Drilling in WA has bounced back strongly post-pandemic. As a new year rolls around, the industry continues to see increased demand. The strong market has bolstered existing drilling companies and seen the emergence of new, smaller companies.
With drilling operations in remote Australia functioning under some of the world’s toughest conditions, durability and simplicity is key, when it comes to equipment and serviceability. Sullair has been at the forefront in the supply of high pressure compressed air solutions to drilling manufacturers. “It’s one of the few markets that’s really picking up at the moment and the amount of new drill rigs being made means they have to be supported with ancillary compressors”. Gareth Spencer is Sullair’s Regional Sales Manager for WA, SA and the NT. “We supply compressors to drill rig manufacturers and ancillary compressors to the end-user, who are drilling larger and deeper holes than ever before.”
Those who’ve been in the industry a long time know Sullair and what the brand brings to the market. As one of the largest designers and manufacturers of compressors globally, they are renowned for delivering durable and reliable compressed air solutions. With a majority of the drilling occurring in remote and harsh environments, equipment failure is not an option. “Every hour they’re down can cost tens of thousands of dollars,” explains Spencer. “When they’re out in such remote environments and working in ambient temperatures well above 40 degrees, Sullair compressors continue to provide reliability”.
For products operating in these remote environments Sullair’s objective is to deliver the highest level of reliability with operational simplicity. This feedback has been heard time and again by Gareth Spencer.
“Our competitors have spent a lot of money developing the electronics side of the business – better switching, quicker activation, more accurate measuring. But when you’re in no man’s land, you don’t want a compressor that isn’t operational due to an electronic overload or an unnecessary feature”.
The simplistic design approach of the Sullair controller is its superpower. “It’s a simple controller with analogue gauges and no digital elements”. Julian Forte is a sales engineer with Sullair in WA. “A driller or a driller’s offsider will prioritise reliability and simplicity of operation every time. They don’t need to deal with complicated buttons and programming.” The distinction lies in whether the solution is super-fast and efficient, but useless when a tiny thing goes wrong; or unfailingly reliable in that it does the same thing, over and over again for a very long time.
This reliability is a fundamental priority consistently identified by owner operators of Sullair equipment. The gear itself is preceded by its reputation, however the bundled package of support and service that comes with any Sullair purchase almost always exceeds expectations. Especially for those prioritising the lifetime cost of ownership as an investment, rather than an expense. Forte explains, “after you purchase the machine, particularly these large machines, there is very little that you have to spend to keep them going besides general servicing”. Outlay costs may be more than if purchasing from a competitor, but because Sullair equipment is designed for durability, servicing costs will always be lower – not to mention less chance of the gear being replaced just a few years later. “The lifetime cost benefits are significant – and much more cost-effective than competitors equipment – which may be cheaper to buy, but more expensive to service and probably wouldn’t last as long.”
Sullair, a Hitachi Group Company, has a strong and respected reputation in the Australian mining industry, and the support provided to customers in even the remotest parts of the country is the company’s unique point of difference. “The reliability of the Sullair Hitachi brand brings customers back”, says Spencer. “We’ve got customers with compressors that are 20 years old, now starting to look at renewing because they work these things really hard and they know what they get when they buy one.”