By Sullair Australia
What are the options if an air end needs to be repaired, or even entirely replaced?
Given the high-level initial investment in such a crucial piece of equipment, getting as much life out of your air end as possible is essential. In the drilling industry in particular, the drill kit is huge. The more pressure required the more work it does. It’s a heavy piece of kit that does some high-level grunt work. As we know, different compressors are geared differently as the flow and pressure required differs from one rig to another. Air ends are really put to the test in mining and construction, especially in remote parts of Australia where the conditions can be extremely harsh. This is why a timely and effective solution for a malfunctioning air end is essential.
With so much in the balance, deciding whether an air end is at the end of its life can be a challenging decision to make, with the capital outlay for a new air end so much greater than that of a refurbishment or exchange. There’s no need to agonise over a decision like this alone however as this is exactly what we do at the Sullair air end centres. Sullair currently has 4 air end centres nationally, in Melbourne, Mackay, Newcastle and Perth. Each centre is staffed with factory-trained service technicians and equipped with the latest tools and diagnostic equipment.
How does it work?
Air ends come to our centres from all over Australia to be refurbished, rebuilt, or exchanged with a unit of the same specifications. Usually, a unit will be behaving strangely in the field, so a customer will flag it with their Sullair technician, who can quickly determine if the air end needs to be sent to the air end centre for assessment.
On arrival at the air end centre, our technicians will take the air end apart, assess its condition, then advise the customer of next steps including the costs and lead time involved. If the customer approves the repair job, our techs will then replace any damaged parts or components such as bearings and seals. They will then reassemble the air end and test it. If all is in good working order it will be returned to the customer ready to be recommissioned into their workflow.
The air end exchange service
In the event that this simple repair process is not enough, a different conversation will happen. Faulty air ends that can be given new life come through the air end exchange service, are rebuilt, and reconditioned then held on the shelf in our air end centres ready for future exchange for a customer in need.
The exchange service is usually used in the following scenarios:
- repair of a faulty air end may take a longer amount of time than a customer has available
- they may have intention to upgrade to a new air end in the near future, so making an investment in a replacement can be a better choice than paying for a short-term repair.
The Sullair air end exchange service enables customers to exchange their faulty air end for an existing refurbished unit, giving them a customised solution that meets their immediate need and budget.
The factory trained technicians at each of our air end centres are all referencing factory drawings of air ends and all the tolerances and components they’re using are as approved. In fact, when they are finished with an air end, it’s reasonable to say it will be in as good, or better condition than when it originally left the factory.
“For some customers it’s cheaper to refurbish than exchange, yet for others time is more critical than money so exchange is the quicker solution for them.” Steve Cowburn is Sullair’s General Manager of Customer Service. “One of the advantages is the Sullair air end centre can basically maintain air ends that are 10, 20, up to 30 years old. Whether they’re a big operator that has to deal with 1 or 2 air ends a month or a smaller operator who brings in 1 every 3 – 5 years, we can get the right solution in place for them as quickly as possible.
You may not know about us until your technician connects you to us, but we are here to help you make the right decisions about your air ends and provide the best solution customised to your needs and budget.
If you would like more information, please contact your local branch.