GOMACO Corporation History
A Tradition of Innovation, Quality and Service
GOMACO Corporation, manufacturer of equipment for the construction industry, is the worldwide leader in concrete paving technology. GOMACO Corporation is headquartered in Ida Grove, Iowa, USA.
Start-up in the Mid-Sixties
GOMACO Corporation was established in 1965, and since that time, the company has successfully marketed products in the United States, with expansion into Canada in 1969 and further expansion into other foreign markets in the years following.
Since the start of GOMACO, the company's designs and concepts have pioneered many aspects of slipforming concrete construction. GOMACO was instrumental in the development and marketing of the concrete slipforming concept, which has had significant impact on the economics of concrete construction. The slipform concept has provided higher productivity per man-hour, greater efficiencies in materials usage, less traffic congestion per job, and a more appealing finished product per dollar invested by the public.
Solid Foundation in Construction
Harold Godbersen started his own construction firm in Ida Grove, Iowa, in 1938. In 1946, he founded Godbersen-Smith Construction Company in Ida Grove. With a solid foundation in the construction field, Harold Godbersen took his ideas and innovations from years of work, and in an effort to share those ideas, he took them a step further than his own construction business. He incorporated these innovations and ideas into GOMACO Corporation, which was established in 1965 by Harold and his son, Gary Godbersen, as a division of Godbersen-Smith Construction Company. Harold had developed a double oscillating screed finisher, and in the early 1960s, those machines were built by his construction firm and rented to Iowa contractors for concrete bridge deck finishing. When state specifications in Iowa incorporated the use of the finisher, regional contractors began buying the machines, creating a market for this product.
GOMACO began with three employees to manufacture and sell the finishers to meet the needs in the bridge market. Soon after, contractors in the Midwest began buying the finishers and more states' specifications incorporated the use of the machines. It was also at this time that GOMACO established a nationwide distributor network for sales in the United States.
In 1966, GOMACO developed a cone drum or cylinder finisher to meet the needs for skewability and finishing wider bridge decks for freeways. That machine was introduced as the predecessor of today's C-450 concrete finisher which was introduced in 1969. Of all the machines manufactured by GOMACO today, the C-450 concrete finisher made GOMACO a recognized name in the construction industry in the late 1960s.
In those early years, product sales were closely related to an educational process. For contractors to use the C-450 concrete finisher, states first had to grant approval.
In 1969, the company expanded the product line to meet the needs of the city street and secondary paving markets with the development of an enlarged C-450 on tracks with the 550 slipform paver.
Engineers were also working on prototype machines that would revolutionize the construction industry. Machines under development had the ability to trim grade for sidewalks, molds that could pave five foot (1.5 m) wide sidewalk, and a slipform machine capable of trimming and pouring a 42 inch (107 mm) wide curb with gutter.
On to the Seventies
The 1970s found GOMACO, with a workforce of 30 employees, increasing their product line. A new fine grade trimmer was introduced and GOMACO's first slipform curb and gutter machine debuted, the GT-6000. The trim/pour concept designed into the GT-6000 was a significant milestone for GOMACO Corporation.
The introduction of the GT-6000 also required a whole new kind of education. At the time, contractors were forming curb and gutter by hand with a daily production of only 200 feet (61 m). With the new GT-6000, contractors could increase production, achieving the same 200 feet (61 m) of production in only one-half hour.
As contractors began to approach GOMACO with needs for equipment for specific applications, other machines were developed. The capabilities of the GT-6000 were expanded to include barrier and monolithic curb, gutter and sidewalk.
GOMACO International Inc. was founded in 1973 to further develop product distribution and expand exports. GOMACO currently markets products in over 90 countries. In 1974, the three-track GT-6300 was introduced with expanded capabilities.
In GOMACO's first 10 years, there were other products developed to meet the needs of contractors in the bridge market, including a concrete conveyor and Spanit® Work Bridge. Additional equipment was developed for secondary and street paving, including the introduction of the HW-165 paver in 1975.
GOMACO Corporation received an Iowa Governor's Export Award in 1978 at the Seventh Annual Governor's Conference on Export Expansion. The award recognized GOMACO's contribution to the state of Iowa in export excellence.
The following year, in 1979, Harold W. Godbersen was named Iowa Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration. This honor recognized his achievements in promoting the free enterprise system through GOMACO Corporation.
Acclaim in the Eighties
In February of 1980, GOMACO Corporation was a national recipient of the President's "E" Award, an honor for international export excellence administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce. GOMACO's line of construction equipment expanded into the interstate and mainline paving markets. The GP-2500 full-width slipform paver was introduced in 1980 to answer the needs of contractors. Products were developed for canal paving and irrigation work, as well as rehabilitation and reconstruction projects, including cold planing.
GOMACO's first dowel bar insertion (DBI) system, the 650 DBI machine, was used on a runway project at the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport in 1983. The bars were placed on a conveyor and then loaded manually into vibrating forks that installed the bars into the concrete slab. The bar inserter followed the placement of the first lift of concrete, and stopped over joints to place the bars. It was followed by another paver which applied the second concrete lift.
In 1984, the GP-5000 slipform paver was introduced to slipform mainline and airport pavements at widths up to 50 feet (15.2 m), making the paver the world's largest ever built for concrete paving.
An office for GOMACO International Ltd. was opened in Slough, England. GOMACO International Ltd. provides service for the sales and marketing of GOMACO construction equipment, as well as product service, parts and distributor support throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
GOMACO International was honored as a national recipient of the "E Star" Award for continued expansion of exports in May 1984. The highest export award to be conferred on a U.S. firm was presented to GOMACO International in a special presentation by President Ronald Reagan at the White House in Washington, D.C.
In February 1985, GOMACO began the construction of a new manufacturing facility in Ida Grove. The new plant included 120,000 square feet. (11,148 m2) of space to manufacture the larger equipment models in the product line. In the fall of 1987, the new GOMACO facility was expanded with a 54,000 square feet (5,017 m2) addition.
The DBI system underwent large improvements in the mid 1980s. First, it was modified to follow the paver alone. Two oscillating screeds were added to the rear of the machine, which resealed the slab after the insertion process. This allowed the DBI paving process to go from three to two necessary machines. A year later, in 1987, the DBI system was installed onto a four-track paver, rather than following behind independently. Rideability and production were significantly improved. The dowel bar insertion process was now computer controlled with encoders installed on the tracks to calculate the intervals between bar insertion. The bars could be manually loaded into a trolley which traveled across the width of the slab and distributed the bars into individual slots beneath the insertion forks.
In 1988, GOMACO designed and built an underwater concrete paver for the Coachella Canal in California. It was designed to span the canal's top width of 103 feet (31.4 m), with a bottom width of 48 feet (14.6 m) and sloping walls of 2.5:1.
The 1980s also brought the advancement of computer technology and the ability to incorporate computer processors into equipment design. This ten-year period brought about such innovations as fast-track concrete paving, which led to the design of a minimum-clearance paver. A slipform paver with minimum clearance on both sides makes it possible to work between lanes of traffic or temporary safety barrier that separates the work area from the traffic.
Starting the 1990s Firmly Established as the Worldwide Leader in Concrete Paving Technology
In the early 1990s, GOMACO's reputation as the worldwide leader in concrete paving technology was firmly in place. Machine control systems were advancing at a record pace, new machine introductions were being announced, and awards for both our equipment and our founding fathers were being won throughout the industry.
The American Concrete Pavement Association (ACPA) honored Harold Godbersen posthumously as the recipient of the 1991 Hartmann/Hirshman Outstanding Achievement Award. The award recognizes and honors outstanding contributions to the concrete paving industry. Gary Godbersen was one of the first 12 people to be inducted into the Construction Equipment Hall of Fame.
New machine innovations were constantly being introduced in the 1990s. The four-track GHP-2800 was introduced at CONEXPO '93. The "H" calls attention to the paver's hydrostatic design. The two-track and four-track GP-4000 was also in development at this time. The new modular design paver would pave widths from 12 to 50 feet (3.7 to 15.2 m). The pavers were equipped with the new Network Controller system, a replacement to the Micro Controller System introduced in 1987. The new system provided the technology for the 21st Century, allowing total machine management. The new Network allowed each component to talk to the others over a high-speed communication network with the two-wire system, allowing up to 32 external devices for unlimited future possibilities.
Stringless paving through the use of a laser system was accomplished in May 1995. A three-track Commander III was outfitted with a laser system from Laser Alignment. The project was slipforming floors, waste pits, walls, feed troughs and sidewalk for a large hog confinement operation in Milford, Utah.
GOMACO unveiled and tested the new In-The-Pan Dowel Bar Inserter (IDBI) attachment, a revolutionary concept in the placement of dowel bars across a concrete slab. The IDBI attachment allows the placement of dowel bars on-the-go with a GP-4000 two-track paver. This was accomplished without extending the length of the paver.
During this time, a two-lift paving mold was developed, incorporating two-layer paving into a single-mold design. The system eliminates the use of more equipment for the job and having to extend the paver to great lengths between the front and rear legs for second-layer paving.
A new "little" GOMACO achievement was showcased at CONEXPO '96, the GT-3200 curb and gutter machine. The GT-3200 was built to have more horsepower than any machine in its class, weighed under 12,000 pounds (5443 kg) and had a unique rotary actuator system allowing the front track to turn up to 90 degrees either side of the straight ahead line.
In 1997, a new storage facility was built near Plant 2's location. This 20,000 square feet (1858 m2) building is used to house inventory of machines, parts and components.
As the old millennium was drawing to a close, GOMACO was gaining momentum. 1999 was a history making year for the company. The first new generation Commander III went to work in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The new generation Commander III was designed for paving in the 21st Century and featured the new G21 digital control system. The three-track machine had an operating speed of up to 44 feet (13.4 m) per minute and a travel speed of up to 97 feet (29.6 m) per minute. The hydraulic system was redesigned and equipped with user-friendly electronic-over-hydraulic controls, providing easy, accurate adjustments and an instant controlled response. "Smart" cylinders eliminated the sprocket, chain, and potentiometer at the top of each leg and, combined with the new G21 controller, made push-button steering setup possible. Some of the new generation Commander III's exterior parts were redesigned with lighter-weight, industrial-strength molded fiberglass. A red, reflective striping was also added for the new generation "look."
GOMACO would return to Alabama again in March to make world history. A GOMACO GT-3600 curb and gutter machine and a three-dimensional (3D) control system made history on March 10 when a radius was successfully slipformed without the guidance of stringline. Then, on September 14, Forrest Avenue in Ida Grove, Iowa, became the first street in the United States to be paved with a stringless system. All of the grading and paving work was accomplished with the stringless system. A GOMACO 9000 trimmer equipped with 3D stringless controls prepared the grade. A GOMACO GP-2600 two-track paver paved the new street with integral curb 27 feet (8.2 m) wide.
On to the New Millennium
Gary Godbersen was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 2000 for the states of Iowa and Nebraska by the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year committee. The award is a showcase for some of the finest thinkers in business today, providing recognition, honor, and inspiration to the economy's business leaders. Harold Godbersen was inducted into the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Iowa's Hall of Fame. He was among 11 inductees recognized for demonstrating extraordinary leadership and commitment to the betterment of the highway, bridge, and municipal/utility construction industry of Iowa. Gary and Harold were both named as two of America's "Top 100 Private Sector Transportation Design and Construction Professionals of the 20th Century" by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA). The award drew public attention to the enormous contributions made by the men and women of the transportation construction industry who played a key role in the development of the nation's transportation network during the 20th Century. ARTBA also recognized GOMACO as a recipient of an Interstate "Pioneer" award in recognition for leadership roles in the development and continuation of the United States Interstate system.
GOMACO's new rubber-tracked placer, the RTP-500, was put to work in April 2001 on a job site in Dallas, Texas. The RTP-500 features the largest auger-style receiving hopper and longest placing conveyor in the industry, and its rubber tracks allow it to go where other placers can't on job sites. The PS-4000 placer/spreader was also developed in 2001. The PS-4000 was a special request by a contractor wanting a machine that could be both an aggregate spreader for base preparation and also a concrete spreader.
On Tuesday morning, September 21, 2001, GOMACO was once again making history. The Ida Grove, Iowa, golf course became the first in the world to have cart path slipformed without stringline. A GOMACO GT-3600 with 3D stringless controls slipformed approximately 400 feet (121.9 m) of eight foot (2.4 m) wide cart path on the course.
The revolutionary GOMACO Smoothness Indicator (GSI®) was introduced at World of Concrete 2003. The GSI was the first in the industry to provide smoothness readings for both wet or cured concrete and asphalt slabs. The non-contact smoothness instrument is so versatile it provides multi-application usage and is designed for anyone who needs to measure the smoothness of a surface.
Improvements and innovations to GOMACO's line of concrete paving equipment were continually happening. GOMACO introduced the new Hook-and-Go mold mount system for the GT-3600 curb and gutter machine. The Hook-and-Go has no pins or latches and makes changing molds quick and easy. A detachable telescoping auger/strike-off mold was created for the GHP-2800 slipform paver. The new attachment gives contractors the benefit of a mold that can either be open front or auger/strike-off. The V2 mold for variable-width paving was also introduced. The V2 is a hydraulically adjustable mold for on-the-go paving of tapered slabs, and was designed to adapt to virtually any paver or prime mover working in the field.
GOMACO's powerful new G22 digital control system was introduced at Bauma 2007 in Munich, Germany. The G22, exclusive to GOMACO equipment, is a revolutionary software and operating system combining intelligence and simplicity. It has a graphical display that provides the operator with an easy to understand interface to the machine controls. It is also available with a dual-language option capable of operating in English and the contractor's choice of language. The new GT-3400 curb and gutter machine, featuring the G22, was also on display at Bauma. The right-side or left-side pour capable GT-3400 is remote-controlled, allowing the operator total freedom to move around the machine for ultimate visibility and operational safety.
A new Mazak Mark II laser began work as part of GOMACO's production process at the Plant 2 facility. Higher quality parts, faster throughput time, and the ability to run smaller quantities are just some of the advantages of the laser. It also has the ability to operate unmanned, so it can run 24 hours a day.
The last quarter of 2007 found GOMACO undertaking a huge design/build project for the All-American Canal. It involved building three pieces of equipment, a water stop machine, canal paver, and work bridge, capable of paving a 40 foot (12.2 m) slope with 25 foot (7.6 m) wide canal floor. Canal slopes were either 1.75:1 or 2:1. The project was ultimately a huge success for both GOMACO and Coffman Specialties, the contractor in charge of paving the All-American Canal.
GOMACO purchased the former Mau Trucking building and outdoor storage area in Ida Grove. Its large outdoor area has been the testing site for several new GOMACO innovations. A permanent bridge pier was built on site for the assembly and testing of canal equipment, including all three pieces of the All-American Canal equipment. The Mau office building was eventually renovated to become the home for the GOMACO 3D Machine Controls Group.
In 2008, GOMACO expanded the Plant 2 production area when they enclosed a 100,000 square foot (9290 m2) "cold storage" area. The current production area measures approximately 274,000 square feet (25,455 m2).
At CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2008, GOMACO introduced the RTP-RCC paver. It's a combination of the power, capacity, and mobility of the RTP-500 with a new GOMACO-designed RCC (roller-compacted concrete) screed.
On May 22, 2008, GOMACO Corporation was notified that we had been approved for ISO 9001 certification. The certification was the result of a year-long series of meetings, training sessions, audits, and changes in the GOMACO manufacturing system.
January 2009 brought the introduction of the new IDBI attachment for the Commander III four-track paver. The self-contained, self-powered attachment has its own outriggers to aid in attaching the unit to the paver, and for loading and unloading the unit for transport. The IDBI controls were designed in-house by GOMACO control engineers and feature the new GOMACO-exclusive G+® control system. An IDBI attachment for the larger GOMACO pavers was introduced in the summer of 2009.
The end of the decade brought the introduction of a new mold and bar inserter, the 5400 series mold and 5400 series bar inserter. The new mold features a box design, a vertically-adjusting mold mount, telescoping end sections, and a spreader plow mounted to the frame's T-rail. The 5400 series bar inserter offers ease of use with rear loading from the paver's work bridge, while the bar is inserted in front of the mold.
2010 and beyond for GOMACO
GOMACO was the recipient of a 2010 Global Iowa Export Award. The award is presented to companies expanding their market by conducting business internationally. Recipients are chosen based on their past year's achievements and commitment to exporting as a component of their business strategy.
The first two-track GP-2400 slipform paver was put to work on a parking lot project in Canada in June 2010. The new paver has the same frame and engine as the independent IDBI, has a 3100 series open-front mold, and it was the first paver to be equipped with the GOMACO-exclusive G+ control system.
On October 21, 2010, IronPlanet (www.ironplanet.com) broke its record for the highest value item ever sold in its online auction, and the machine was a 2008 GOMACO GHP-2800 slipform paver. A buyer from Louisiana won the paver with the highest bid of $930,000. The overall auction brought in $7.2 million, with 13,500 bidders from 140 countries. John Carlo, Inc., the previous owner of the GHP-2800, used the auction to liquidate its fleets in Florida and Michigan.
GOMACO created their own in-house 3D Machine Controls Group at the end of 2010. The focus of the new group will be sales, service and support of 3D machine controls, as well as the development of GOMACO's own proprietary 3D controls software.
The 4400 barrier machine was unveiled at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 4400 features a new frame design for right-side and left-side slipforming, a U-shaped platform, and a control console that slides from side-to-side.
GOMACO International Ltd. purchased a new facility in Witney, Oxon, England. The larger facility and storage yard will allow for better customer service, including increased space to stock paving equipment for quicker delivery, and a new expanded shop area to service equipment.
Construction began in May 2011 on a new electrostatic 2K power and free paint line conveyor system at Plant 2. The system features an approximately 1800 foot (549 m) long conveyor system which will transport GOMACO parts through a series of phases. They include: shot blast booth, wash system, primer booth, top coat booth, and cure oven. The first production parts passed through each phase of the new paint line on December 27, 2011.
GOMACO University offered 3D stringless paving and IDBI classes for the first time in their 2012 schedule. A new IDBI trainer simulated an IDBI’s front and rear pans, insertion forks, and G+ control system for student hands-on learning. The stringless classes were taught by GOMACO’s 3D paving specialists and covered all the essentials of stringless paving. Five 3D classes had to be scheduled to accommodate the student numbers interested in attending.
The first GOMACO machines were sold into the country of Mongolia. The sale included a PS-2600, four-track GP-2400, and a T/C-400. The equipment would be used to slipform a new airport close to a copper/gold mine in Oyu Tolgoi, Mongolia.
The first Caterpillar C9.3 Tier 4 engine was installed on a GHP-2800 slipform paver. The paver was also the first GHP-2800 with the G+ control system.
GOMACO cylinder finisher C-450, serial number 900800-348, was the final machine to roll off the Assembly floor at Plant 1. The Plant 1 Assembly Department moved to Plant 2 on Saturday, March 24, 2012. All GOMACO machine assemblies are now at Plant 2.
The GOMACO 4400 barrier paver, designed specifically for international right-side, left-side paving projects, was introduced to the European market at Intermat 2012 in Paris, France.
GOMACO built a new GT-3200 zero-clearance sidewalk paver specifically for sidewalk rehabilitation projects. A contractor from Canada approached GOMACO with the special request for a sidewalk machine. The GT-3200 sidewalk paver has a rock placing mold on the front, a sidewalk paving mold on the back, and an extra-long 14 foot (4.3 m) folding conveyor.
The final machine to be top coat painted after being fully assembled was painted at GOMACO. It was a four-track GP-2600, serial number 905300-159. Now, all machines are built from parts already top coat painted prior to assembly. It makes the machine construction process faster and also allows parts for sales orders to be ready to ship the same day they are ordered.
The GOMACO Commander III is the recipient of Road & Bridges magazine’s Contractor’s Choice Awards. The three-track Commander III is the gold medal winner in the concrete curb and gutter machines division, and the four-track Commander III is the gold medal winner in the concrete pavers division. They have been voted the top machines in their respective categories every year since 2007.
G+ ConnectTM debuted on a GOMACO four-track GHP-2800. G+ Connect is the new, proprietary CAN-based network on GOMACO products that allows fast, two-way communication between all accessories and the exclusive G+ controller. It allows all of the components of the system to easily communicate with each other for precision setup and paving. At the heart of G+ Connect is the G+ control system and GOMACO's new paving software. The system was designed in-house by GOMACO's own control specialists.
Today, GOMACO offers a complete line of concrete paving and related support equipment with over 50 different machines manufactured by a workforce of over 300 full-time GOMACO employees, plus the staff of GOMACO International Ltd., and a worldwide distributor network for sales and service.