Piling Canada

Tough Performer

Burnaby-based Traxxon Rock Drills has earned an excellent reputation for building tough and innovative equipment, and for selling and supporting quality products from other manufacturers
Written by Kelly Gray
June 2015

Burnaby-based Traxxon Rock Drills has earned an excellent reputation for building tough and innovative equipment, and for selling and supporting quality products from other manufacturers

When you build and support equipment for use in the wilds of British Columbia, you make it strong and you build in innovation and performance. This is what the founder of Traxxon, Mike Horvat, did in the early 1960s. Today, Traxxon has carried on this tradition with a full line of drilling equipment, components and accessories that are among the best in the industry.

The early days saw the company solely focused on the coastal forest industry. This is when they converted WW2 Sherman army tanks into mobile drilling equipment called tank drills, allowing mobility in the rugged coastal mountain terrain. It’s also where they came up with their innovative 360-degree positioner allowing drilling at virtually any angle.

The tradition of building rugged and innovative equipment for Traxxon’s expanding customer base carried on with Steve Cross taking over the business from Horvat in the 90s. Cross, who had started working with Horvat early in his career, was able to take the company to the next level of innovation with his team, designing an excavator mounted drill attachment – the TR-EX. Highly successful in Western Canada, the TR-EX has proven itself in both forestry and construction, and it has also been sold to customers around the world.

Traxxon’s culture of innovation soon attracted the attention of the industry, and Cross sold the business to a larger long-term company. His idea was to obtain the assistance of a larger company to help Traxxon grow. Indeed, the acquisition was one that fostered growth, and today he continues to play a key role in product design, support and leadership under this new corporate umbrella.

Second to none service
With innovation as a foundation, Traxxon management took it further with an understanding that great products need to team with the kind of solid support that keeps equipment and job sites running. To make this happen, the company built a cohort of experienced and knowledgeable personnel that are available to help its customers when they need it most.

“Our customers can call our mechanics directly when they’re broken down, or call our parts team after hours to get something shipped out when time is critical. We cut out the red tape and bureaucracy, so that it’s easy for our customers to get the support they need,” said Traxxon’s Shaun Norman, who reports they offer the services of a well-trained team of Red Seal ticketed journeymen heavy-duty mechanics, several with multiple tickets. In fact, Traxxon’s lead mechanic has been with the company for 20 years and helps to pass along the culture of customer service and support to the newer members of the team.

To keep them top of the class, Traxxon regularly sends their mechanics for factory training, mostly in Europe. While this is an expensive practice, it pays dividends for their customers. Not only are their mechanics experienced but, with the extra advantage of factory training, it makes them even more proficient to get equipment fixed properly and up and running quickly.


Traxxon’s support team uses several fully equipped service trucks and offers a large fully equipped service facility along with a fabrication shop, manufacturing and design department. Traxxon also has a well stocked parts department with a parts team capable of getting critical items out to the customer in the most remote location on a moment’s notice. Traxxon’s sales team also plays the important role of liaison between the customer and Traxxon, making sure customers’ needs are being met.

Industry leading equipment and support
In recent years, Traxxon has expanded its product line to better support its customers’ needs, and to introduce its product support to new customers. Traxxon still does a lot of business with the forest industry, but over the last decade has become more involved with the construction sector.

For example, Traxxon has been a dealer for Sandvik construction drills for the past 20 years and has been very successful in Western Canada representing this equipment. Traxxon realized from the outset that offering a high quality, high performance product like Sandvik, backed up with top quality product support, was a winning combination that their customers are looking for.

“Our customers are asking us to work on their other drilling equipment too,” said Norman. “That’s when we realized there is a demand for high quality drilling equipment for different applications in the construction industry, with the same quality product support we are already offering.”

In this vein, Traxxon started representing ABI Group’s Interoc line of drills for Canada in the fall of 2010. ABI Group is a German manufacturer of high quality and innovative drilling and piling equipment, which fits Traxxon’s business model. ABI Group has four product lines including the ABI, Delmag, Banut and Interoc. Traxxon will be offering a complete selection of all lines starting in 2014 for the Western Canadian market.

Traxxon will also be the Western Canada dealer for Comacchio Industries out of Italy. Another company that manufactures a very diverse line of high quality drilling equipment with lots of innovation, Comacchio will compliment the ABI Group product line, giving Traxxon customers a further advantage when it comes to selection and capability.

To make sure that the customers get the support they need, Traxxon is now teaming up with Hammer & Steel out of the U.S., who themselves are already successful dealers for both ABI Group and Comacchio Industries. Hammer & Steel has seven locations in the U.S., with a large support team and inventory, which has helped make them successful. The working relationship between the two companies will allow Traxxon to provide excellent support to their customers in Western Canada.

Pinnacle Drilling Products, a supplier and manufacturer of tooling and accessories, will be working with Traxxon and Hammer & Steel to market the equipment and provide the customer with a one-stop shop for both equipment and tooling. Pinnacle has two locations, one near Traxxon in Burnaby (Vancouver) and the other in Calgary where they also do manufacturing. Pinnacle has a reputation for being the company to go to when tooling solutions are needed, and because of this the company has grown significantly in the last five years.

Traxxon’s future looks bright with an experienced team, quality products, successful partners and a commitment to looking after their customers. They also have senior management and ownership that are dedicated to providing the resources and leadership to keep Traxxon a long-term equipment supplier in the drilling business, and to allow it to grow in the future to meet their customers needs.

{fastsocialshare} 🍁

Category: Profile

About Us

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.

Sign Up

Submit your email to receive our e-newsletter.