A MARKET PROBLEM SOLVED: WIND TURBINE OIL CHANGES
For over 50 years SOO Foundry, located in Canada, has earned a reputation for quality, dependable service and innovative approaches to unique problems within the fabrication, machinery, and the hydraulic millwrighting industries. However, it was only five short years ago when Robert Cohen, SOO Foundry President, began to notice the wind energy industry had many needs in the marketplace that were not being met especially concerning wind turbine oil changes.
“We discovered a need for wind tower maintenance providers and quality oil changes as towers were getting older across North America,” Cohen said. SOO then began its search to purchase gearbox equipment to perform wind turbine oil changes with flush capabilities.
Enter Sage Oil Vac.
“Ivan Brlecic (SOO Operations Manager) did some research and quickly discovered that the leader in that field was Sage Oil Vac,” Cohen said. Even though the SOO Foundry and Sage Oil Vac businesses were located thousands of miles apart, Brlecic made a call that would ultimately launch a flourishing business relationship.
“It quickly became apparent that Sage Oil Vac was not only the leader in the wind energy gearbox oil change industry but that they had a very proactive approach to it,” Cohen explained. “They really recommended that we not look at an oil change as just an oil change. They wanted to make sure we knew where we wanted to go in the future with our business and that that was offering the best service to the customers.”
The solution: efficient wind turbine oil changes
Once they knew Sage Oil Vac could create an efficient method to manage wind turbine oil changes, SOO purchased the Sage Oil Vac Gear Oil Exchange System (GOEX) which features four tank units to hold used oil, fresh oil, flush fluid and rinse fluid.
“The deal was, Sage Oil Vac would come up here and train our people to use the equipment for the first three wind turbine oil changes in the tower gearbox,” explained Rick Oliver, SOO Field Manager. “I learned a lot from them in our trainings and the business relationship just grew from there. We’ve had really strong support from them.”
Cohen says the gearbox is like the heart of the wind tower and he considered that comparison when it came time to invest company money into new equipment.
“Why not spend a little bit more money to have the best equipment out there, do the best job and get the best results in an oil change for your customer? It’s just common sense,” Cohen said.
“It was not just about selling a piece of equipment and walking away,” Cohen continued. “The Sage Oil Vac consultant was not going to leave until he felt absolutely comfortable that we could operate the equipment.” The SOO team has changed the oil on 126 towers successfully in the last two years. The company personally owns two Sage Oil Vac GOEX machines.
Originally the SOO team was only looking to rent Sage Oil Vac equipment, but with no dealerships operating in Canada at the time, they opted to purchase the systems instead. The transaction also led to SOO becoming the only Sage Oil Vac representative outlet in Canada. Talk about service after the sale.
“There is so much opportunity to grow,” Oliver said. “We’ve got people working in Alberta, people working in Ontario and we’re still looking to expand.”
Are you looking for an efficient way to manage wind turbine oil changes? Learn more about our offerings here.