Halving Gasket Lead Time for Energy Subcontractor

In the ever-demanding world of oil, gas and renewables, working with reliable partners is crucial. Equipment is highly specialised, labour is costly and the window in which parts and people need to converge to get the job done is often incredibly restricted. We’ve seen as an industry supplier for over five decades, time and again, it’s often the days and hours calling the shots on any given project. 

So, when an oil, gas and renewables subcontractor contacted us in need of 50 1mx1m gaskets  in just four weeks, we rose to the challenge. Helped by the expertise and experience of our team (and the good will of our supplier for a favour or two!) we smashed their 4-week lead time by half – but, most importantly, we got our customer the right parts for the job, when and where they were needed. 

Read on to find out how we did it.

Who is the customer and what did they require?

Based in Great Yarmouth in our home county of Norfolk, our customer is a prominent subcontractor specialising in onshore and offshore services for oil & gas, renewables, marine and nuclear sectors. They focus on quality, safety, and efficiency, which allows them to support a wide range of projects, from routine inspections and maintenance to major construction and refits.

The customer approached us with a requirement for rubber gaskets for a rig refurbishment project. They provided drawings and dimensions of the gaskets they needed to serve as machine covers but were unsure of the appropriate material. Initially, they requested a quote for Neoprene gaskets, but this option exceeded their budget. 

Getting to the root of the requirement, our Sales Team investigated the function of the gaskets with the customer. They determined that the gaskets didn't have to be water or pressure-tight, but simply needed to prevent dirt and dust getting into the machinery, which greatly widened our choice of materials. 

offshore oil rig

Nailing project scope & specification

Now the function of the gaskets was clearly defined, the team at Walker Rubber suggested using Neoprene EPDM closed cell sponge, a more cost-effective alternative to Neoprene. 

For production, we quoted two different options:

  • The first was to provide strips that the customer could cut and bond on-site to the required size for the seal. This option was cheaper but would be time consuming for the customer.
  •  The second option was for us to pre-cut the gaskets, which came at a higher cost but was far more time efficient. 

Our customer had a small window of opportunity to complete the refurbishment, and going outside of it would have cost both them and their customer money. Because time was a particularly important, understandably, our customer chose the second option.

Another factor that needed to be considered in the final specification was how the gaskets would be attached to the machines. One option was for the customer to bond them on-site, again requiring time and resources from their team. But we were able to do better than that, with a sticky-back sponge sourced specifically for the project from our supplier to adhere the gaskets to the machines straight out of the box. 

With the final brief nailed down, CAD drawings were drafted and sent to the customer for approval. The final quote was for 50 gaskets needed within four weeks. 

Going the extra mile

The final material chosen for the gaskets usually has a lead-time of three weeks from our supplier. Ordered in mid-February, we were able to bank on our strong relationship and pull in a favour to get the sticky-back sponge in just two weeks. 

As soon as the material entered our workshop on the 27th February, it was crunch time. Our production team sprang into action to get all 50 gaskets cut, quality checked, and out the door just two days later on the 29th February – beating the requested lead-time by two whole weeks!

Throughout this project, we made sure to go the extra mile. Our speed of response was undoubtedly a big factor in the positive outcome, which exceeded our customer’s expectations and requirements. This includes the fact we provided the initial quote within two hours and responded quickly and attentively to correspondence from the customer’s team, who were on and offshore with intermittent signal and patchy access to phone and emails.

Apart from beating their lead-time, by thoroughly consulting with the customer to understand their requirements, we were able to provide a solution that was effective, simpler than originally thought, and one which not only stayed within budget, but saved them time and resources for the installation.

Above all, by us doing our job (producing bespoke rubber parts to spec and on time), they could do theirs (refurbishing the rig to keep their client’s business running as it should).

Need rubber parts fast? Here's how we can help

We have seen first-hand how pressured it can be when juggling the multiple moving parts of jobs in the oil, gas and renewable energy industry. This is why we meticulously plan and manage every production job for our customers to ensure they get a positive outcome.

If you are looking for reliable and rapid rubber fulfilment, or have a burning question about a specific part, material or project, please get in touch. We look forward to working with you!

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