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As the third generation of Sagers join Jeffrey Machine, current owner Jeffrey Sager looks back on a career that started with his father Frank

By Christine Fournier

 

In 1977, Frank Sager opened the doors to Jeffrey Machine (named for his son and current owner Jeffrey Sager) as a small machine, tool and die shop in Birmingham, Ala. Frank, a machinist and metal fabricator with many years of experience, created tools to the exact design request of his customers. Jeffrey joined the family business in 1986. He learned his dad’s trade and began working primarily with augers shortly after; first repairing them and later rebuilding them, often resulting in a better tool than the original. It was a natural progression to fill the auger market demand and to begin manufacturing better tools to hold up to Alabama’s limestone and rocky soil.

 

“Our very first auger customer was Alabama Power, we had instructions from them for utility needs and we got to work. We delivered and they are still a valued customer today,” said Jeffrey. “This is when we started to break into the utility category and moving into other markets in and around Alabama.”

 

Growth

In 2001, a 20,000-square-foot shop was built and due to increasing demands, another of equal size was constructed in 2002. Another expansion completed in 2007 brought the facility to over 100,000 square feet, making Jeffrey Machine one of the world’s largest independent auger manufacturers.

 

“When we purchased this property, we knew we would build our facility to meet our needs and that it would allow us to continue to grow. We have an additional 14 acres if we need it,” said Jeffrey.

 

The period of 2002 to 2014 was one of heavy growth and included the addition of three outside sales representatives to manage the territories across the U.S., and 50 production workers and office staff. In addition to growth in the U.S., Jeffrey Machine grew to the Canadian market and began offering foundation and utility solutions with dealers. Jeffrey Machine currently works with Pinnacle Drilling and ML Air for foundation tooling and Commercial Truck for utility tooling.

 

Jeffrey said, “Canada is a very promising market and we have a great deal of success with the dealers we have chosen to work with there. Canada can have some very challenging conditions to drill in, but we have listened to what our customers’ needs are and modified tooling to meet those challenges.”

 

In 2016, celebrating their 40th anniversary, Jeffrey Machine introduced a unique, new feature – crimson red coating on all tooling. With this bright new finish, products not only stand out for their unmatched quality, they are instantly recognizable as tooling produced exclusively by Jeffrey Machine.

 

In 2017, they added a Euless, Texas, branch. This facility focuses on selling consumables such as pilots, adapters, teeth, holders and shaft spacers; and carries items such as Slurry Products, Polybore, Quick Gel and EZ Mud Plus so customers can access these products quickly and directly. Jeffrey Machine also offers a full line of stock tools.

 

“Contractors having quick access to tools is an especially important aspect of this industry. Decreasing down time is a way we can lead in customer service. Adding the Texas location so that we can ship faster to different areas of [the] country was a game changer for us,” said Jeffrey.

 

In 2019, Jeffrey’s children joined the family business: Sam Sager as director of operations and Gabby Sager as marketing manager.

 

“It is a great feeling to now have the third generation in place at Jeffrey Machine. I know my parents would be very proud. I looked forward to this day for a long time and I have enjoyed watching them immerse themselves in day-to-day operations and make our Jeffrey Machine family even stronger. Our greatest asset at Jeffrey Machine is our employees and we want them to always feel valued and important – that is the main principle I want them to carry on,” said Jeffrey.

 

Tooling factory

Jeffrey Machine’s state-of-the-art facility uses both standard and proprietary equipment, including a game changing plate roll. The plate roll greatly increases the facility’s capacity to roll cylinders quickly of up to two-inch thick material, up to 10-feet-long, in diameters as small as two feet or as large as 15 feet; making it perfect for barrels, cylinders and coring products that need a quick turnaround from shop floor to job site. This custom plate roll was a huge investment that has paid off by greatly improving the factory’s ability to be more responsive to customers’ needs and adding new areas of potential expansion into new markets.

 

The company has a partnership with BETEK GmbH & Co. KG, one of the foremost global manufacturers of wear parts incorporating tungsten carbide. The revolutionary .990 Dirt Tooth is designed by Jeffrey Machine and manufactured in partnership with BETEK. This unique tooth is engineered for use with a multi-purpose type auger equipped with a .990 TRI-Holder. The versatile TRI-Holder is uniquely designed to accommodate three different types of teeth: the new .990 Dirt Tooth; the Standard .990 Tooth (known in the industry as C-31) and Jeffrey Machine’s exclusive .990 Dragon’s Tooth.

 

Proprietary to Jeffrey Machine, the .990 Tooth is unique in that the shank of the tooth will fit in a C-30 holder (or pocket), which is machined in-house from 4140 high tensile steel. The benefit of this interchangeability is that it allows contractors to move easily from a project in a rocky environment that requires a conical rock tooth or Dragon’s tooth, to one in a non-rocky condition using the .990 Dirt Tooth in the same tool. This helps significantly reduce project set-up time, as well as costs that would result from the need to transport multiple augers to project locations.

 

Development of each innovative Jeffrey Machine product is the result of extensive field study and an enduring commitment to improve the safety and performance of every product constantly. Working side-by-side with their customers, Jeffrey Machine creates drilling tools with enhanced capabilities as unique as the demands of each job. Jeffrey Machine offers a comprehensive line of auger tooling manufactured to ensure optimal performance under the most demanding drilling conditions. At the heart of this manufacturer of some of the world’s toughest tooling is a precision machine shop that is small enough to continue providing exceptional, personal service.

 

“My father expected excellence every day from employees and in every piece of tooling that left the factory. He set the bar high for us and I expect the same results from the employees and tools we manufacture today. With that in place, I feel like the future is bright,” said Jeffrey.

 

 

 

 

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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.