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As part of our 30th anniversary celebration of the Cat® G3600, we’re giving away a 27-quart heavy-duty Cat cooler to three lucky winners willing to share their stories about this legendary gas engine platform. Our April winner was Caleb Upchurch, a mechanic responsible for maintenance, repairs and overhauls of gas compression equipment for Western Midstream in Colorado.
Here’s what Caleb had to tell us about his career and his G3600 experiences:
1. How long have you worked in the oil and gas industry…and how did you wind up there?
I started my career working in Caterpillar’s Tech Center in Mossville, Illinois, running an engine test cell. I was primarily running C7-C32 diesel engines. Occasionally, I would get to work on a project with a large bore engine and remember the feeling of horsepower through the floor into the control room. I was so interested in these engines, I wanted to move to the field where they were put to work, solely gas compression.
2. What’s your favorite thing about your current job?
Having the correct tooling for the job, 90% of our drivers being G3600s, and a great support team.
3. Describe your experience — past or present — with Cat G3600 engines.
Past: The first G3600 I got to be around was in Labarge, Wyoming, and was known as “Wally.” We had several other types/brands of smaller engines running, but this was the only G3600 we had. It was a gas compression engine with the old VTC turbocharger. At first, it was a little intimidating to be around a package of this size with the volumes it moved — especially when the customer needed it running 24/7.
Present: I take care of a fleet of G3600 gas compression engines, overhauls, routine maintenance, etc.
4. When you hear “G3600,” what words immediately jump to mind?
Reliable. Lots of throughput regarding production. Low maintenance and robust.
5. In your opinion, what sets the G3600 apart from other gas compression engines?
You can do a good PM [planned maintenance] on it and forget about it for 90 days. They really are dependable and nicer to work on compared to other engines I have had the opportunity to take care of. Caterpillar has always done a good job keeping parts readily available and easy to source. It’s easy to log onto SIS Web and find any service information you would like to know quickly.
Another nice feature of a G3600 in gas compression is all the skids I have been around are typically setup correctly due to the “commissioning” process.
6. Can you share any stories about your experiences with the G3600’s reliability, uptime, performance or dealer support?
If you understand the system, set them up correctly and do the maintenance per Caterpillar’s recommendations, they will give you success. We often remove major components still well within specification (e.g., pistons, liners, turbos, etc.) and replace them, just to keep them reliable and our run times up.
7. Where were you in 1991, the year the G3600 was introduced?
Illinois — I was just brought into the world at that time!
8. If you had one wish for the G3600 for its next 30 years, what would it be?
It’s hard telling what engineers will come up with in the next 30 years. It would be nice as a technician to have the troubleshooting manual integrated into the display panel. As these engines develop and get more complex, I imagine having something readily available to a technician on site would make life easy. I imagine an engine without a hydraulic system and able to self-tune via electronic fuel metering.
9. What’s your plan for your sweepstakes prize?
Keep my drinks cold this summer at work and on camping trips.
Big thanks to Caleb for sharing his G3600 experiences — and here’s hoping he enjoys that cooler!
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