SMI Companies Global Inc.
- Written by: Molly Shaw
- Produced by: John Carioti
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Since 2009, SMI Companies Global Inc. (SMI) has been pioneering fabrication technology in the petrochemical, agriculture, oil and natural gas exploration and production markets. The Louisiana-based specialty contractor delivers heavy steel, exotic metal fabrication coded fabrication and complete field installation throughout the U.S. and increasingly to international customers.
“SMI is a spin-off from an established fabricating company that’s been in business for more than 25 years,” reveals Vaughn Lane, president of SMI. “We entered the marketplace in October 2009 with fabrication operations underway in January 2010. From day one, SMI has operated with seasoned management staff and operations personnel.”
After only four years in business, SMI has already discovered international success. “We’re seriously supporting the booming shale industry,” shares Lane. “Although we’re still in the development stage, our unique way of cement process controlling and blending with computer automation is superior in the market right now.”
Lane says SMI’s process can turn out 29,000 pounds of blended dry material in just 30 minutes, all while a computer documents the process work. “Operators monitor the batch process, material flows and equipment performance,” he assures. “This process eliminates human error; errors that have resulted in significant hazards and environmental damage such as the BP Oil Spill.”
SMI’s state-of-the-art cement blending process not only allows for greater worker safety and reduced risk, but also significant cost savings. “It takes an enormous amount of money to extract shale oil,” explains Lane. “Substandard cement just doesn’t cut it. You need correct cement product that performs.”
From its headquarters in Centerville, La., with approximately 110 employees, SMI has grown in just a few years to serve clients nationally and internationally. “The range for our petrochemical business is within 100 miles, but the energy sector is worldwide,” notes Lane. “We have clients from Texas to New Mexico to Wyoming and overseas.”
A Custom-fit Solution for Complex Construction
No matter where the client is located, SMI strives to deliver a custom-fit product. “We succeed in working closely with customer design, engineering and operating personnel, allowing us to take on complex and highly specialized construction with demanding delivery schedules,” adds Lane
“SMI’s operating philosophy involves shop operations, project management and sales for input in addressing customer needs and their particular business situation,” continues Lane. “This approach is used from the point of bidding through construction and installation. The primary objective is to offer the customer a deep resource of expertise. This planning and problem solving activity is exhibited by all personnel, from executives to the shop-floor skilled worker.”
SMI offers custom fabrication, from ASME coded vessels to skids and structural components. Off-site field service efforts accomplish ongoing maintenance services, as well as specialized installation of fabricated projects. The company is also proficient in design and construction using state-of-the-art 3-D modeling.
As an original equipment manufacturer (OEM), SMI has the expertise to incorporate electronic data and logic control systems into equipment and machine designs. The company’s manufactured products lists range from vessels built to transport hazardous materials to powered bulk material handling systems, high heat and pressure equipment, as well as much more.
“Our OEM expertise allows us to manufacturer relatively anything, but it has specifically aided in our ability to produce state-of-the art cement blending plants,” explains Lane. “We didn’t come up with the advanced process overnight; it’s taken people who’ve been in the business 20 to 30 years and the correct assembly of talent to create these solutions.”
Building for the Majors
Setting the standard high, SMI lands contracts with some of the most reputable companies in the industry. “We work for all the large service companies, like Halliburton, Schlumberger and Baker Hughes; the biggest names in the oil and gas industry,” reveals Lane. “Because we’re a specialty fabricator, we get the unusually complex projects.”
SMI has a distinct specialty in cement bulk plants in support of oil exploration operations. “Permanent installation, computer controlled cement bulk plants and acid plants have been built for U.S. and Canada clients,” Lane continues. “We’re the only ones right now that I know of doing computer automation in this area.”
Lane says SMI can build to any spec with go-anywhere skill. “Just to put the size in perspective, these plants are like 14 tractor trailer loads, which we fabricate on-site, put on trucks and install where ever it needs to be done,” he explains. “Oftentimes, the facilities are made portable so they can be dismantled and reassembled anywhere. Our overseas shipments are usually always this way.”
The company also provides full-service maintenance for petrochemical clients in Louisiana. “We have completed large-scale demolition projects involving vessels in Louisiana and Texas and 20 stainless steel tote tanks,” notes Lane. “We have manufactured more than 400 lead-lined bromine tanks designed to international transportation specs for Middle Eastern customers. Our goal is a final product with improved performance. We are often asked to evaluate existing facilities and components for performance modifications and new construction considerations. Our customers come to us when quality is critical.”
After less than five years in business, SMI is rapidly approaching the point of a true international player in the ever-evolving petrochemical and shale industries. With the expansion of shale oil production in the U.S. and abroad, Lane says the company couldn’t be in a better position. “We’re working on increasing our position as the standard for construction of computer controlled facilities in support of energy exploration and production,” he adds. When quality is key and standards are high, SMI Companies Global Inc. delivers on a national and global scale.
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