By Karla Kelly FOR THE DIGBY COURIER
A Clare company has a new machine to help companies in the oilfields out west cut costs.
Clare Machine Works of Meteghan Centre has developed the world's only portable lathe system to help oilfield companies re-machine drill pipes and connections in the field, eliminating the complex logistics and expense of sending them off-site to be serviced.
Last week, West Nova MP Greg Kerr announced $55,075 in federal government support for the invention.
He said the investment would assist the business in the advancement of its patent-pending invention, the Beaver-3 Plus, and help propel the local manufacturing and welding company onto the global market.
He said the government recognizes that commercialized innovation and research are essential to economic growth and prosperity.
“Vince Stuart, owner and president of the company, is an excellent example of the remarkable talent we have in our midst and an entrepreneur in the true sense of the word," Kerr said.
Clare Machine Works also specializes in the research and development of marine, and oil and gas industry technology. It partnered with Lote Technologies Solutions Inc. and Petro Carbon NDT Solutions Inc. of Alberta to complete the project.
A repayable investment of $43,315, through ACOA’s business development program goes into construction of the new concept prototype lathe.
Further support of an $11,760 non-repayable investment, will assist the company in contracting necessary technical expertise to commercialize the upgraded lathe to the oil and gas industry worldwide.
Stuart said the Beaver-3 Plus, which took eight months to build, would be sent to Halifax for a month of programming and commissioning with their partners Bosch Rexroth before it is sent to Alberta for a four-month field test.
“Once it has completed the testing and is returned, we can deal with the pitfalls and betterments,” said Stuart.
Rodney Trail, an engineer at Bosch Rexroth had high praise for the prototype, which can be sold globally with service and support.
“It is energy efficient, quiet and can run on extremely low energy consumption,” said Trail.
The simplicity of operations is a plus as it is simple for operators to run and service and will be equipped with Satellite Monitor and Actuate Response Telemetry (SMART), allowing it to be remotely monitored and controlled, and new electromechanical operating components to improve the unit's performance.
The National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) is also providing advisory services, as well as funding of up to $49,065 to further develop and enhance the technology.
Terry Thibodeau, renewable energy coordinator for the Municipality of Digby, said it is important to realize that economic development can take place in a rural community and this project demonstrates the skills sets among the local community showing that they are on a world-class stage.
Stuart said his company is preparing to enter the international arena in a very specialized field.
“We envision further development of products and services in the near future,” he said.
“A team effort from our partners and staff has made this all possible.”