UCT Exhibitor Spotlight: Kem-Tron’s About Face

By Erin Nelsen, Online Editor | September 2010 Vol. 65 No. 9
A worker welds parts of a prototype hydraulic mud mixing machine at Kem-Tron's headquarters in Houston, TX.

That memorable brand, Anderson says, is “solution-driven mobility—integrated mud-recycling units on the move, with all systems integrated.”

A view of Kem-Tron's onsite machine shop, including a nearly finished mobile mud recyclying unit to the left.

In the company’s on-site machine shop, Anderson points out a gigantic red-and-white HDD mud recycling system, nearly finished and bound for the Bakken Shale in North Dakota. “That integrates all the systems you need, and it’s skid-loaded,” so it can go where the jobs are. Other mammoth systems in the shop are ready to be mounted on the back of an 18-wheeler for easy road transport. Most are electric, but the company is close to ready to begin testing another option: “At UCT this year we hope to display our first fully hydraulically operated mud recycling system—a fully integrated, mobile hydraulic system.” Parts of the prototype are at the welding stations as we speak, and Anderson says the target for getting all the pieces together is Oct. 15. “After that, we’ll spend a month troubleshooting before placing it in the field for testing. We hope to get enough mileage on it by UCT to really have all the bugs worked out.”

Filling The Gaps
The push for the hydraulic option dovetails with another characteristic of the new Kem-Tron: R&D. Research and development is a budget item on Kem-Tron’s balance sheets for the first time in five years in 2010. “R&D is something we probably let coast over the last few years, and now we’re making up for lost time. This year, $1.2 million of our profits is devoted to new technology. We have eight full-time engineers now working in production and R&D.” Although the tax cuts on R&D spending currently under discussion in Washington are no more than a happy coincidence, Anderson welcomes any encouragement to throw more resources toward development. It’s a crucial part of the third step of his plan for Kem-Tron.

With markets and core competencies identified and the integrated mobile market the company’s focus, the next step is to find and fill gaps in that marketplace with new products and innovations. “If we end up not making a cent at the end of the year, if it all goes to R&D, and employees, and our name brand, that’s fine with me.”