WPI’s focus enables customers to meet ESG goals

28 November 2022

WPI has six major overhaul centers in North America. Shown here, its facility in Houston, Texas, USA (Photo: WPI.)

Know your customers and what they value is a common refrain in almost any business. Waukesha Pearce Industries has applied that adage to its oil and gas customers who remain increasingly focused on ESG goals.

“We are aligning ourselves with suppliers that are as conscious about ESG as we are,” said Steve Iwersen, director of sales &marketing at WPI. “We are also talking to our customers about how we can help them meet their ESG goals and how we can make ourselves more ESG friendly.”

The company has been servicing engines used in gas compression, drilling rigs and power generation since 1924 and has noticed an ongoing interest among oil and gas operators about how best to improve ESG records.

Some factors have held constant in the engine compression business. One, for example, is the ongoing interest in the evolution of compressor electronics. Oil and gas operators have wanted the latest in electronic technology on their assets. That interest has transferred to electronic gauges that enable remote monitoring of assets.

“That technology allows them to manage equipment from an I-phone or a desktop computer,” he said.

The remote monitoring technology also enables predictive maintenance, which allows service companies like WPI to dispatch manpower with the right repair equipment to the location before a failure occurs.

The company is a Waukesha distributor but is brand agnostic and can work on Caterpillar engines as well. Servicing engines is an essential component of an ESG strategy because it allows a company to rebuild rather than simply buy a new unit. “We save a lot of weight, a lot of iron, aluminum and steel that would otherwise have to be replaced,” he said.

An existing engine that has a field life of as much as 20 years can be rebuilt and serve for another five years before it is serviced again.

A full rebuild for a 1400 hp engine that runs at 1200 to 1400 rpm can take four to five weeks to disassemble, clean, inspect, rebuild and then reassemble. WPI puts the unit on a dynometer and tests it under load for several hours to detect any potential issues before it is shipped back to the field.

Operators who do not have compression redundancy on site can temporarily lease replacement units from WPI while their own packages are under service. WPI has the largest fleet of exchange engines in the U.S. and can replace any engine while it rebuilds an existing one.

In addition to a full rebuild, the company can do in-frame overhauls in the field for any unit that does not need a crankshaft removal or any machine work on the engine block. That service takes about four days from start to finish, Iwersen said.

In addition to in-the-field and in-house rebuilds, WPI can help customers meet ESG goals with emissions testing services. The company has several customers who have asked them to do emissions testing. It sends certified technicians with mobile testing units the size of a suitcase that enable them to measure carbon monoxide, oxygen and NOx emissions from units operating in the field.

The field service requires a technician to go out to the unit, place a hose down the stack to monitor the emissions for about an hour. WPI technicians can help a customer troubleshoot an issue if it finds any anomalies in the emissions. If, for example, there is a high amount of oxygen in an exhaust stream, WPI can troubleshoot the combustion process, he said.

The company can also repower an engine, a process that boosts horsepower of some existing engines and eliminates the need to replace them in some cases. For a Waukesha VHP 5794 engine, for example, WPI can expand the bore of the cylinder and boost horsepower for the unit.

WPI has six major overhaul centers in North America: Houston; Oklahoma City, Bloomfield, NM; Odessa, Texas; Broussard, LA; Bentleyville, PA and two in Canada. It also has a larger number of distribution centers that can get replacement parts to customers operating in virtually every major basin.

“Our footprint is huge. We try to have a facility in every major operating shale plays,” Iwersen said.

The company has more than 800 employees, about 50% of which are focused on services for oil and gas customers. It is also a distributor for Generac for industrial units in Texas. The company also supports both standby and prime power for Waukesha power generation units.

“We can put a Waukesha engine on location to power a gas plant, if need be,” he said.

As a privately held company with a forward-looking supply chain group, WPI has not experienced any significant supply chain issues that has affected multiple industries over the last two years. It keeps the largest inventory of Waukesha parts in the world and has the largest inventory of Ariel spare parts in the U.S., which has also helped.

“We’ve been pretty fortunate,” Iwersen said.

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