Two Minot businessmen are looking to leave their mark literally on the burgeoning oil industry creeping ever closer to the Minot area.
Brothers Mike and Danny Schuler are now marketing "Schuler Built" tanks, shale bins and mud manifolds for the oilfield. All Schuler products carry "Schuler Built" signs so that people know right where they came from.
"We're just trying to get our feet in the door in the oilfield," said Danny Schuler. "We've been building some tanks and some custom mud manifolds for the rigs. There isn't a whole lot of guys around here building these tanks."
"As a matter of fact, there's nobody, except in Canada," Mike Schuler added.
Danny Schuler said that the shale bin currently under construction in their shop is the fourth they have done.
"We've built a bunch of sets of manifolds and a flow back tank, we've built a few things for out there (in the oilfield) already," Mike Schuler said. "We've got about 14 sets of those manifolds out already."
Mud manifolds are used to collect drilling mud pumped out of the mud pumps and carry it to the mud tank.
"Those have been (gone) as fast as we can build them," Mike Schuler said.
Prior to taking on oilfield tasks, Schuler Repair was much like any other metal shop.
"We were kind of an old-school shop," Mike Schuler said. "We always did welding and fabricating. We worked on trucks, small engines, stuff like that.
"Then last year, we bought a CNC (computer numerical control) plasma table and started doing some metal art stuff. We've just been trying to get diversified."
"We've being trying to get a little more into it for craft shows and such," Danny Schuler said. "Custom ranch signs and things like that."
"There again, as far as we know, we're the only ones close to Minot doing of the actual CNC metal art," Mike Schuler said.
The Schulers were taken aback when they learned of the dearth of locally made equipment heading out into the oilfield.
So they decided to jump into the fray. They found an immediate customer, they said, and are hoping for more soon.
"We knew there was no local product," Mike Schuler said. "We knew there were some guys that bought them out of Canada, so we knew there was nobody local making them."
"We're hoping it can take off and we can be building for more than one guy," Danny Schuler added.
They say a building trend might be playing right into their hands.
"They're going to need a pile of them, tall ones and short ones, because they're trying to go away from the (mud) pits," Mike Schuler said. "That's what they use these for, to mix the mud in these tanks instead of in the pits."
In addition to the uniqueness of being locally produced, the Schulers said they tried to build a better mousetrap as well.
"We added some bracing in ours that wasn't in the ones we saw from Canada," Mike Schuler said. "And we made ours a little wider inside just a couple of things we thought might work better for them."
In addition to CNC art, Schuler Repair can also build a variety of custom brackets for equipment along with the tanks and other oilfield tools.
The Schulers said they have "pretty much" been working seven days a week of late, and are hoping for still more business. Presently, they said that their labor force has been "mostly family."
"Hopefully, we'll get this thing going so we can expand," Mike Schuler said. "We've had four or five guys kind of helping us out while we get going, but we'd like to have some permanent employees.
"We'd like to get some of this stuff done locally instead of having to be shipped in," Danny Schuler said.