How running rig parts to failure affects the bottom line

You work your drill rigs hard. Sometimes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So, how do you balance routine maintenance, planned service, and major repairs/replacements and still keep your drill rigs running and reliable?

A lot of drilling companies run every drill rig part to failure. Meaning, they don’t replace anything on the drill rig until it fails. At the other end of the spectrum, a truly preventive maintenance program replaces parts on a fixed and planned interval regardless of wear or condition of the part. When following one or the other, neither of these philosophies is necessarily the most cost-effective philosophy. Running parts to failure can cause minor or major breakdowns. And it goes without saying, any breakdown, small or significant, costs money – lost productivity, jeopardizing up-time contractual obligations, and lost drilling time waiting for replacement parts.

Sonic head water swivel

Even though planning is critical, a strictly preventive maintenance program also costs more by replacing parts regardless of condition and leaving some life of that part on the table. And just because the engine is running (typically gauged by service hours) – not all components are exposed to the same amount of wear. Some components are used more frequently depending on the type of drilling and the size and type of the borehole. Additionally, environmental factors can affect the wear on components and parts including the weather, dust, sand, cuttings, wet, damp, salty, atmospheric conditions (high and low elevations affect air density and can impact how components perform, age, and fail), and ground conditions are all factors affecting drill rig components. Taking it all into consideration, the life of different components can vary greatly.

While regular and routine maintenance is important and definitely helps reliability, it can still be easy to miss tell-tale signs of wear and critical upcoming replacements. Replacing parts before running them to failure can help avoid larger breakdowns and costly downtime. We recommend frequent, planned inspections in place of a comprehensive preventive-only maintenance program where parts are replaced before they fail. A drill rig maintenance program of regular inspections, planned preventive maintenance, and scheduled major maintenance/overhauls is the better way to lower and manage your cost of ownership and keep your machines running and drilling reliably.

Condition-based preventive maintenance

If you are not already doing it, a condition based preventive maintenance program based on frequent visual inspections can be implemented with the right checklists and change management processes for your field employees. Develop a routine for drill rig inspections or audits using standardized checklists as a guide to check condition and identify parts showing wear and near end of life. Next, the report is used to build a list of parts so you can place component orders and plan for downtime to maintain your rig.

Taking the time to do an assessment to prepare, order, and plan for any future maintenance is the most cost-effective method to get the most out of your long-term assets.

The key is taking the time to do an assessment of the condition of the rig, on a regular basis. Depending on the type of rig, the type of drilling, and up-time contractual obligations, you can schedule a mechanic to visit the rig on site, keep a mechanic on call, or take the drill rig back to the shop for major repairs/regular overhauls.


Sonic oscillating weights for LS600 sonic drill head

Boart Longyear uses its technical services group to keep its drill rigs running and can send our technical services group out to your site or shop to do drill rig assessments. The two goals of any drill rig assessment are to:

  1. Identify what is damaged or wearing out.
  2. Build a recommendation to include the required parts to order and when and where (onsite or in a workshop) repairs need to be performed.

Boart Longyear’s Drilling Services has daily, weekly, and monthly inspection checklists for all drill rigs. Checklists for regular drill rig inspections doesn’t need to be specific to the drill rig, you can use a general checklist that applies to all rigs.

Sonic oscillation weights for LS250 MiniSonic™ head

To make it easier for our customers, there is a comprehensive spare parts list for every Boart Longyear drill rig in the Service and Parts Information Network (SPIN). SPIN is a real-time, online, drill rig parts catalog so you can view and find genuine Boart Longyear parts and drill rig manuals, access interactive drill rig diagrams, and view parts manuals. SPIN also makes it easier to search and find the parts you need for your next service interval. Visit to register to access SPIN today.

Why Boart Longyear Genuine Parts

As the world’s leading drilling products and services provider, Boart Longyear understands how spare parts and service availability is critical to the success of a drilling operation. Consider us your partner in keeping your projects running, with lower operating costs and higher returns on your equipment investments.

Boart Longyear™ rigs are designed to meet demanding conditions. Boart Longyear™ genuine parts are engineered, manufactured, and selected to also meet demanding conditions. With genuine parts, you know you’re receiving parts that are specifically designed and engineered for that purpose, along with Boart Longyear’s global strategy and support.