Employees at Equipment Maintenance Service (EMS) in Gillette, WY, know that more goes into maintaining equipment than just making a few repairs. As a major mining-equipment repair company, EMS knows that proper maintenance takes expertise, attention to detail, good customer service and quality products. That's why EMS says it has worked closely with The Timken Co., Canton, OH, since it opened in 1984.

From wheel ends to gear boxes, EMS' customers count on it to come through in a bind and get the necessary equipment rebuilt and repaired as soon as possible. In turn, EMS relies on Timken and other equipment manufacturers to provide quality repair service it can depend on. "When Timken first started its bearing-rebuild program, we were one of the first shops to try it and we've had great success," says Ken Melton, operations leader of the electrical rotating department at EMS. "It's been a huge benefit to us as well as a cost savings to our customers. We have a lot of confidence sending the product in for repair. We know they'll be able to fix it and send it back, and we feel just as comfortable installing that in a customer's unit as we do putting in a brand new one."

Melton also trusts Timken to assist with competitors' bearings. "We don't expect them to work miracles, but if it's rebuildable, Timken will give it their best effort. We're confident we can expect a good service life out of it."

Melton says he is most impressed with Timken's field personnel. "They're readily available to assist us," he says. "They also have other technical service people who can be contacted immediately by phone."

To help fine-tune its procedures, EMS also works closely with Timken to stay on top of maintenance and repair education. "We don't try to sell anything to the customers, we just make them aware of their options for doing maintenance and we try to make them better in maintenance," says Scott Ickes, senior service representative/service engineering for Timken's Industrial Business. "We show them the advantages of continuing their education through advanced seminars specifically designed for the customer. That is where the Timken Bearing Certification Audit comes in."

The audit is a tool that helps customers like EMS improve maintenance practices by covering proven techniques that every shop should follow. Key areas of review include proper bearing storage, handling, inspection, and installation and removal processes.

"We have an excellent crew of employees here in Gillette that have expert experience in dealing with bearings," says Melton, "and this training even taught them things they didn't already know. Timken made suggestions to help us with some procedures we weren't doing 100%, and we were able to make a few minor adjustments. Now we're at the top of the list in those procedures."

EMS insists on internal quality checks and maintaining high levels of service from its own workers, as well as from suppliers and business partners, including Timken. "We feel a sense of security from Timken because they have quality control from the start, all the way to the finished product," says Melton. "They make the steel that makes the bearings, they build everything in-house, and nothing's out-sourced, from the rollers, cages or repairs. Secondly, they offer a wide range of application. Their product line is not limited to one specific product that will only cover limited applications."

Melton says EMS has used Timken products and services for a variety of business needs for more than 18 years. "And I have yet to have a need that they provide where I didn't get an immediate response."