Founded in 1946, Columbus, OH-based Nickolas Savko & Sons Inc. started out specializing in digging basement foundations and pouring concrete. Today, it’s one of the largest site development and underground utility contractors in the greater central-Ohio area. In 2004, it laid more than 500,000 linear feet of pipe, moved more than 2 million cubic yards of earth and placed 150,000 cubic yards of concrete.
The company has grown from having one pickup truck and a few employees to employing over 250 and operating approximately 250 pieces of heavy equipment and 200 trucks.
“For nearly 60 years, our family has provided the highest quality site development services to our customers,” says Martin Savko, vice president of Nickolas Savko & Sons Inc., and son of founder Nickolas Savko. “As with any major construction company, our equipment is the life blood of our day-to-day operations and our business in general.”
Finding the right partner
With equipment playing such a major role in the company’s success, Martin Savko knew that a well-developed, comprehensive oil analysis program was a top priority. However, after years of participating in oil analysis programs with several other lubricant providers, Savko often became frustrated with the service and results he was receiving.
“Reports were not clear and were often difficult to understand. This caused the reaction to those reports to be delayed or simply overlooked, risking catastrophic damage to critical pieces of equipment,” says Savko. “We often wasted valuable time just trying to interpret them so we could react. This is not something that we have time for.”
Looking to find the right partner, Nick Savko & Sons chose ExxonMobil Lubricants & Specialties to provide a comprehensive oil analysis program for its heavy equipment, which includes dump trucks, dozers, excavators, concrete placing machinery and paving equipment.
With its large fleet of equipment and trucks, Nick Savko & Sons requires nearly 1,500 oil analysis samples each year. This adds up to as many as 30 reports per week.
“In our oil analysis testing, we carefully examine for things such as elevated wear metals and the presence of silicon — which may indicate an air intake leak — and the presence of constituents such as sodium and potassium that are found in most coolants,” explains Bill Brandt, senior lubrication engineer, ExxonMobil Lubricants & Specialties. “The presence of these elements in a used oil sample indicates potential coolant leaks.”
Analysis also checks for signs of excessive soot loading caused by excessive idling and engine lugging, as well as viscosity effects caused by fuel dilution and over-extended oil drains.
As part of Mobil Planned Engineering Service, lubrication engineers such as Brandt contact their customers to alert them to any irregularities in analysis results, and often contact them to make sure they have reacted to the reports.
“I can remember occasions in which Bill himself reached out to me personally six times in one week to make sure I was aware of samples that needed immediate attention,” says Savko. “The personal attention we received was above and beyond what we expected.”