Made in the Northwest: Hoffman Manufacturing
LATAH, Wash. — When Hoffman Manufacturing was founded in 2007, it wasn’t making mining products. But the business evolved after doing fabrication work for some customers in the mining industry.
“We’ve kind of taken it and run with it over the last twelve years and made it into what it is today,” said president Justin Hoffman.
Hoffman says it’s one of only two companies in the United States that specialize in underground mine ventilation doors.
“It’s definitely a niche in the market. We started and we’ve developed our products and changed our products to be superior to a lot of them out there.”
With just nine employees, Hoffman Manufacturing is small enough to be able to adapt to the industry’s needs.
“Just when you get comfortable doing what you’re doing, it changes and you’ve got to adapt to it or be irrelevant,” said Hoffman.
Mine door systems are a huge part of Hoffman’s business. And its modular bulkhead systems allow customers to change the bulkhead as their ventilation changes.
“As these mines develop and go further down,” explained Hoffman. “They can put booster fans in, they can put damper panels in, airlock panels, whatever they need.”
Right now, most of the work in the fabrication shop is focused on a large contract to build 170 ventilation raise liners, which are 10 feet in diameter. They’ll be placed in a 12 foot hole in the ground and then lowered hundreds, if not thousands, of feet underground.
“They’ll lower these in, piece by piece, until they have the entire raise lined with them,” said Hoffman. “And then, that’s how they move their air from location to location.”
While the raise liners are a new product for Hoffman, “it’s something that we’ll be able to continue with in the future, too.”
Hoffman also makes mine utility vehicles – tractors or trucks with scissor lift packages attached.
“Everything in underground service is so specialized, it’s not readily available, so somebody’s got to design it and build it and put it together,” said Hoffman.
And the company’s products are used in mines all over the world.
“We’ve got stuff in West Virginia, New York, all over the West Coast, Arizona, Nevada, Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Peru.”
And as the company continues to grow, Justin Hoffman knows what needs to happen next.
“We’re a max capacity right now, so it’s going to take a new facility for us to keep up with demand.”
A big move for a company in the tiny town of Latah.
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