A Winning Formula for Success

American Equipment & Fabricating Corp.

American Equipment & Fabricating Corp. (AE&F), a full-service foundation-equipment firm, marks its 35th anniversary this year. Based in East Providence, Rhode Island, with a branch in Wills Point, Texas, the company owes its success to a simple formula:

“We offer elite service, spare parts, superior products and 24-hour support,” explains company President, Charles (Charlie) Booth.

As Booth notes, the products in question consist largely of “foundation-drilling equipment and pile-driving equipment.” AE&F also offers a huge parts inventory, comprehensive engineering services, and excellent customer support.

Clients can call or email AE&F around the clock. If a technician can’t solve a customer’s problem online or over the phone, “we will have a tech on their site within 24 hours. We look after our customers’ problems. We get them up and running as soon as possible. This has always been the way we operate. This is one reason we’ve been so successful at what we do,” says Charlie.

Only the best
AE&F stocks equipment from a select group of major manufacturers:

• Drilling equipment made by Soilmec, an Italian firm established in 1969 that is a leader in the ground engineering industry.

AE&F is Soilmec’s oldest dealer in North America, having sold the first new European style drill rig in 1990.

• Pile-driving equipment from PTC – Fayat Group, a global company that specializes in vibratory hammers (branded as Vibrodrivers) for deep foundation work.

PTC has been at the forefront of technological advances in the vibratory hammer industry. It was the first company to launch the electric vibrodriver to the market in 1958 and PTC introduced the first hydraulic vibrodriver in 1971.

According to the website aboutcivil.org, “The principle of the vibratory driver is two counter-rotating eccentric weights. The driving unit vibrates at high frequency and provides two vertical impulses, one up and one down. The downward pulse acts with the pile weight to increase the apparent gravity force.”

Unlike traditional pile drivers, vibratory hammers are quieter and drive piles quickly, and with variable moment technology, first developed by PTC, can be used in close proximity to surrounding structures.

• Vibratory Driver/Extractors from Midwest Vibro out of Grandville, Michigan, which makes equipment under the name of H&M.

New to AE&F’s inventory is the H&M tier IV final H1200 & H1850. “These hammers continue to be workhorses in our inventory,” says Charlie.

• Hydraulic impact piling hammers and vibratory hammers from Dawson Construction Plant of the UK, which describes itself as “one of the world’s leading suppliers of piling equipment.”

AE&F recently added a series of new and improved hydraulic center-ram impact hammers from Dawson Construction Plant that Managing Director David Brown calls, “the fastest, most efficient hydraulic impact hammers on the market today.”

A hydraulic impact hammer is a modern type of piling hammer used instead of diesel and air hammers for driving steel pipe, precast concrete, and timber piles as well as H-piles and sheet piles. Hydraulic hammers are more environmentally acceptable than older, less efficient hammers as they generate less noise and fewer pollutants.

An expanding portfolio
AE&F is still looking to expand its equipment portfolio. It has introduced a new line of rotating telescopic handlers from Italian firm Magni. At the forefront of mechanical engineering equipment since the 1950s, Magni started making telehandlers in January 2013.

“We have been interested in the Magni rotating telehandlers for a while. I thought it was something American Equipment could do well with. Magni makes the safest rotating telehandler lift in the market, with a load-moment indicator built in,” says Booth. (A load moment indicator [LMI] monitoring system offers an audio and visual pre-warning to operators if their equipment becomes unstable.)

American Equipment also stocks Ciancaleoni sectional casing and tremie pipe for rental and sale. AE&F has used equipment available as well.

In it for the long haul
American Equipment likes to build lasting relationships with the vendors it represents. The company thoroughly investigates potential vendors, their products and their reputation in the industry before taking on distribution of their equipment with a long-term view.

That being said, AE&F remains enthusiastic about, and searches out, impressive new equipment from trustworthy suppliers. AE&F is “looking at a couple of new vendors right now,” with a view towards stocking their equipment, says Booth, but no firm agreements have been reached yet.

Every need, every client
Should a customer need a part or component for their drilling or pile-driving equipment, AE&F offers a massive parts department. This department stocks roughly $4-million worth of parts and products at any given time. Well-trained staff use a cutting-edge inventory management system to keep track of their offerings. Efficiency rules; AE&F says that it fills 85 percent of parts orders in under 24 hours.

The company also operates in-house fabrication and machine shops. The fabrication shop is well-equipped with plasma cutters, band saws, overhead cranes and Mig and Tig welding machines. In similar fashion, AE&F’s machine shop features CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine tools, vertical lathes and boring mills, among other machinery.

“We’re well-rounded… in terms of capacity, we do special machine work for customers as required,” says Booth about the company’s machine shop operations.

At the top of the service game
This activity is augmented by a wide-ranging service department that offers exceptional customer support. Clients contact this department 24 hours a day for advice or to be guided through repairs. The service department maintains a team of trained technicians available to handle any customer request large or small.

The service department has implemented an electronic solution from Soilmec called the Drill Mate System (DMS). DMS gives AE&F technicians the ability to gather data from DMS-equipped drilling rigs and remotely monitor machine performance.

The Drill Mate System was developed by Soilmec in the late 1990s for fleet management, drilling-equipment control and production supervision purposes.

DMS alerts AE&F staff and customers about potential mechanical or safety problems and allows for remote adjustments before a major issue develops. In many cases, clients can avoid shutting down operations, which saves time, money and resources.

Digging in for the client
Most of AE&F’s customers are based in the United States, and AE&F is thinking about expanding its operations. “We’re looking at growth opportunities in other areas of the country but want to be sure that wherever we may go we can provide the service our customers have come to expect from us. We want to increase market share as well,” he says.

AE&F traces its roots to a company called C.L. Guild Construction, founded in 1950. “C.L. Guild was instrumental in developing the first Bodine sonic-pile driving hammer… They did a lot of work in the U.S., mostly with pile-driving equipment,” recalls Booth. The McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction says that a sonic pile driver is “a device for driving piles into soil by means of a hammer whose head is vibrated {usually at a frequency less than 6,000 times per minute}; this vibration is transmitted to the tip of the pile, resulting in a penetration that is relatively rapid and quiet.”

Over the decades, there were changes in ownership and the company’s focus was broadened to include foundation drilling equipment in addition to pile driving equipment. C.L. Guild Construction evolved into what eventually became American Equipment & Fabricating Corp. in 1985.

AE&F currently has about 30 employees. Included in the staff are engineers, service technicians, machinists, fabricators, welders, parts staff, office staff and sales staff. Regardless of the position involved, Charlie says the company instills certain core values in its workers; namely, “honesty, objectivity, trust, integrity and excellence.”

Industry presence
American Equipment promotes itself in a variety of ways. The company maintains a website and social media presence with profiles on Facebook and LinkedIn. AE&F regularly attends industry events such as CONEXPO-CON/AGG, North America’s largest trade show for the construction sector, scheduled this year for March. The team also attends the International Foundations Congress & Equipment Expo (IFCEE) scheduled for 2021.

On the international front, AE&F attends bauma, a huge construction and industrial machinery show that takes place every three years in Munich, Germany (the next bauma show is scheduled for April 2022). The firm also travels to Intermat Paris, an international construction and infrastructure event (the next Intermat Paris show is slated for April 2021).

AE&F is also affiliated with several industry groups, including the Association of Drill Shaft Contractors (ADSC), the Pile Driving Contractors Association (PDCA) and the Deep Foundations Institute (DFI).

Although the market remains competitive, American Equipment is meeting this challenge with its unchanging resolve of providing only the very best products, parts, service and expertise. With this winning approach in place, Booth’s manner is optimistic and upbeat regarding the future of the company.

From Here to There

Throughout history, humans have been limited by simple logistics – how to get from here to there? For thousands of years, venturing out of one’s village required braving wild and rugged terrain. Travel was inherently dangerous. Roads were rough and rudimentary, if there were any at all.

September 29, 2020, 9:08 AM EDT