By GCR Tires & Service’s manager Kendall Hoffman and Scott Perschbacher, director of mining sales and operations
Picture it: the beauty of a West Texas sunset characterized by the outline of an oil rig sitting idle after a long day. Production hit its peak in October 2014 with more than 1,600 active rigs. Yet, six months later, only 350 rigs remained, as equipment and rigs sat idle in the hot sun.
The following year brought the downturn, while 2016 showcased concern and hope following an agreement of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to cut 1.2 million barrels per day from international oil production. Meanwhile, 2017 has shown industry resilience, as oil production has increased with more than 200 rigs added across the United States in the first quarter alone.
From cranes on well sites to construction equipment digging for pipelines and on/off-highway fleets, original equipment manufacturers and owner/operators are seeing an increase in demand for machinery. This means equipment operators in the service, construction, drilling and transportation industries must have their assets properly maintained and ready to operate at a moment’s notice, even after sitting idle for more than a year.
Often, we see companies try to “quick fix” their tire assets to get back up and running as soon as pent-up demand comes back online. This is short-term thinking. A proactive, future-focused mindset will be of greater benefit to their business and the businesses of their customers if they start preparing now.
Think about it this way, if a construction company is digging a pipeline for a multi-national company and a truck goes down due to a tire issue, the multinational’s bottom line is directly impacted. A proactive mindset, when it comes to maintaining tire assets, will largely help identify issues before halting operations.
At GCR Tires & Service, we focus on helping educate owner/operators and fleet customers on proactive tire maintenance in preparation for these types of upticks in demand.
Tire maintenance tips
1. Regularly check the inflation pressure of all tires on all equipment, and ensure inflation pressure is set according to the tire manufacturer’s guidelines, with respect to equipment guidelines for the specific application.
2. Perform a visual and hands-on inspection for damage such as cuts, cracks, bulges and penetrations.
3. Ensure current tire assets have sufficient, matching tread depth across each axle for construction equipment and check dual tires for mismatched tread on oil and gas drilling equipment and other mounted equipment.
We also recommend that original equipment manufacturers check the serial number of off-the-road (OTR) tires on idle equipment to ensure they have not aged beyond the tire manufacturer’s recommendations or warranties.
These recommendations sound simple, but they are often the most overlooked precautionary measures that can help equipment operators prepare for increased demand, ensuring equipment is ready to hit the ground running as oil and gas production increases.
A trusted partnership
In addition to following the above best practices, having a trusted dealer and service partner makes a big difference when it comes to maintaining, managing and servicing tire assets.
Dealers understand a good tire maintenance program is designed not only to address tires, but the customer’s needs and the site environment in which a tire must perform. By understanding the terrain and functionality required of each tire, operators and service providers can work together to create a tire maintenance program tailored to a company’s business objectives to help improve overall performance and productivity.
Success starts with the right preparation. Scheduling time with a trusted dealer who can inspect tires will ensure equipment always leaves the yard in the best condition possible. This is a best practice that can prevent costly downtime and enhance productivity.