Auger manufacturer celebrates 75 years


January 19, 2017


Three generations — Marc Chipps, Art Vollweiler and Rick Vollweiler — inspect an AMS auger. Photo: AMS

In 1942, in the small town of American Falls, Idaho, a man had a dream and a vision. Art Vollweiler had the philosophy that “everything was a work of Art.” To Vollweiler, associating his name with everything he created meant that everything he designed and built was made to last. Thus was born Art’s Machine Shop, now known as AMS Inc.

The U.S. Soil Conservation Service recognized Vollweiler’s quality seal, and commissioned him to design and build a soil sampling tool. The auger design is still used today. Over the years, a complete line of hand sampling equipment, including hammer-driven samplers, specialty shovels and accessory items, were developed. All these products are still handcrafted in the U.S. In 1980, Vollweiler’s son Rick purchased AMS. He recognized the company’s potential in the global market and grew AMS from a successful local business to a global manufacturer. In 1988, Art’s grandson Marc Chipps joined the family business. Chipps worked his way through the ranks until becoming president of AMS in 2002.

AMS Inc. has since taken steps to expand into other areas, including pest management, health, mining, agricultural, construction, and many other industries. AMS has developed innovative ways to assist golf courses, railroads, real estate companies, and researchers at universities throughout the world.

“For three quarters of a century, AMS has been meeting the sampling needs of an ever-changing world,” notes Rick Vollweiler. “AMS has developed a variety of new products and has made numerous improvements to existing products by working closely with industry professionals, researchers, regulatory agencies, and inventors. The company’s technological innovation and development continues to improve established sampling methods and provide AMS customers with new and exciting ways to succeed.” Chipps is eager to continue the company’s legacy of quality: “Each piece is custom built and tested to meet the customer’s exact needs and specifications.”


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