Oil and Gas Pumps Go Custom

Two custom painted pumps by Barco Pump

While the oil and gas industry can be unpredictable at times, the equipment on-site can't be. And on a mission to bring custom, reliable pumps to the jobsite is Barco Pump.

"We very much cater to our customers," says Chris Sommer, Barco Pump executive vice president. "We offer a custom-built product made to their individual needs — right down to the colors and specifications." Whether it's painting the pump to match the customer's brand or helping them show off their team spirit, Barco Pump has done it. "We've painted single pumps 'Arkansas Razorback Red' and 'LSU purple.' We even painted a pump pink to support breast cancer awareness."

For applications large and small

Barco Pump has been in business since 1973. In addition to oil and gas, their pumping units serve construction, mining, and municipal applications.

"In the oil and gas industry, we kind of hit it all," Sommer explains. From production to exploration to drilling, Barco Pump has a unit that's up to the task.

"We work on the mud side of drilling," says Sommer. Barco Pump manufactures a smaller six-by-six pump to consistently turn the drilling mud, or bentonite and keep it from hardening. This type of application needs consistent, low horsepower (around 75 hp) to keep the larger drilling operation running smoothly.

On the larger end of the spectrum, Barco Pump builds a 600 hp unit that charges the 18-wheeler frack units.

Raising the standard

One of Barco Pump's more popular units was originally designed to meet a specific customer need. "The customer came to us with very particular specifications, including implementing some more technological features," says Sommer. A lot of other manufacturers weren't up to the task, but Barco Pump welcomed the challenge.

The mobile charge pump is used to prime the larger fracking pumps. It boosts the pressure of the fluids to the large quintuplet pumps, pressurizing the system to help protect components such as seals and ceramic plungers that could otherwise be damaged during a dry startup.

This is a significant improvement over conventional methods, which can cause large fracking pumps to break. Rather than having to be rebuilt after every frack, the large pump's structure is maintained for a longer period of time, saving costs in the long run.

"We took the customer's gallon-per-minute and Tier pressure demands into account and found an existing pump model that exceeds those needs. Then we trimmed the impeller to fit a smaller motor," says Sommer. "We designed the pump end to flow the amount of fluid and pressure they needed and built a custom manifold so that it was user-friendly on both the suction and discharge side of the pump."

Plus, the telemetry features allow the end user to control the pump using an app. This means the customer can control the pump speed to respond and match to system demands from their command center, rather than with an operator on-site.

Dependability at its core

These pumps are driven by a 168 kW (225 hp) PowerTech PVS 6.8L engine from John Deere, which is Final Tier 4 compliant. When moving to Final Tier 4, Barco Pump leveraged their long-standing relationship with John Deere to ease the transition.

"We were able to receive information about the engine before actually receiving the engine itself," says Sommer. This allowed for a forward-thinking design approach. "Sure, it looks different, but we haven't had to change our pump footprint much while moving into Final Tier 4."

Barco Pump uses John Deere engines across a majority of their diverse product line. "I'd say it's the most-used and most-dependable engine on the market," says Sommer. And in an industry marked by volatility, consistency is key. "The engines are just tried and true. They're dependable, and they last."

The engines are just tried and true. They’re dependable, and they last.

Chris Sommer
Executive Vice President, Barco Pump