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Salvation Drilling Tools and Sandvik Coromant's Journey to Manufacturing Excellence

“Cutting-Edge Collaboration”

Technological innovation is paramount in the dynamic landscape of oil and gas drilling. Salvation Drilling Tools, LLC, an innovative company founded on ethical principles and a drive for excellence, is at the forefront of advanced downhole rotary drilling tools. With the mission of supplying next-generation rotary cone bit technology, Salvation Drilling Tools embarked on a transformative journey in collaboration with Sandvik Coromant.

The Challenge:

Salvation Drilling Tools faced a formidable challenge in their manufacturing process – the production of a new and complex 3-cone rotary rock bit tool for oil and gas drilling. Since the 3-cone rock-bit hasn’t seen any changes to its basic structure in the last 90 years, it was clear to the team at Salvation Drilling Tools that the need for an all-new rock-bit that drills faster, is more reliable and reduces operating costs was paramount. This process demanded precision, reduced complexity, increased productivity, and significantly reduced manufacturing costs. To achieve these goals, Salvation Drilling Tools sought a partner who could provide the expertise and advanced solutions necessary to revolutionize their manufacturing operations.

“The partnership with Salvation Drilling Tools has gone very smoothly; they are true partners in the process of bringing a new drill bit to the energy sector that could truly change that industry,” said Derek Smith, Process Developer/ CAM Programmer for Sandvik Coromant. “The support from Stellar Industrial Supply Co has been fantastic as well, with prompt, accurate ordering. It was Stellar Industrial who brought us all together, and it’s been a pleasure to support this customer in the growth of their company.”

The Solution:

Enter Sandvik Coromant, a global leader in metal-cutting tools and services. Leveraging their expertise, Sandvik Coromant, in collaboration with Salvation Drilling Tools, devised a multi-faceted solution to address the challenges.

In executing this project, Sandvik Coromant utilized their newest and most high-tech machine at the Sandvik Coromant Center Mebane, the Mazak Integrex i-450 H, to demonstrate their tools, tool holders, programming software and abilities, and also demonstrated a new method to Salvation Drilling Tools of holding and machining major components to reduce cycle time, complexity, and cost.

The key components of this solution included:

  1. Advanced Machining Technology: Sandvik Coromant’s cutting-edge machining technology was pivotal in enhancing the manufacturing process. It provided the precision and efficiency needed to improve product quality and reduce production time.
  2. Vericut: The integration of Vericut, a state-of-the-art simulation software, enabled Salvation Drilling Tools to optimize their machining processes, reducing errors and ensuring the highest level of quality and accuracy in their products.
  3. MasterCam: The implementation of MasterCam, a leading CAM (Computer-Aided Manufacturing) software, streamlined the manufacturing workflow, resulting in more efficient operations and reduced complexity.

“We truly couldn’t have better advocates. We love the challenges and helping both our partners and our integrators, as well as our customers, of course. We love when people come to us to say, ‘Hey, we need help.’ That’s what we’re here for, so we’re really grateful for the opportunity,” said Bill Durow, Manager of Global Engineering for Aerospace.

The Result:

The collaboration that took place at the Center Mebane was completed and, in the end, yielded impressive results, with the team at Sandvik Coromant shipping the finished components to Salvation Drilling Tools for assembly. Of which, there were several of two different components, legs, and bodies, made at the Center Mebane, and several of three different types of one component, cones, being machined at the Torrance Tech Center.

The benefits achieved from this partnership include:
  1. Increased Productivity: The manufacturing process saw a significant boost in productivity, as the original processing plan was cut in half, reducing the time and resources required for production.
  2. Reduced Product Price and Complexity: A substantial reduction in costs and complexity was achieved, making the drilling tool less expensive and easier to manufacture.
  3. Improved Tolerance: By minimizing part handling and maximizing precision, the tolerance of the product was significantly increased, ensuring superior quality.

This shows that the same Sandvik Coromant facility that typically makes the latest in things that go into the air was also capable of contributing to efforts that go in the opposite direction – deep into the earth.

“We have to credit Derek Smith,” stated Gary Warwick, CEO of Salvation Drilling Tools. “He was the lead on this project, and the support we received from not only him but also Chris, Xuan, William, and Phil from Stellar Industrial- a Sandvik Coromant distributor- was incredible. They all worked together to make this first production run happen seamlessly. It’s been a real education and a pleasure to be part of that, to watch Sandvik Coromant remove obstacles and get things done. Sandvik Coromant is definitely our lifetime partner; the value that they bring to the table cannot be overstated.”

With these improvements, Salvation Drilling Tools can assure the quality of their drilling tools and is poised to reduce production costs by a minimum of 30%, providing a more competitive edge in the oil and gas drilling industry.

We’re at the beginning of a very long-term partnership, and I just see continuing productivity improvement and innovation like we’ve already experienced over the last nine or ten months,” says Stellar Industrial VP of Strategic Accounts Phillip Canipe. “It’s been a huge reduction in the cost to make these products. It’s obvious that Sandvik Coromant has continued to refine their processes and is better and even more capable than they were just a few years ago.


For this new way of drilling for oil and gas, the machining processes and tolerances are just as critical as any aerospace application. Most tolerances on the new oil and gas drill are +/- .0002”, and even though this was hard to machine material, Sandvik Coromant attained these tolerances without fail.

Overall, the production trials were a great success. The collaboration between Salvation Drilling Tools and Sandvik Coromant exemplifies the power of partnership in achieving manufacturing excellence. By harnessing the latest machining technology, software solutions, and the expertise of both teams, Salvation Drilling Tools has achieved remarkable improvements in its production processes, paving the way for a more competitive and sustainable future in the oil and gas drilling industry. This partnership is a testament to the dedication and commitment of both organizations to innovation, quality, and continuous improvement.

What's Next

  • Salvation has now started the assembly process on our first production run of Rock Bits.
  • Anticipation is that our first production bits will be completed and ready for downhole in the 3rd quarter of 2024
  • Salvation is now preparing for serial production, including future team members, facility, machinery, and tools.