Drilling Deeper: Beyond The Purchase Price

September 2013, Vol. 68 No. 9

The process of detailing the many less obvious factors that, collectively, play a role in cost, should begin by defining the wear items. Also, consideration for how drilling conditions will impact the condition of a drill over time will allow contractors to get a more accurate handle on service and maintenance costs over the drill’s lifetime. Then, securing service agreements that cover most maintenance and repair costs will be an important expense management tool that allows contractors to more accurately project expenses.

“Once the primary operational components of the drill – those most prone to wear – have been identified, owners can get a more accurate handle on what will be necessary to maintain the drill,” Van Soelen says. “Void of a dealer service/maintenance agreement, drill owners will need to estimate how much it will cost them to complete service and maintenance internally.”

Enhancing productivity, max value
According to Kevin Sebolt, trenchless new product testing coordinator for Vermeer, equipment manufacturers are continuously evaluating methods for monitoring peak operational performance.

“Just like anything, there’s a point where it gets to the age that technology bypasses it, or the hard components of the drill will wear out,” Sebolt says. “As time goes by, there will come a time when the resale value becomes diminished by cost of operation; when repair costs outpace productivity and efficiency. It is important to know when the life cycle of a drill is at its premium point; and when it’s time to replace it. The owner also needs to understand that when the drill peaks within its life cycle, anything after that point, the cost of operation may start to increase, simply due to wear and tear.”

There are several steps contractors and drill operators can take to enhance and preserve the residual value of a drill during the prime operating years; much of which can be accomplished simply by being diligent. When problems surface, HDD equipment experts like Van Soelen and Sebolt say it’s critical to get them taken care of right away.

“The longer service and maintenance issues are delayed, the greater the likelihood the drill will experience more serious, long-term problems,” says Van Soelen. “An effective way to avoid neglecting recommended service intervals is to secure a full blown service or maintenance package with your local dealer.