The Economic Development Pulse Second Quarter 2016 - Page 7



In these instances, our lab will conduct a series of tests on the pipe metal to determine the cause and recommend a solution such as adjusting the amount of chemical treatment to prevent corrosion.

Mechanical issues can occur by human error or by the placement of equipment. Sucker rods are used in the mechanical assembly between surface and downhole components of a rod pumping system and designed to manage specific stress levels. Rods that are overstressed or inadvertently hit the pumps causing damage to the rod and compressed rods will either bend or break. The rod is first tested by analyzing the grain structure and matrix of rod metal to determine if the rod was built correctly before labeling the failure as a mechanical issue.

3. What is the process of load testing?

Many companies require annual load inspections and certifications to test the tensile strength, or the maximum stress that can be safely applied before equipment breaks, for cost purposes and for the safety of their employees.

Our lab uses a custom built vertical load machine that measures tensile loads up to 70,000 lbs. for durations up to 15 minutes. The lab commonly certifies sheaves (pulleys), chains and pump clamps to ensure the parts are at industry standards. On one occasion, the lab tested a sheave while the customer was on-site, and the sheave failed and fell directly on the ground during testing. Needless to say, the customer was thankful that the sheave failed in testing versus on the field where numerous employees could have been injured.

4. Does PB MetalLab service other industries outside of oil and gas?

When Hensley owned the business, the lab tested a variety of metals in diverse industries including pins used in bone surgeries for the medical industry. Since I’ve owned the business, we have tested metals used in the roofing industry as well as brake parts in the automotive industry.

5. What are some of the most memorable projects that you have worked on?

In addition to metallurgical testing and load certifications, our lab can certify products to assure the metal material is up to standard. Machine and welding shops will send their parts to get certified. Oftentimes, local companies will bring prototypes manufactured outside of the United States to test the metal composition from foreign made parts for quality control before ordering in bulk. The lab will analyze all metal components of the parts to ensure element levels meet standard specifications. Recently, I tested an oil industry plunger manufactured in China and determined that the carbon level was low, and I was able to make the recommendation to increase the carbon levels of the metal to the customer, to then recommend to the manufacturer.

With thousands of people working with large machinery and logistics everyday in the Odessa, Permian Basin MetalLab provides an invaluable service that reduces the amount of failures, personnel injuries and expensive repair costs.