The last few years have been a difficult time for the U.S. construction and aggregates industries, with drilling being hit every bit as hard as any other sector of the industry.
However, one contractor, located in south Oklahoma, has seen his business continue to grow over the last eight years. Billy White, president of Okie Drilling, sees the reason for his continued business growth, while others have suffered, due to the willingness of his workers to go that “extra yard” for customers combined with the service and products he receives from Sandvik Rock Tools & Drilling.
Based in Stigler, Okla., Okie Drilling Co. Inc. was established in 2003 by Billy and Gary White. With more than 40 years combined drilling industry experience the White brothers have garnered drilling know-how that they, and their customers, consider to be second to none. With a flexible fleet of drills and rigs, combined with the White’s unprecedented industry experience, enables them to tackle projects of a truly diverse nature, meaning that no job is too big or too small.
Although Okie Drilling possesses an inherent flexibility that enables the company to undertake a diverse variety of drilling projects, the core of the business is drilling for quarry operations and state road projects.
The cornerstones of Okie’s success in meeting the requirements of these demanding sectors, yet at the same time ensuring the flexibility to tackle other projects, is in Billy White’s view, down to the employees of Okie Drilling and the support the company receives from Sandvik Construction.
Billy is the first to praise his employees for going above and beyond for their customers, and their ability to get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible. This attitude of such a successful businessman is enlightening, and reveals that the human element of any business is key to its success.
However, it is not only Billy’s employees who receive credit, but also the sales and aftermarket personnel from Sandvik Construction’s Rock Tools and Drilling operations.
From their first meeting Billy has been impressed by the attitude of Sandvik personnel, whether they are from the drill or tooling side of the business. Everyone he has encountered has been professional, and this has allowed the forging of a relationship that has enabled both companies to work together as a team in order to satisfy the requirements of Okie’s diverse customer base.
It has not been purely the professional and friendly service that has impressed Billy White and everyone at Okie Drilling; Billy also gives special credit to the Sandvik RH550 series hammers that the company has been extensively using.
“The hammers are the fastest and most reliable available; over the past years we have tried most competitive products, but Sandvik always comes out on top,” he said.
Reinforcing Billy’s view is the fact that Okie has often been contracted to complete jobs started by another contractor who was not using the Sandvik RH550 hammers; when production rates were compared it was found that Okie was delivering a staggering 80 percent higher rate of production than the previous contractor.
Billy has no doubt that a major reason for this improved productivity is down to “the drill and bit selection of the RH550 series hammers, with the convex ballistic bits giving unbeatable penetration rates and life,” he said.
The RH550 series of hammers is part of Sandvik’s extensive range of tools for down-the-hole (DTH) drilling, with the range including hammers, drill bits and tool systems for simultaneous drilling and casing through difficult overburden. They combine advanced materials technology with skillful design focusing on performance, simplicity and endurance, whilst additionally providing customers with high productivity, greater reliability and low operating costs.
Additionally, the DTH hammers and drill bits are designed to work together in perfect unison in order to ensure that users experience the very highest penetration rates, long service life and low operating costs.
The genuine benefits customers enjoy from the RH550 series hammers and bits are the result of Sandvik’s world-leading experience in providing customers with solutions that optimize impact energy transmission into the rock. With no foot valve, a reversible casing and very few parts, they are reliable, easy to service and fast.
Furthermore, Sandvik drill bits incorporate proprietary Sandvik steel and the cemented carbide, with each bit being uniquely designed to maximize penetration and increase flushing. For further flexibility bits are available in a wide range of configurations and in sizes ranging from 90 mm (3-1/2 in.) to 445 mm (17-1/2 in.).
One vital feature of the Sandvik RH550 hammers that has not been mentioned previously is the contribution they have made to improving Okie’s bottom line. As Billy White said, “I’m now paying $3.20 per gallon for diesel fuel and many of the drills use 25 gallons per hour, or almost $800 per day for fuel. The extra performance from the Sandvik hammers means we can save up to $320 per day just in fuel.” If you multiply this by the large number of drills Okie owns and operates over a year, then the savings prove to be highly significant.
Okie Drilling, and its use of Sandvik RH550 hammers and bits, is a perfect example showing what a modern company can achieve through the use of the right equipment, combined with the proper management of employees, and enhanced customer service from the manufacturer.
These factors have enabled Okie to grow during very difficult times, deliver impressive results for its very demanding customer base, and at the same time improve the business’s own profitability.