“Nearly our entire excavator fleet is now Komatsu”
Ask a staff member at 1888 Industrial Services what the company does, and you’re sure to get one of two answers. The first might be a lengthy explanation with an exhaustive list of the services the firm performs. The other is likely to be, “What don’t we do?”
The response to that second answer may very well be that they don’t say no when customers ask the Ault, Colo., firm to do a job. That “yes-we-can” attitude has helped 1888 Industrial Services grow from a small start-up focused on roustabout work to a multifaceted entity that provides comprehensive services to gas and oil producers who need to move their products from well site to market.
“Whenever a customer asked us if we could do something, we always said yes, and then we would figure out how to get it done,” recalled COO Brody Hansen. “That’s how we grew from one crew and a truck to having approximately 380 people on staff today.”
Founders Josh Wells and Ash Janssen started the company in the mid 2000s as All Around Roustabout. The name was recently changed to better reflect what 1888 Industrial Services now offers, which is much more than fence building and the other small maintenance tasks that Wells and Janssen focused on originally. 1888 Industrial Services is one of five companies under the Wells Trucking umbrella.
“We still do roustabout work, but we have several other divisions, including trucking, construction, pipeline and waste management,” said Hansen. “Each has a list of offerings that allows us to provide customers with a one-stop shop to take their projects from start to finish or perform a singular task. Whatever service that oil and gas companies may need, we likely supply it.”
Construction Operations Manager Keith Martin estimated that 60 percent of 1888 Industrial Services’ work now falls under categories other than roustabout, including oil-rig services such as transporting equipment and camps as well as rig and derrick washing. The company can help set up well sites with its 240-ton-capacity fleet of cranes and has experienced operators to run them.
Its storm-water crews install silt fence, rock-check dams, rock-lined ditches, culvert pipe, cattle guards and more. The hydrovac division handles potholing, keyhole repair, precision excavation, slot trenching and line location among others. Additional offerings include environmental containment and line-pressure testing. The company also includes an equipment rentals/winter services entity that carries items such as flameless and glycol ground heaters for heating job sites.
“We cater to our customers; whatever their needs are. We want them to think of us as their go-to company,” said Martin. “Our services grew with their requests, and so did our capabilities. Because we were, and are, willing to do whatever it takes, 1888’s list of repeat customers continues to expand and our relationships strengthen.”
Divisions working together
The company often has multiple divisions operating together on a project. One example is getting oil and gas from wells to a gathering facility where the raw products are collected and separated from any water that may be mixed with it. Much of the facility is prefabricated in 1888’s shop and trucked to its final location. Pipeline crews install flow lines that run oil and gas from well sites to the gathering facility, which can be several miles away.
“The shop fabricates the separators, modular piping, compressors and other items,” explained Martin. “In the field, we take care of installation, assembly and construction, which includes welding and tying the lines into the gathering facility.”
1888 Industrial Services builds the facilities to suit customers’ specifications. In many instances, clients want them for both present and future use, so the company may construct the facility to handle lines from existing wells, with the ability to take on additional lines at a later time. Once separated from water at the gathering facility, oil and gas are piped to additional facilities via “midstream” lines where the natural resources are sold in the marketplace.
“There are a lot of lines coming into the gathering facility because it’s collecting oil and gas from many well sites,” noted Terry Olin, Midstream Manager. “Each of those is typically two or three inches in diameter. Midstream has only two lines going out, one for oil and one for gas, and those can be up to 48-inch pipe because at that point it’s all about getting the product to market as fast as possible.”
Komatsu improves uptime, production
Nearly two years ago, 1888 Industrial Services started using Komatsu PC240LC-11 and PC290LC-11 excavators to dig trenches and set pipe. The company worked with Power Motive Territory Sales Manager Jeremy Griebel to purchase and lease the machines and, with his help, occasionally rents other excavators and attachments such as hammers.
“Komatsu excavators have good hydraulic power and breakout force, so if we run into rock we can put a hammer on one to take care of it, no problem,” said Martin. “On the gathering side, we’re generally running underground lines from the wells to modules. From there, the pipe is run above ground to the gathering facility. Multiple lines mean a ditch that’s sometimes 20-feet wide, 8-feet deep and 400-feet long. The Komatsus allow us to excavate that in relatively short order.”
“On the midstream side, production is measured by how quickly we can dig and get pipe in the ground, so we set up five or six excavators and swing dirt,” added Olin. “We started with the PC240s and added a couple of PC290s to give us more capacity for handling the heavier pipe. We can use them to lower it into the ground without having to rent a side boom. It’s a big savings. All the machines are fast and, equally as important, reliable so we get great uptime. Nearly our entire excavator fleet is now Komatsu.”
Improving uptime was one reason that 1888 Industrial Services looked at Komatsu excavators. The company often had to stop to regenerate its previous competitive Tier 4 machines.
“That costs considerable time and production and was a source of frustration, but it has not been an issue with the Komatsus. Jeremy and Power Motive assured us that would be the case, and they were right. The excavators regenerate while working,” shared Hansen. “We also like that the Komatsu CARE program covers scheduled maintenance for the first 2,000 hours or three years. Our Parts and Service Sales Rep Roudy Redenbaugh calls us when a service is due and schedules it at a convenient time to minimize our downtime. It has worked so well that we arranged for Roudy to extend coverage beyond 2,000 hours.”
“Service after the sale is just as important to us as it is when buying and renting the machines,” added Martin. “Jeremy, Roudy and Power Motive are excellent to work with. They care about our success, and it shows in everything they do for us. For instance, Jeremy went the extra mile to ensure that we had block heaters installed on the excavators, and Power Motive provided our operators training on the Komatsu machines. It has become a very strong relationship.”
1888 Industrial Services operates mainly in the Denver-Julesburg Basin in Colorado and Wyoming. It has also completed assignments in Utah and North Dakota and is currently looking at the possibility of expanding into the West Texas Permian Basin.
“The opportunity is there,” reported Hansen. “We have the knowledge and skills to handle almost anything, so our business plan includes putting that area in play.”
The management team sees the possibility of moving into other markets as well.
“Civil construction, industrial plants and other types of projects are all on our radar,” said Olin. “We actively seek growth, and with the great staff we have, it’s conceivable for us to easily move into those sectors. It’s a matter of applying what we already do.”