July 2015, Vol. 70, No. 7


Thunder Products Showcases Mud Mixers At Open House

Traci Read, Managing Editor

Thunder Products, a division of Wyo-Ben, held an open house and technical training on May 14-15 at its state-of-the-art 16,000-square-foot facility that sits on five acres in Ponder, TX.

The company, which manufactures mud mixing and cleaning systems, employs 15 workers at the facility.

The open house featured the Thunderstorm I and Thunderstorm II and the soon to be released Thunderstorm III. Both mud recyling systems are equipped with five-inch cones and standard-size oilfield shaker screens. The tanks are coated with an oilfield grade liner for longevity and ease of cleaning. These units are designed to support horizontal directional drilling (HDD) rigs up to 250,000 pound drills as well as various sizes of water well and geo-thermal drills. Each unit has a corresponding Pit Pump ranging from 150 to 1,000 gallons per minute. Each system is designed to be the best mud recycler in its class.

The event drew approximately 70 visitors that included customers, technicians and representatives from Vermeer Corporation which serves as Thunder Products’ dealer network. Activities for the day included a plant tour and live demonstrations of the Thunderstorm product line. Visitors were also treated to a BBQ lunch on the grounds, a raffle for prizes and an evening of food and entertainment at the famous Billy Bobs in Fort Worth, TX.

In addition, two training courses were offered for technicians and drill specialists – Trenchless Technician Training by Thunder Products and Mud School by Wyo-Ben. They included live, hands-on demonstrations of the Thunderstorm products, mud mixing, screen selection and maintenance, cone service, servicing the pit pump, job set-up and troubleshooting.

Expanding HDD presence

In a move that will improve the company’s penetration in the mud mixing and cleaning segment and extend its presence in the HDD industry, Wyo-Ben Inc. acquired the Thunderstorm line from Sharewell HDD Drilling Products in March. Wyo-Ben, a family-owned business since 1951, is a leading manufacturer of Wyoming Bentonite clay-based products.

Commenting on the rationale of the deal, Wyo-Ben President and CEO David Brown, saw the potential for expanding its footprint to capture new inroads.

“This is Wyo-Ben’s first venture into the equipment side of the business,” Brown says. “It matches so well with our HDD drilling fluids. We looked at this venture as an opportunity to create a platform not only to diversify into equipment but particularly equipment related to what we do while leveraging and increasing our HDD drilling fluids sales.

“We chose Thunder Products because the design of their machines is simple – they are easy to operate and they clean mud. At end of the day, they do the job!

“I can’t emphasize enough the quality of people that Thunder Products employs,” he adds. “This company has a bright future, and I think we got into it at the right time.”

Dan Sharpe, president of Thunder Products, adds that this type of synergy is welcome because, “mud systems have been out a long time, but there has not been true innovation from a contractor standpoint on how they should be set-up and operated. For example, our trailers are designed to haul a pallet of drilling mud and tooling but no one has done that before. It sounds simple, but if you’re a contractor who needs to mobilize equipment, that’s an important thing.”

Describing his vision for the company and the Thunderstorm product line, Sharpe stresses that simplicity of design and staying true to the basics of recycling and mixing mud are key components.

“The operation and maintenance of our machines are simple,” Sharpe says. “Too often, a manufacturer goes overboard with lots of bells and whistles that don’t add value to what the machine is designed to do, whether it’s drilling or cleaning and mixing the mud. I wanted us to get back to the basics of what the machine is designed to do, and it had to be of high quality while being user friendly.

“To me, the simplicity of the design is true art,” he adds. “Ours has a simple layout, is simple to maintain and is more productive which means the equipment is going to have a longer life span that will enable to the contractor to make more money over the life of the machine.

“Our goal is to have the best cleaner, “Sharpe concludes. “If it doesn’t clean, it doesn’t matter.”

Thunder Products: 800.548.7055, thunderproducts@wyoben.com, www.wyoben.com

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