Business finds niche in drilling industry

The Indiana Gazette

Clarksburg, pa.

Power ends, cement plugs, D-rings, O-rings, spider and suction valves — who needs them?

The oil- and gas-drilling industry does, and Twin Pines Manufacturing in Clarksburg is catering to that niche market.

Bob Kovalchik, owner and president of Twin Pines, saw an opportunity when the oil- and gas-drilling industry made its way to western Pennsylvania about five years ago and jumped on it. Now, his business profits have quadrupled, he says, by manufacturing hydrofracking machinery parts for all of Pennsylvania and most of Ohio.

Kovalchik got the idea to start producing these products after he learned through fracking and drilling workers that there was a need for a provider of specific hydrofracking machinery parts in the area. At that point, his target niche, the automotive industry, was slowing down. When the opportunity arose to get involved with the oil and gas industry, he decided that “if it’s made out of metal and needs a machine, that’s what we do.” Thus, the start of a new future for Twin Pines.

Kovalchik was aware of the challenges involved to be a key player in the industry, and he changed his manufacturing and business tactics accordingly.

“In order to be competitive in this business,” Kovalchik said, “I knew I had to get CNC machines” as well as other computer-based machines to create products more efficiently. A CNC machine is used for computer-aided design and manufacturing.

He bought four used CNC machines, started producing parts faster, and from there, he said, business took off. Last year, Twin Pines replaced the used machines with brand new CNC machines, and they’re producing products even faster. By the end of this year, he said, the machines will have paid for themselves because of the amount of products Twin Pines will have been able to produce and sell.

One specific product that Kovalchik calls Twin Pines’ “little invention” is a rubber hammer union seal that he provides to fracking companies. That part is one third of the cost of the product those companies are using now, and they’re saving shipping costs by purchasing the product from a local provider.

Right now, Kovalchik said, industry businesses are used to getting their parts from Texas. When companies need to ship heavy parts such as the ones Twin Pines creates, it gets expensive.

In addition to designing and manufacturing the parts himself, Kovalchik personally delivers them to the companies he sells them to.

“I go out and do the deliveries, because when I deliver, I get in there and know what we can do,” Kovalchik said. “I see something new, something we can do that we’re not doing for them already.”

Nabors Industries, Halliburton, Appalachian Drilling Services, Baker Hughes and Pumpco Energy Services are just some of the companies that Twin Pines already is supplying its products to.

“We’re pretty much tied in with the biggest players in the game,” he said.

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