Oil prices have risen in the last few months, and though it’s still too soon to talk about a full-blown recovery, the oil and gas industry will continue to rise and expand. With it, the number of businesses and facilities that require industrial machining, whether for maintenance or repair, also increases.
However, oil and gas faces the the lack of skilled professionals who can respond to this need. Technology and manpower can help boost both production and quality. That’s why the machining projects of the oil and gas industry revolve around the following considerations.
Qualified and trained machine operators
Training inexperienced machine operators requires time and resources, both of which tend to be costly for many oil and gas companies. However, trained and skilled operators who are experts in CNC and various off and on-site machining functions are needed to getting the job done. One way to cope up with the demand is to seek the expertise of machine shops that have certified machine operators. This is especially helpful if the demand for workers is urgent and a company cannot afford to wait for new workers or for new workers to finish their training. With their extensive experience, such skilled operators are able to offer timely interventions to a wide range of oil & gas machining needs.
High accuracy parts
The oil and gas industry depends on pipelines and equipment that are buried deep underground. The further the drilling goes, the greater the pressure and weight is on the equipment. The implication is that fabricated parts must exude greater tolerance for these factors as well as high reliability. CNC machines that can ensure high meantime between failure and low mean time to repair are preferred. These are imperative to reducing downtime and the negative impact it has on productivity.
Given the nature of the oil and gas industry, it’s important for companies to not only ensure operators are well-informed about OSHA’s safety guidelines, but also that their existing machines have safety features to complement human knowledge.
Many machines also present the ability to clear operation history and parameters, and it’s always helpful to disable them when or if an inexperienced operator will be running the machine.
Modern CNC machines have specific features for locking out an operator when an error is committed or features that set a specific limit for human interference. Although this may reduce productivity, it also helps reduce human accidents and equipment breakdown, both of which are equally important considerations.
Back in the day, equipment operation was always left to highly skilled professionals. New parts always had to be tested by skilled machinists even if they were not intended for mass production.
With the advent of technology however, conversational programming is an increasingly popular option among oil and gas companies that deal with the lack of manpower and the need to enhance productivity. Inexperienced operators are able to use more equipment both online and offline using only the help of 3D animation and graphical prompts.
Thread repairs are much easier now with such machines. Whereas before, softened threads meant that certain parts will be discarded, nowadays, companies can simply send the threads to machine shops and have them reharden the pipes and make them reusable again – a more cost-effective approach.
All these have made managing equipment a lot easier and more convenient for modern operators – even inexperienced ones – and are certainly part of the evolving machining needs of the oil and gas industry.