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During the mid 1960s, Brooklyn Union Gas Company pioneered the use of an air lance, air compressor, and vacuum truck as a better way to dig and reduce the costs associated with approximately 30,000 annual street openings made for gas distribution pipe repair. This experimentation led Dravo Corporation of Pittsburgh, PA to develop a specialized air tool for digging, later named "AirSpade," for utility use. In 1985, an independent company, Briggs Technology, Inc. was spun out of Dravo to commercialize this new methodology.
In 1991, a group of engineers left Briggs Technology and formed Concept Engineering Group, Inc. (CEG). Along with expansion and refinement of the product line, CEG developed a patented supersonic nozzle, an advancement that greatly increased the effectiveness and efficiency of the tool.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, AirSpade became widely accepted by other utilities including Baltimore Gas & Electric, PECO (Excelon), and Pennsylvania-American Water. During the same timeframe CEG also worked with the Department of Defense, applying the AirSpade technology towards uncovering landmines and unexploded ordnance.
Applications within the arboricultural and landscaping fields began to emerge as tree service companies recognized the advantages of this non-impact, non-destructive methodology for tree-care related excavation. Bartlett Tree Experts, the largest and most recognized tree service company in the US, was an early adopter.
In 2008, the CEG AirSpade product line was acquired by Guardair Corporation. Since then, sales of AirSpade have grown dramatically through the leverage provided by Guardair’s sales and marketing clout, and increased national and international exposure. Currently, AirSpade boasts over 50 active dealers and distributors spread over North America and a dozen foreign countries. With superior performance, user-friendly features, and unequaled customer support, AirSpade has become the industry standard and the tool of choice for thousands of professionals world wide.