2017-09-22 tbln-okchiller

John Claybourn, president of Oklahoma Chiller, with a 500-ton chiller unit mounted on a flat-bed trailer ready to move out. LARRY LEVY/For the Tulsa Business & Legal News

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the name incorrectly listed the job title of mammal curator Jordan Piha. The story has been corrected.


Fixing Buzbie’s broken tooth requires more than a simple trip to the dentist.

The new cost for doing business in Tulsa.

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There is, of course, getting an appointment for the dentist — an-out-of-town specialist — to make a house call, as well as an air-conditioning specialist.

Buzbie, 36, isn’t your garden-variety dental patient. He is a white rhino weighing in at about 4,000 pounds.

The house in this case is the 5,000-square-foot rhino barn at the Tulsa Zoo.

Some cooling was needed to help regulate Buzbie’s body temperature while he underwent the July procedure, said Scott Shope, vice president of zoo facilities and construction.

Shope called on Oklahoma Chiller to rent a unit, adding that the zoo has several huge portable generators that can be put in place.

Oklahoma Chiller president John Claybourn said renting an air-conditioning unit is not uncommon. Unlike home air conditioners, the massive chiller units have many parts, and some may need to be ordered before being replaced.

Hospitals, for one, cannot wait, Claybourn said. Nor can companies that depend on climate-controlled conditions for manufacturing processes, such as food processing, plastics and data centers.

Time can be critical for many companies, he said.

Another use for rental units is by companies needing temporary climate control for space being used in making a prototype of a new product or during expansion, he said.

Oklahoma Chiller has units already mounted on trailers ready to move out quickly. A 500-ton unit is the largest that can be moved over the road and already is loaded on a 48-foot trailer. Claybourn said his company hires a trucking company to provide the tractor and a driver.

From the initial call for help to up and running took four hours for one Tulsa hotel, Claybourn said. Depending on chiller size and other factors, costs can range from $200 to $3,000 a day to rent a chiller.

The 13-year-old company with 38 employees in Tulsa and Oklahoma City and has ready-to-rent units ranging in capacity from 1 ton to 500 tons.

The real work is at the site for the unit in need of repair. It may be on a roof, at ground level or inside, Claybourn said, and sometimes the electrical and plumbing lines need to be disconnected with temporary replacements installed and possibly rerouted.

The Tulsa Zoo uses a chiller for the Rainforest with its need for both high temperature and high humidity, Claybourn said.

Although the zoo can work rather quickly in most cases, it took about two weeks of planning for Buzbie after his keeper noticed a difference in his eating, mammal curator Jordan Piha said. Rhino dental work is not a common problem for zoo veterinarians, and a vet specialist from out of state had to be called in and the chiller had to be set up.

Although white rhinos “are pretty comfortable with our environment,” Piha said, “we wanted to make sure he stayed very comfortable.”

Buzbie’s mouth had to be propped open for the work done with normal dental tools but “kind of larger,” Piha said. About 20 people, including four vets were present during the three-hour procedure.

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Adam Daigle 918-581-8480

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