BudgetStockPhoto/Photos.comWhen you have to get below ground, Jeffrey Machine is tops in tools

By Kelly Gray

When Tervita’s Calgary office needed to ramp up their capability on a recent deep foundation job, they turned to Jeffrey Machine for expertise that made a difference. Based in Birmingham,

Ala., Jeffrey Machine has become a world leader in drilling tools by working closely with customers such as Tervita, a major North American environmental, energy and construction service company. In this case, they were able to create a 6.1-meter belling tool that was double the diameter of anything the contractor had used in the past. It enabled Tervita to successfully execute the construction of the abnormally large bell pile efficiently and safely.

“We needed the tool fast and we needed it designed to exact specifications and to perform. What we got was a spe- cially designed belling tool that exceeded our expectation for performance,” said Tervita’s Nick Baldwin, remarking further that Jeffrey Machine was able to make design changes to the belling tool that enhanced its capability for the specific job and specific soil conditions. “We needed it fast and they delivered. From design to delivery, it was less than two and half months,” added Baldwin.

This type of custom approach has been Jeffrey’s stock in trade for decades. Beginning as a small father and son machine shop in Birmingham, the company was built on one-on-one customer service and precision manufacturing.

“We started as a machine shop and have carried over the skills to make tools that are exact to design,” said David Alexander, sales manager at Jeffrey Machine, pointing to a cohort of some 65 skilled personnel who are dedicated to an approach to customer service that has made them the go-to company for augers, foundation tools, barrels and cylinders as well as a host of services that include drilling tool rebuilds and auger hardening.

Tracing its roots back to the 1920s, a tool and die machine shop was started by family forebears and the knowledge they gained was passed down through the family. In 1977, Frank Sager put that knowledge to use when he started Jeffrey Machine (named after his young son). Sager excelled at his craft and word spread. In addition to tool and die projects, local contractors began to seek out their services to repair equipment like broken augers. Quite often, the Sagers’ repairs proved better than the original tool. It was a natural progression to start manufacturing better tools that would hold up to Alabama’s limestone and rocky soil. Indeed, this is why the company has grown to be North America’s largest independently owned manufacturer of augers.

“Really, it’s our roots as a small family shop that is our foundation today. Over the course of generations, metallurgical skills as well as the common sense approach to business – where you listen to your customer – have been bred deep into the company culture,” said Alexander, noting that with some manufacturers, customers only get what’s in the catalogue. “Some of our customers might want a specific angle to the auger cut. We will make the change. In fact, our people will work side by side with the customer to create drilling tools that are as unique as the job demands. We can do it all here and can put someone on the task 24 hours a day if necessary.”


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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.