Western Drilling Tools Inc. (WDT) was established in 2004 in Calgary by current owner and president Constantin (Costa) Burca, with the primary focus of being recognised as a high-quality drilling-tool machine shop that caters to the diversified needs of the expansive drilling industry.
With a steady addition of new machines and capabilities, WDT is ready to take on the industry’s biggest and toughest machining challenges. In addition to that, WDT celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. During the company’s first decade in business it has grown from a three-person operation to 40 as of today and it’s well positioned for steady sustainable growth moving forward.
Leadership is the key
Leadership is always an essential ingredient to success and Burca comes equipped with more than 35 years of machining experience while having been a key member in developing many popular products that are now common within the drilling industry. He also holds patents on several unique products, such as the roller stabilizer. Burca has been involved in machining drilling tools for almost his entire career and continues to expand his production portfolio. He is an expert machinist and knows exactly what it takes to successfully complete any project, large or small. Before opening WDT, Burca was the owner of two other machining companies that helped develop his vast experience in the field.
Along with the oil industry, WDT also services the construction drilling, environmental drilling, mining exploration drilling, geotechnical drilling, geothermal drilling, mining exploration, oil & gas, seismic drilling and water well drilling industries.
The essential mission for WDT is to provide customers with the absolute best quality tools, accessories and service anywhere in the industry. The company is supported by many years of hands-on experience, trained professionals and a full machine shop that allows it to follow through on its promises. Furthermore, the business recently moved into a new building that will help to better service its customers’ needs. Some of WDT’s products include: various drill bits, pipes, casings and a comprehensive catalogue of coring equipment.
WDT employs full and part-time machinists, whose average experience within the industry exceeds 10 years. Along with its qualified machinists, WDT also employs three full and part-time welders, five full-time mechanical engineering technologists, and two full-time QC/QA personnel.
Products and services
Vice president Dennis Burca says there is a vast diversity of drilling technology and the application of those technologies. This has resulted in many niche markets and specialisations dealing with specific types of drilling or production. This has presented a lot of opportunity for both small and larger companies to have a diversified product base and competencies, as well as very specific specialisations.
“Drilling programs are also typically seasonal and subject to micro boom-bust cycles,” says Burca. “As a whole, drilling still follows general market trends but also has tremendous disparity between hot and cold seasons. An example is that drilling pilings for construction is very active in the warmer months, slows down tremendously in the winter. Alternatively, exploration drilling is more active in the winter when the ground is frozen and less active during warmer months.”
The WDT team has developed and patented a new Overburden Casing advancement system. This is a substantial improvement over other overburden systems currently available. It is a concentric system that allows for substantially improved hole symmetry at higher rates of penetration. The wearable parts are easily replaced in the field at far less cost and time then other systems.
“We have also designed it to solve several problems facing many other systems, including jamming caused by aggregate formation getting trapped by moving parts,” Burca notes.
According to WDT’s marketing manager Ervin Bata, all the company’s machinists are trained on how to program and set up CNC machines, unlike most other companies who rely on a central programmer to carry out this task. This gives us an edge when solving problems on the shop floor. WDT’s machine shop uses state-of-the-art CNCs to manufacture parts to extremely high precision and accuracy.”
WDT constantly acquires and stocks quality raw materials to reduce lead times on products, along with working closely with customers to continuously improve its products in an effort to reduce costs. It also maintains an impressive comprehensive inventory of parts at all times, ensuring consistent delivery times for customers – because time is money, after all.
Asked what makes WDT stand out among the competition, Bata says it’s “being privately owned” that ultimately makes a big difference, along with knowledge of the industry, hard work and dedication. Being a standalone entity allows the business to offer highly competitive rates; timely delivery and its aggressive expansion has helped WDT stay extremely competitive. With offices in Fort MacKay, AB, it is able to provide timely delivery of drills to the oilfields in nearby Fort MacMurray.
Along with manufacturing, WDT also offers design and drafting services. The team is able to design and draft products and services for a wide variety of clients. Welding and fabrication is also a big part of what the WDT machine shop is all about. Welders can fabricate tools and equipment to customised needs and specifications.
“WDT has a good name in the industry and people want to work here,” Bata states.
To keep its valuable employees, WDT offers competitive salaries and overtime and provides a generous amount of vacation between Christmas and New Year, which can often be one of the busiest times of the year for the industry. What helps WDT’s reputation in the industry are employees who are willing to go that extra mile for customers and having two shifts running to get the parts delivered to customers. Bata says the team of five sales people can drive to Fort MacMurray for parts for a customer, if needed.
Along with finding and keeping hardworking, loyal employees, sourcing out new machines greatly benefits in the efforts to fill out customers’ orders. WDT’s new building now houses a pair of new machines to help fulfill these important orders.
WDT’s new home
“Our new building is tailored to suit our needs and gives us substantial room for growth and expansion,” Burca reveals.
“The facility has a 42,000 square foot manufacturing and fabrication facility situated on 3.6 acres of land for additional testing and storage. We are also regularly bringing new products into the market and are starting to develop and strengthen our market share. We are developing substantially more focused marketing strategies to promote our products and our business both nationally and internationally.”
Bata adds: “The biggest challenge is not to over expand.”
WDT has come a long way in its first 10 years of business, under the leadership of Costa Burca. With its new building, top-notch employees, quality products and exceptional customer service, the enterprise can look forward to many more productive years serving Canada’s oilfields and customers around the world. Dennis Burca says the future looks bright.
“Over the next three to five years we plan to ensure that the current intellectual property we are working on successfully makes it to the market,” he reveals.
“And that it helps our customers perform their jobs safer and more effectively. Quality, cost and innovation are the cornerstones of our business.”