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Courtesy of GeoRocForGeoRocFor celebrates 30 years of drilling and new success in its XS overburden systems

By Sarah B. Hood

If you ask the folks at GeoRocFor Inc. how business is doing, they like to say they’re “getting through the toughest conditions.” That’s not because business is bad – quite the contrary: the Sherbrooke, Que.-based company is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2015 as a leading manufacturer of drilling tools and an industry leader in overburden casing systems.

In the early 1980s, company founder and current president Roger Charland was working as a sales representative for an equipment distributor in Montreal, handling heavy drilling machinery, but not

consumables like drill rods and bits. Seeing a niche, Charland launched GeoRocFor Inc. in 1985.

Initially, many of the new company’s products went to a fairly narrow range of customers, including foundries.

“Then, because the products are similar, we started to cover the construction segment of the drilling sector, including blasting,” said Roger Charland’s son, GeoRocFor operations manager, Luc Charland.

It’s a big market, he says.

“But it’s a difficult market, because [like] everything related to construction, the prices are very competitive, so in 1990 we started manufacturing some of those accessories for the industry.”

As the client base started to shift, the company began to concentrate on down-the-hole hammers for the pilings and water well drilling industries, manufacturing products like drill bits, drill rods for water wells, casing shoes and threaded casings.

From the beginning
Starting with a staff of four in 1985, GeoRocFor now employs 18 people, including five in the office, two technicians and 11 in production. Operations were based in a succession of rental spaces until 1997.

“[Then,] we built our factory,” said Charland. “Six years later we built an addition to that main building.”

One of GeoRocFor’s biggest breakthroughs came with the 2007 development of its XS overburden drilling system.

“There are only a few competitors worldwide with that kind of full-face casing system,” said Charland. “Compared to the wing-type overburden casing system, this has a full crown and drills like a standard bit.” The only two firms with a comparable product are based in Finland.

“I designed it myself,” said Charland proudly. “We improved it a lot with different research and development programs over the years.”

Originally, it was suited for the needs of water well contractors, but “then we realized that foundation [construction was] 95 per cent of our potential business; on one job site they could install 200 casings – but they are shallow, 40 to 60 feet in the ground.”

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Piling Canada is the premier national voice for the Canadian deep foundation construction industry. Each issue is dedicated to providing readers with current and informative editorial, including project updates, company profiles, technological advancements, safety news, environmental information, HR advice, pertinent legal issues and more.