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Made in the Northwest: Advanced Forest Equipment

RATHDRUM, Idaho - Advanced Forest Equipment, off of Old Highway 95 north of Hayden, was founded in 2004.

And even though what it does it pretty unique, sales manager Micah Griffin says, "There's not a whole lot of people that even know about what we do, let alone the size of the material, or the size of the attachments, that we manufacture." 

AFE's more than 20 employees manufacture giant mulchers that attach to skid steers and excavators.

"For somebody who wants to get into the woods and turn trees into splinters, we can help them out," said Griffin.

It was in 2009 when Advanced Forest Equipment put one of its mulchers on the front of a skid steer that it really showed people what the company could do.

"If you see a tree turned into mulch with one of these machines, you get it. I mean, it's that, 'Aha! I can't believe I just watched that, but let me watch it again because it's that cool," explained Griffin.

And as word of its mulchers has spread, Griffin says AFE's business has continued to grow.

"We have machines up and down the west coast, working on forest fuel reduction, fire mitigation, private land owners that are taking overgrown brush and debris and turning their backyards basically into a park like setting with something like this tool."

The discs for the mulchers start as a thick sheet of steel. In the fab shop, holes are created with a water jet cutter. Then, it goes to welding.

"We hire welders that make competent welds, because these things have to hold up for thousands of hours and on machines that you wouldn't expect to see them on, like a big excavator."

The end product is a thousand pound disc loaded with four pointed teeth - perfect for cutting wood.

"And I'll tell you, it's epic when it chews up a tree," laughed Griffin.

AFE recently developed a second company under the same roof. Heavy Equipment Armor makes the guarding products for those skid steers and excavators.

"Being the first company to have a true ballistic door for skid steer is very important to us," said Griffin.

It's all about keeping the operator safe inside.

"So if something's flying at you at 200 miles an hour and it hits your door and it's tempered glass, who knows what's going to happen?"

The company believes Heavy Equipment Armor will one day overtake Advanced Forest Equipment in volume of business because its guarding products can go on all kinds of heavy machinery. And that has Griffin feeling confident about the North Idaho company's future.

"It's a wide open sky. It looks good."


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