They keep people alive underground. Without them, extracting minerals and energy sources from the depths of the earth would be impossible. They are fans; and Spendrup Fan Company manufactures and transports them all over the globe specifically for the harsh conditions that mining presents. “We cannot mine without air,” said Jens Spendrup, Grandson of founder, John Spendrup. His is absolutely right. Without air, mining operations would not be possible. The fans that Spendrup creates ventilate the mines and remove harmful gases and smoke that are produced as a result of mining.
Since 1968, the Spendrup family has been helping miner’s breath underground. John started the company in Grand Junction. Initially, fans were imported from Sweden. After the Swedish company went out of business, John designed, re-engineered and improved the process to make a more durable fan; one even more suitable for harsh mining conditions. They got their start with supplying fans to the uranium mines in Naturita in the late 60’s and early 70’s. After growing through word of mouth, they now ship their mining fans all over the world; with North and Central America being their biggest clients.
“Give a miner an anvil, and they’ll break it,” is a common saying at Spendrup. This is why Spendrup fans are not your ordinary fans. They are made with nearly indestructible steel impellers and can withstand global transportation and maneuvering deep into mines. The transportation process alone can be grueling on the fans; those going to Indonesia undergo a lengthy series of stops and packaging, repackaging, loading to trucks, unloading, and loading onto boats, until they are secure within a mine.
Currently Spendrup employs over 40 people in Grand Junction. The company prides themselves on the fact that every step of the process happens within Grand Junction. First, the fan is designed in 3D CAD in their Grand Junction office. From there, the fans are manufactured and testing in their 48,000 square foot facility. Once the fan is ready to go, the fans are loaded and delivered to one of the many destinations all around the globe. Lastly, Spendrup installs their robust fans in the mines. Some fans making their way as deep as 2,500 feet under the ground.
This fan pictured is ready for shipment. It will find its way deep in a mine in Mexico.
In order to continue keep people alive underground, Spendrup relies on systematic processes that rely heavily on technology. “We have to have a good network to store the huge amount of data we have,” says Jens. “We have to have reliable backups as well.” On the front end of the fan process, computers and technology are essential. The CAD files used to design the fans are huge files. It is up to Networks Unlimited to understand the specific requirements of the workstations for the engineering department, know the software needed to run those programs, and the special hardware to run software so Spendrup can continue to keep oxygen flowing to the people in the mines deep within the earth.
Since 1994, the company has been run by Trent Spendrup, John’s son. In the near future, Spendrup will be working towards their ISO certification. This involves thorough documentation of the manufacturing processes to ensure consistency and quality. Many government contracts prefer this certification- opening the doors for even more growth for Spendrup. The next time you switch on a light or clasp on a piece of gold jewelry, know that you were able to partially due in part to the air that Spendrup fans pushed deep into the earth; making it possible for miners to breath clean air.