Building the better mouse trap, er, drilling rig had always been a dream of Joe Stevens.
“Truck mounted drilling rigs were designed to drill one well per location, then tear down, and drive to another location miles away,” the Maple Plain, Minn. man explains. “Truck mounted drilling rigs were NOT designed to drill several bore-holes 10 to 20 feet apart.”
What Stevens had envisioned was a track mounted drilling rig.
But not any ordinary track mounted drilling rig would do, mind you.
His would have a center pivot that would allow the drilling rig to rotate 360 degrees on the tracks.
Stevens, the owner of T.L. Stevens Well Company, builds wells mostly for older homes or existing properties.
“Nothing is worse than having to dig up a backyard just to build a well,” he suggests.
So Stevens conceived an idea of a rig that would drill and install six heat loops ten feet apart or five heat loops 12 feet apart without moving the track undercarriage.
Impossible, you say?
Not according to Stevens.
More importantly, not according to Cris Collins, president of Le Mars’ Gus Pech Manufacturing.
“Joe had a terrific idea,” he says, “but we put it into motion.”
“This is one of our more unusual drilling rigs we’ve ever built,” he allows.
With a 128 year history of quality service, Gus Pech has manufactured many models of machines and equipment for drilling holes from two inches to ten feet in diameter, and for drilling depths 1,500 feet.
Through the years, Gus Pech has seen their business move from cast gears, sprockets and chains to steel gears, open hydraulic and closed loop hydrostatic system to now, mostly diesel-powered equipment.
“We’ve always tried to stay current with with the times,” Collins suggests.
And that includes creating the GP 900 Geo-Swing designed to work with Stevens’ specifications.
“The (Geo-Swing) is capable of placing heat loops in any configurations,” Collins contends, “and not just circles.”
“It has the mobility that truck mounted rigs could only dream of,” he adds.
Another advantage of the track mounted drilling system, Collins offers, is that it can contain the drill tailings to keep the site cleaner.
Which is music to Stevens’ ears.
“This system will easily mobilize and install heat loops with less disturbance to the area,” he notes. “That’s exactly what I wanted.
Established in Storm Lake in 1879, Gus Pech Manufacturing has been a Le Mars-based business since 1889.
The company, which employs 24 people, sells equipment throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico, and worldwide to Taiwan, Thailand, South America, Ethiopia. Algeria, Italy, France, England, Lebanon, and Cambodia.
Information from: www.lemarssentinel.com