Digging for Treasure

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Hannah Ziegeler
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Getman Corporation reigns as king of underground mining equipment.


Company

Getman Corporation

Website

getman.com

Regional Locations

Headquartered in Bangor, with a second manufacturing facility in Comstock Charter Township

Number of Employees

170

Executive

Erik VanAllen, President & CEO

History

Getman Brothers Construction Company entered the equipment business following World War II with a small motorized wheelbarrow. Called the Scoot-Crete, it was used to transport concrete in municipal construction projects ranging from parking ramps to roadwork. In 1954, a Colorado uranium miner modified one for use in his underground trackless mine, replacing the mule-drawn cart system popular at the time. This milestone serves as the official start of Getman’s mining equipment business.

With the Scoot-Crete concept proving to be a simple and effective solution in mining, the company began developing various new adaptations of the Scoot-Crete to support underground mining. For the past six decades, Getman has refined and added to its product line to meet the demand of mining customers around the world and enjoyed many “firsts” along the way, like a rubber-tired drill jumbo carrier and explosives charger in the early 1960s and a mechanical scaler in the 1970s.

What Drives Getman

Throughout its history, Getman has developed products that replace dangerous manual activities (like manual scaling or removing loose rock), supplant methods that are inherently unsafe (like using loaders as high-capacity scissor lifts), or allow miners to work at a distance from a dangerous area (like the water cannon). “We are very aware that, at any given time somewhere in the world, a miner is using one of our trucks in a dangerous environment. Our mission is ‘We Help Miners Work Safe,’” says Erik VanAllen, president and CEO.

The Mining Cycle

International demand for precious and industrial metals, minerals, and gemstones drives the mining industry. When the economy picks up or supply runs low, businesses and financiers demand commodities like diamonds, silver, gold, copper, zinc, and potash for production and investment. New mines come on until the demand is satisfied. These are the times when orders for Getman equipment ramp up.

Filling Orders

Getman supports the entire mining cycle, from products that load explosives and secure the ground after the earth has been detonated and cleaned out to logistics and maintenance equipment that move people and materials around the mine. It also makes equipment to maintain the larger mining fleet, such as flat decks to move material and fuel or lube trucks that function as mobile oil stations. Infrastructure, development, and equipment to support underground workers who need water, ventilation, and electricity is also available in the form of scissor lifts, grappling holders, and more. Additionally, Getman has ground control products to secure rock, clean the rock face, spray shotcrete for stability, and grade the road so it does not heave.

And if they don’t make it yet, they will: Getman will manufacture a custom product to specifications for safe applications.

You Can’t Rush Perfection

It can take 75 to 90 days to produce a flat deck truck and up to 120 to 150 days for a more complicated piece of equipment.

The Wheels Go Round and Round

Upon first inspection, Getman’s product looks very straightforward: a rubber-tired, diesel-driven truck. But the adverse working conditions and demand for complex mechanics to safely perform and support difficult human tasks result in a product more complicated than its appearance. All products must meet international health and safety standards as well as the regulations and requirements of individual countries and customers.

“Most of our competitors are priced lower than us but their products last maybe five years, seven years. Our trucks typically last several years longer, and, in some cases, up to 20 years or a multiple of competitive lifetimes,” says VanAllen.

Deep Underground

Getman products can be found in world-class mining operations on six continents. Its largest installations are in Indonesia, Mexico, the U.S., and Southern Africa. The closest product in action is located at a copper mine in the upper peninsula of Michigan.

Who Works There?

Welder fabricators, machinists, mechanics/production technicians; engineers and designers; field service technicians; individuals supporting warehousing, customer service, product management, sales, purchasing, human resources, IT, and accounting.

A Culture Shines Bright Like a Diamond

“We are a sum of the interactions of our people with each other and with those whom we work. So, we do a lot of around making sure that we’re creating an environment where those interactions can be healthy and supportive, as opposed to political and unhealthy,” says VanAllen.

Interested in a Career?

Getman is currently seeking technical tradespeople, engineers, and those who have the skills to support purchasing and warehousing. More information is available at getman.com/company/careers2.

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