyone, and we’re proud to contribute to its success here at Viking. Thanks so much to Callum for the time.

Happy drilling everybody!

See all the awesome features of the Mk2 Dando Terrier.

Product Profile: The Flexibility of the Dando Terrier Mk 2

Last week we checked in with Callum Mee at Dando Drilling International to learn more about how the European Referendum was affecting business, although I’ll admit the interview was originally scheduled so we could talk about the Dando Terrier, the company’s new MK 2 drilling rig.

This will sound ironic at first, but stay with me: it’s always been fascinating reading and writing about companies barreling through a challenge. Did you know water buffalo that encounter a storm will turn into the dark clouds and rain instead of retreating in the opposite direction?

It’s because you’ll get through the worst of the storm when you confront it head on. The darkness is moving one way, so move through it to safety and sunshine on the other side.

There’s no way to know just yet how the European Union’s Brexit referendum will affect the longterm stability of business in western Europe, and indeed, throughout the world. Many companies in the drilling industry have been forced to ask tough questions and make difficult decisions long before the referendum passed, and now a complete new set of concerns has been born.

The good news it that Dando’s philosophy – flexibility and adaptation – has allowed for the impact of Brexit. It’s this creed that’s allowed Dando to thrive over the years, and led to rolling out a brand new Mark 2 Terrier rig that’s as flexible as ever.

Read last week’s interview with Callum.

Here’s the rest of our conversation.

Kelvin: Tell us about early versions of the Terrier, what was it built for?

Callum: We sold the first unit to a UK contractor and we agreed to build a second that we were going to test in house, but during the build we ended up selling the second one as well. Through working with the contractor and listening to their feedback we’ve made some cool improvements and adjustments to the second. While this was happening, Luke from our design team was hard at work on the updated design we’re going to use moving forward.

The MK Terrier 2 is available and has been thoroughly tested in the field with excellent results so we are now planning for production of high volumes so we can offer the units from stock.

What’s the process been like getting the MK 2 off the ground?

As the design process wraps up, we’re contemplating the right number to put into production right away so we can maximize production and maximize economy of scale. We sell a lot per annum and we obviously want to sell more, and we think the demand on this one will be huge. The terrier people want them quickly, sometimes in 2 to 4 weeks instead of your standard two to four months, so putting this many through will make the lives of our sales department a lot easier (laughs). It’s a win win situation, our margins get better and the cost is lower for the customer.

What are some of the upgraded features of the Dando Terrier MK 2?

First off, we wanted to improve simply how it looks. So new finishes and designs to improve that while also improving functionality. When I started at Dando ten years ago the rig was just for drive sampling and general investigation work. Over the last five years or so it evolved rapidly. It has a rotary attachment, different strokes, angle drilling capabilities – it’s evolved to include a whole range of different requirements and different setups.

However, just because one customer wants a certain feature doesn’t mean the next one will. So it was important for us to take that into account so we could keep costs low for everyone.

Next week in the final instalment of my interview with Callum we’ll learn exactly how Dando plans to control costs for customers looking for different features.

Want to learn more about the terrier? See all the specs here.

How the UK’s Dando Drilling is Dealing With a Turbulent 2016

Here at Viking West, it’s important to stay in touch with our friends and colleagues in the drilling industry. We’re the North American dealer for Dando Drilling and we’ve built a great working relationship with the guys across the pond in the last few years.

So, in the wake of the European Union’s referendum a few weeks back, we decided to check in with Callum Mee and the gang to see how things were going.

Kelvin: Brexit aside, how has business been for Dando in the first half of 2016?

Callum: It’s been quite busy, now that I think of it. Last week I was at the Hillhead Exhibition, which was interesting. I also recently attended a geotechnical show up in London as well, so it’s been busy in just the past month or so.

Overseas in the last six months has been busy as well. We’ve been exploring some potential contracts overseas as well as here in Europe and Asia. We normally work with two teams, one working with larger contracts and then another on the client relations, the smaller details. So that approach has led to some great conversations. Indonesia is busy, Sudan has come back online, there’s a lot of interest from Pakistan. The exports side has picked up considerably as confidence is re-established in global markets. Latin America is showing interest and strength as well. We have great representation in many countries in central and south America and our efforts are beginning to bear fruit.

Has the European referendum slowed things down for Dando?

It has had some impact in the UK but we expect this to be short term. Early in the year we got off the ground with some pace and there’s still a lot going on, we have a lot going through our workshop and some great leads that we expect to convert soon. We’ve been speaking to companies and contractors, some of the big companies are still busy, but a lot of that is due to the fact some of those companies are still expanding, so they’re busy in other areas in the industry. Overall the referendum has had little impact on us as most of our business is overseas. One positive side in the short term is that we have become more competitive as the pound has weakened.

That’s definitely good news. The global drilling community has been dealing with a worldwide recession, and then the referendum develops. It’s good to know that people are pushing through. What are some of the specific methods you’ve used to overcome these hurdles?

We really try to turn the focus back on ourselves, to internalize the challenges. We’ve had to adapt and make changes like everybody else. Our product range has grown over the last couple of years in line with market demands. People no longer have the cash to invest in large capital plans so they are looking for cheaper machines that have multifunctional capabilities to allow them to make their offering more diverse. This is an area where we have focused our efforts along with continued improvements of all our products. We’ve also made a number of changes internally with a view to streamlining processes in all departments which allows us to improve productivity and our competitiveness.

We believe that the recession presents choices and opportunities rather than problems – a time to reflect on our own operations as well as product range.

We have our own unique challenges, most of our success and growth comes from the export market. It’s important to get the best structure, the right people on board, and spend the right amount of time and effort in design. We believe the recession is loosening, so we want to take initiative now instead of waiting. The minimum market will come back online and we want to be well equipped when that happens.

At Viking we talk a lot about controlling what you can control in light of the turbulent price of oil. What advice do you have for companies or people feeling the pinch of the economy?

I think ultimately you need to concentrate on your strengths. At Dando, that’s always been our flexibility. We work with customers to build custom rigs. We’ve taken years of that experience and it’s really stronger now more than ever. We’ve made several rigs over the last few years from scratch and we’ve tried to build on that and make the process easier for us and easier for the customer. The modular design is a big part of that direction in which we’re headed. People can now swap out components easily, which makes their lives a lot easier. With both the sales team and the design team, it’s important to maximize our strengths to make sure we’re understanding and utilizing them efficiently.

Callum and the gang are always so great to talk to – what was intended as one post has grown as well. Check in next week to learn more about the specific improvements to Dando’s Mk 2 Terrier.

How to Build an Ironclad Reputation in the Drilling Industry

If we could sum up the state of the global drilling industry in 2016 with one word, what would it be? First, sticking to one word is asking a lot of a blogger, but if I have to choose then it’s really not that difficult.

Challenge.

Every day we’re challenged to create products that help our customers solve problems. It’s a worthy challenge to build new things, and it’s an even worthier (is that a word?) challenge to make new parts that don’t cost an arm and a leg; figuratively and literally speaking, of course.

However, through the challenges with which we’re faced on a daily basis, we’ve actually managed to not only maintain a solid reputation, we’ve actually improved our reputation in the eyes of our customers, our colleagues, and, yes, our competition.

There’s two areas we focus on when it comes to building our reputation in the drilling industry.

1. Customers

Real Examples of Good Work. Not to be confused with testimonials (we’ll get to that), above everything else, the best way to create and maintain a rock solid reputation is to help people. Do good work. Solve problems. One of today’s biggest challenges for OEM’s and drilling contractors is to get the job done within a strict budget, so if we can help facilitate that process with an attachment that doesn’t break the bank, then the customer is happy and word travels. Which brings us to…

Word of Mouth. Do a good job and people will talk. This is where your testimonials live – on the tongues of satisfied customers who will return to your shop in a heartbeat if they need something else. The drilling industry is about tangible work done in physical locations throughout the world, but a lot of the talk happens in the digital market. This is why when we’re looking for content for the blog, it’s not that hard to find!

Read more about Thoroughbred Engineering or Dando Drilling International.

The Little Things. Alright, full disclosure: the little things count for a lot regardless of the industry you call home. In our industry, it’s always nice to work with OEM’s, contractors, and large corporations that value honesty, transparency, and approachability. Most of our work happens as the result of simply asking questions and making unique requests. In fact, that’s how our partnership with Dando began.

2. Recruits

Fulfilling Atmosphere. The oil and gas industry has always experienced a large degree of turnover. New recruits are hired, they learn, they excel, and then they move on to roles with greater responsibility. And like customers, men and women working their way up through their career will talk about former employers whether their experience was positive or negative.

Professional Support. One way to attract and keep skilled workers is to provide professional support and a good work/life balance. Your market might require seasonal work, so there’s a busy season and a slow season. Even if you’re working in South America or a location without a fluctuating climate, it’s important to provide resources and certification to employees so they can improve and, ultimately, help the company improve.

Creative Encouragement. People do better work when they feel a sense of ownership. Building pride into your career is important for employees to stay engaged with the work and, in turn, better work is created. This means that sometimes people will need to take creative risks in order to achieve success. Foster this. Encourage ambition, even if it means you’ll end up losing your employee to larger roles.

Because once they’re there, they won’t forget where they came from.

Kevin Goes to England: Dando Drilling & the Other Side of the Pond

“It’s true, I feel like I’ve been all over the world lately, but there’s still so much to explore. That’s the beauty of this business, there’s hard working, smart people everywhere.”

That’s Kevin Reimer, one of Viking West’s vice presidents and an explorer at heart.

“Here at home we’re constantly looking for new ways to get better, whether it’s in the office or in the factory, so it makes sense that we’d seek those answers elsewhere, too.” Last month, Kevin had the opportunity to tour the facilities of Dando Drilling, our partners from the UK. I caught up with Kevin to hear about the trip.

Dando Drilling Head Office
Dando Drilling Head Office

Kelvin: Dando’s home base is in a town called Littlehampton in the West Sussex area. Here’s a softball question: what was it like?

Kevin: It was so cool, that’s my first thought. We were close to the ocean on the southern tip of England, about an hour and a half west of Dover. Dando put me up in this cool little town called Arundel which was a ten minute drive from their factory. It was in a really quaint, old village with a castle overlooking the entire village area, which was adjacent to the River Arun. I stayed in the Swan Hotel which was built in the 1600’s. Cobblestone streets. It’s like time had been standing still for centuries.

Dando_Factory_JPG

What were the Dando facilities like?

Their head office is actually in an old customs house on the edge of the river. When shipments came in via the river ages ago this was where they were processed. Their factory is about five minutes away on an old World War II runway called Ford Airfield which has been converted into an industrial park.

We had meetings at the head office and meetings at the factory. I got to see the new Terrier Mark 2. The Terrier has been re-designed and it’s even better now, it worked really well before but the improvements have really touched on a lot of important details. I love watching the progression of these machines.

I also got to see the Multitec 4000 series machine and the Multitec 9000 series machine in production at the factory, so it was neat to see the real meat and potatoes of the operation as the equipment takes shape.

That being said, and not to discredit the experience of the machines, but the really great part was spending time with the team over there. The sales team, engineering team, production; our industry is still about people, and it will always be about people making new things and sharing new solutions.

Arundel_JPG

Viking is a manufacturer of attachments, Dando is an original equipment and machine manufacturer. When it comes to values and goals, what do Viking and Dando have in common?

Both companies definitely want to provide innovative and cost effective products for the North American market., which as we all know throws new challenges at us constantly. We’re both focused on providing solutions. Viking works closely with customers and listens intently to find areas where were can assist them and be more competitive and reduce cost and Dando does the same thing. This is really why this partnership began. We think the same. Dando has always been great at thinking outside the box and coming up with clever drilling solutions. That’s why I contacted Rupert Coler, the sales engineer at Dando, four years ago and challenged him to create a new sonic rig that didn’t exist. Back then we worked together to develop this new machine and it was a great experience. So much so that here we are today with Viking and we’re taking our partnership to the next level. 

Having a pint at the pub beneath the shadow of an old castle?

(Laughs) Yes, exactly. We’re excited about the future with Dando and the new projects we have planned, but it’s great to get along so well and share a few laughs. That always makes the work a little more rewarding, right?

Right!

Viking & the Panama Canal: What It Means To Contribute to Projects All Over the World

When I sat down for an interview with Dando Drilling’s Rupert Coler a couple weeks back for an upcoming feature in National Driller Magazine, I had no way to know just how important the depth of our interview would end up being. It’s not like I was asking boring, stock questions, but at the same time, I had questions prepared that surely wouldn’t shock or turn the drilling industry on its ear. I figured we’d be talking strictly about the unique specifications of our SPT Auto Hammer and how it’s meshing with the Dando Multitec 4000 being put to work to widen the Panama Canal.

Just repeating that back, it does seem standard, right?

But as Rupert went into further detail about the client using the Multitec 4000 rig, the Universidad técnica de Panamá, it started to become obvious that this isn’t simply another drilling project.

This is a gigantic undertaking that’s literally changing the shape of the planet.

Helping The People on the Ground

Taking samples next to one of the country’s most important facilities, the University, demonstrates a reality we wrote about a while back – that drilling is about people first and the economy second. The widening of the canal and improvements made to its adjacent ports is about more than the increased amount of cargo that will be able to pass through, it’s about the people living in Panama that will immediately benefit from the improved infrastructure.

And because of the implications to nations that also depend on the viability of the canal, it’s about people all over the world who will be affected in some small way by this project.

And Viking West is playing a part in the development.

Improving an Icon: The Panama Canal

Looking at pictures of a Viking West attachment being used beneath the shadow of the Bridge of the Americas, I’ll admit – it’s a thrill. This project, which has been taking place for the better part of a decade, includes building a new set of locks on both the Pacific and Atlantic sides of the passage. The Panama Canal is one of history’s greatest industrial achievements, a project shared by, and argued over, by nations all over the world.

And it’s almost done.

The project includes building gigantic locks which allow even greater ships to pass through the country. Although Viking West has a relatively small part to play in the project, the fact our Auto Hammer is a key component in the process is undeniably a badge of honour.

Here’s a quote from Rupert from the upcoming National Driller article on the specifics of the Dando multipurpose rig being used:

“(3P Sociedad Limitada Ingenieria Civil) decided on the Multitec 4000 and we fitted Viking’s SPT hammer on our carriage system which allows us to do SPT and driven window and window-less sampling. There was some HQ wireline coring as well, so the rig needed to wear a lot of hats, so to speak.”

Contributing to a Global Economy

Life in the drilling industry involves some, should we say, non-exciting aspects. However, some of the least interesting components of a rig or a location are the most important. It’s the simplest pieces that hold the most important projects together.

There’s always more to a story, particularly one surrounding something as important as improving geological infrastructure on one of our planet’s greatest accomplishments to date.

In the end, we’re just happy to be part of improving it just a little further.

Stay tuned to our LinkedIn profile next month for our interview with Dando Drilling’s Rupert Coler.

Our Review of Groundwater Expo 2015

The National Groundwater Expo held in Las Vegas this past year was an excellent opportunity for the team here at Viking West not only to meet and interact with some of our industry’s most intelligent and creative influencers, but to do so alongside our new partners from Dando Drilling International.

It was Viking’s first chance to attend a conference with Dando, and to team up to spread a common message to the new people with whom we had the chance to speak.

I caught up with Kevin Reimer to talk about the conference and what it meant both for Viking West and Dando, but also the drilling and groundwater sectors as a whole.

Kelvin: Since this was your first experience at Groundwater, what were your first impressions when you arrived at the show?

Kevin: The first thing I noticed was simply the amount of people. It was packed, there were people everywhere. I figured there might be a dip in attendance because of the state of oil, but I learned later that attendance came out at roughly the same number as 2014.

What were some of your early conversations and interactions like?

People were definitely interested in our products. We’re sort of the newcomer on the block, so maybe there was a little bit of sizing up (laughs). Seriously though, we brought along our Scorpion™ Pipe Handler and the Double Clamp Wrench, so people were very interested in seeing the designs and were impressed with the quality of all the components as well as the finished products.

It was great to have Dando by our side, they had their tooling display up and the Dando Terrier, so together we brought people in the door right away, which was great to see.

What was some of the chatter about amongst all the attendees?

Actually, the big thing that surprised me was that no one was talking about the economy. It was refreshing. Obviously the economy is a key indicator of success, or at least a driving force for the industry, but for the most part people were more interested in what we can do as an industry instead of what we can’t. People want to talk about solutions instead of excuses right now, so it’s nice to know that the investment to travel to the show was worthwhile.


We made some great contacts with new companies, so we’re going to spend the next little while following up on those leads and talking with people to see if there’s a way we can help grow their business with our attachments.

Were there any surprises at Groundwater Expo?

You bet, welcome surprises. One of which, right now our Scorpion™ Pipe Handler is equipped to handle 10 foot rods, and a large company we spoke with asked if we could create one to manage lengths of 40 feet.

This is the awesome thing about shows like this, it gives us a chance to learn more about who’s out there and what we can do to contribute to their business. Which, really, is the entire basis upon which Viking West was built. Learn about the work and the client, communicate, design together and enjoy the savings in the end. I love talking shop with new potential clients, or just people in the industry, because you learn that everyone just wants to do good work and push the economy forward.

Another cool surprise was speaking with companies interested in becoming distributors. We weren’t sure what kind of response we’d get, we had a big sign and everything, but it paid off, there are people out there who want to carry our products, so it’s confirmation that our relatively new company is on a good path.

Was the show long enough?

(Laughs) No, I could have stayed in Vegas for a little while longer. Even for two days though it was great to present alongside Dando. They’ve been in business for 100 years and we’re partners now, so everyone knows them, and by proxy they’re getting to know us as well.

The set up was good, it was organized, there was lots of room despite the crowd, so I really have only good things to report.

Sounds like a solid trip! Congrats guys!

Interested in becoming a distributor for Viking West? Let’s talk.

A Preview of Viking West at Groundwater Expo 2015

The team at Viking West is eagerly anticipating the 2015 NGWA Groundwater Expo being held December 15 -17 in Las Vegas. It’s an exciting opportunity to meet intelligent contributors across various industries, and for Viking West, it’s an opportunity to demonstrate the features and benefits of a new line of smartly-designed attachments.

I caught up with Kevin Reimer, Viking West’s Vice President, to bend his ear about the conference, what it means for Viking and what it means for the drilling industry in general.

Kelvin Cech: Other than the weather in Vegas, what are you looking forward to the most at Groundwater Expo?

Kevin Reimer: This is our first opportunity to debut Viking’s product line to the public so that exposure is obviously something we’re looking forward to. To co-exhibit with Dando is really exciting as well and we’re looking forward to promoting that relationship to the public. (Viking West recently entered into a North American distributor partnership with Dando Drilling, read more).

This is our first trip to Groundwater in partnership with Dando we’re excited to get there and reconnect. For both sides of the pond, us in North America and Dando in the UK, it will be great to reconnect with past customers face to face and hopefully establish relationships with new clients as well.

It all moves pretty fast, these events are all about people visiting our booth, viewing our products, and asking general technical questions. Time goes by pretty fast when you’re talking shop and discussing how our products can help them. It’s all about educating clients on how Viking can help them improve their safety records, increase productivity and save money at the same time.

I’d imagine there’s a lot of research into how other companies are doing things as well, right?

Absolutely, it’s an opportunity for Viking to get a pulse on where the industry is at. Industry trends, new technology, innovations. It’s hard to just leave the booth for me, but our team will have the opportunity to slip away to see what other companies are doing. Because Viking is an attachment company, we don’t build complete machines so there are opportunities to help other rig builders. We can design special attachments or new tooling that could help another tooling company. It’s not just selling to a customer who drills every day. Most of Viking’s success to date is working with OEM’s and equipment dealers.

It’s a two way street. Some of the big drilling companies might have resources tied up developing other projects, but we might be able to point out a development where we can make their machine better, so it becomes an innovative product built exclusively for them. We’re on the same team because we’re not a drill rig manufacturer, we just make select hydraulic attachments, not the entire drill rig. The economy depends on people helping others, so most people don’t spend much time worrying about competition. For us at least, we just try to make products that help people.

What are the benefits from attending the Groundwater Expo, aside from exposure in the industry?

There are cool technical classes people can take as well. You can attend a presentation on a big range of drilling-related topics. You get the full spectrum of drillers to geologists, CEO’s, supply chain managers, and influential people in the industry. So I guess that comes back to exposure a little bit, but if you want to learn more about your industry then there are great ways to do it. A lot of the key decision makers attend these shows to get a feel for what’s coming.

What industries are represented at Groundwater 2015?

It’s great to see people from such a range of industries. There’s scientists and engineers, suppliers, distributors, and contractors, who make up the biggest portion. These are the people who are actually in the field running the equipment, the people we owe the most to when it comes to safety and productivity. The second largest portion is manufacturers. Environmental, geotechnical, groundwater, and water wells, everyone wants to improve their designs and push the economy forward.

What are some of the key messages made by Groundwater and other events of this sort – what is the conference trying to accomplish?

From our perspective, you learn a lot from people coming to the booth and they hopefully learn a lot from you. It gives you a good barometer on the industry and how you can keep improving designs every time you build a new product. Our entire business model is talking with clients and users and determining how we can work together to build attachments that are better than their predecessors, and I think that’s the message and the goal of this conference; constant improvement through communication and innovation.

Look, Viking can’t be successful if we build products that aren’t user friendly. It’s a partnership, if our customers are successful using our equipment then by association so are we. Not only do we get a condensed format at Groundwater to demonstrate that process on the floor, but Vegas is just a great place to be and to reconnect with colleagues in person at a fun venue. It’s always nice to mix work with fun, so we hope to see a lot of friendly faces in December.

Product Profile: Double Wrench Breakout Table

“We designed the Double Wrench Breakout table not only to a superior level of safety, but we wanted an easy to use product as well.”

That’s Kevin Reimer from Viking West Engineered Products. The Double Wrench Breakout table model DBW280 is a completely hands-free operation that provides safe makeup and breakout of tool joints.

Past profile: the Scorpion™ Pipe Handler

Safety Features

Human error is an unfortunate reality of the drilling industry, and truly, any industry involving heavy machinery and its attachments. The tendency of operating men and women in the field is to use their hands to solve problems. That’s why Viking West creates products where hands-on interaction isn’t only discouraged, it’s impossible.

The Double Wrench Breakout table prohibits the operator from making contact with rotating pipe. Before breakout tables were put into steady use in the drilling industry, it was common to break joints using manual tongs or hydraulically assisted tongs which required an operator to physically attach the tong to the pipe, and lever it to lock it in place.

“I’ve heard of those methods referred to as knuckle-bashers or wrist breakers,” says Kevin. “If you weren’t careful you could really hurt yourself. I’m happy we’ve come such a long way.”

Viking West’s Double Wrench Breakout features:

  • clamps and holds drill pipe while simultaneously clamping and breaking joints
  • doesn’t require use of top drive
  • takes the strain so the top drive is not subjected to those forces

The Design Process

“This particular breakout table was designed specifically for a project for Dando Drilling,” says Kevin. “They were looking for a breakout table that was lightweight, physically compact and met specific parameters for clamping and breaking force as well as clamping range and the diameter of pipes it could handle. And it had to be light-weight and be able to attach to Dando’s machine conveniently. It needed to be a quick installation for Dando. That’s how it started, but while we were designing it, we also wanted to design something with a broad client use, so this table can be used in a wide range of drilling applications with various rigs.”

Related: Viking West becomes North American Distributor for Dando Drilling

The Result: a Safe Way to be Productive

Breakout tables need to be powerful and compact while being installed easily and economically onto new machines. OEM’s and clients with rigs are looking for a simple addition to new or existing rigs, and when it comes to clamping and breaking drill rods, Viking’s Double Wrench Breakout table does it rapidly, safely and is ergonomically friendly.

Viking West’s tong dies, the hardened teeth that grip the pipe, are a simple design which makes them easy to remove and replace when they wear out. “We really studied this,” says Kevin. “A lot of manufacturers have overly complex mounts that requires added wrench work and they’re slow to to remove. Plus they’re expensive. The Double Wrench Breakout is a simple, durable, low-cost design that’s easy to replace when needed.”

Further Double Wrench Breakout Specifications

Ergonomically friendly:

1. all grease points are easily accessible for maintenance.

2. the breaking cylinder is integrated into the assembly (rather than having a breaking cylinder that has a tail mount that has to be welded to the mast, the Viking West model is totally integrated so there’s no additional labour required.

Main Features:

  • Completely hands free operation, providing optimum operator safety.
  • Speed up make-up & break-out of tool joints.
  • Structure is fully engineered using the latest finite element analysis (FEA) 3D software.
  • Breakout cylinder integrated into assembly. No separate mount to weld onto mast.
  • Handles large range of rod/casing diameters. Customized clamp sizes available to meet client requirements.
  • Custom mounts to suit any drill mast configuration.
  • Innovative clamp cylinder configuration, clean hose routing, vibration resistant ORB fittings.
  • Hardened tong die inserts designed to provide solid sure grip that won’t break the bank.
  • Innovative holder design for quick & easy tong die change outs.
  • Simple clean design. Less moving parts means less to maintain.
  • Smooth rotation via thrust bearing design with conveniently accessible lubrication grease points.
  • High quality material grades & hydraulic components.
  • Swing out Safety gates add structural strength and protection from pinch points.
  • Optional 3rd clamp assembly.
  • Quality Warranty & Full Product Support.  

Why Dando Drilling Chose Viking’s SPT Auto Hammers for their 4000 Series Drill

Last week I caught up with Callum Mee and Rupert Coler from Dando Drilling over in the UK. While it was early for me and late for them, the guys were more than happy to chat about their recent partnership with Viking West and to talk shop with regards to Viking’s SPT Auto Hammers.

Read last week’s post.

“The first consideration is that we have a long history with products that are 40 and 50 years old, products that have been in the field for a long time and need attention,” says Rupert. “And that says a lot about our track record, so this particular piece, the SPT Auto Hammer, we know it’s the perfect fit, literally. We’ve seen all kinds of attachments, and we’re excited to find something that will work so well.”

“These Auto Hammers give us the flexibility that our customers want,” says Callum. “Whether it’s new rotary heads or other custom products, we’re not scared of turning around large major rigs in a short time. Having producers like Viking West helps that.” 

How will Dando Use the SPT Auto Hammers?

We started out by fitting it onto our Multitec 4000 series drill and now we’re planning on fitting it to our Multitec 9000 series drill,” says Rupert.

The hinge mount set-up is specifically designed to suit each rig model. Viking engineers worked closely with Dando to supply a complete package ready for fast and convenient installation. Even though Viking West is based in Vancouver, B.C. about 4700 miles away, they are able to meet Dando’s landed cost target and support Dando with an inventory Kanban system so there is always hammers and spare parts on hand for when Dando needs them for the next rig build.

Watch the SPT Auto Hammer in action.

This drill utilizes our tooling line which allows us to take large samples relatively quickly and cheaply,” says Rupert. “It’s a versatile system, capable of augering, coring, hammer-drilling and all the typical methods. It really does cover all the bases, it’s a powerful machine.”

Why Will Customers Choose the Viking West/Dando Drill?

“Specifically, with the Viking West Auto Hammer the head travels so you don’t have to re-set every time,” says Callum. “Also, one of the great advantages is it makes the whole system less bulky. Before you’d have a massive piece of fabrication and now it’s a very compact, slick application.”

Traditional SPT hammers require movement to swing the piece into place with a rotary head, which was a laborious, time-consuming process. With Viking’s SPT Auto Hammer there’s no chasing, you can effortlessly pull the entire set-up straight out.

“These auto hammers help customers work more quickly without sacrificing quality or even safety. Companies can get more done in less time, too.”

3 Locations Using the Dando Multitec 4000 Series Drill

The Multitec 9000 drill is on the way, but some pretty important areas around the world are already using the 4000 series drill fitted with the Viking SPT Auto Hammer: Panama, Bolivia and Chile. Service to these areas will be improved even more with the 9000 version and Viking West’s SPT Auto Hammer attachment.

According to Callum and Rupert, flexible machines allow coring companies the ability to diversify or at least have the option to diversify in the future. “When it comes to geotechnical work,” says Callum, “customers want a flexible attachment that can do more than one job. Cost is a factor as well, so it pays to have flexible equipment that can tackle more projects”

Companies often buy rigs such as the Multitec 4000 for geotechnical purposes but use it for coring later on. When funds are scarce, as they are for pretty much every company working in drilling, forestry or oil and gas, the ability to accept more work in the future is a vital advantage when buying new equipment.

“Our client in Panama was buying the rig for mineral work and ended up using it for coring,” says Rupert. “The Viking SPT Auto Hammer is a small add-on but it opens the drilling contractor to a whole other industry.

“With the SPT Auto Hammers from Viking West, that process will become viable for more companies, and that’s something both us and the team at Viking West are proud of.”

SPT Auto Hammer Specs

140 lb (64 kg) drive weight, no cable or rope, multiple swing hinge mount options to suit your rig and fully enclosed for optimum safety.

Conforms to ASTM Standards D1586-99.