When Depth Matters: Consider OKM Over Traditional Hobby Metal Detectors

OKM is renowned for its innovative development and manufacturing of geophysical instruments, including metal detectors, ground-penetrating radars, 3D ground scanners, and water detectors. These tools are employed in various fields, such as archaeology, treasure hunting, military mine detection, and environmental surveys.

OKM Detection Devices

The company’s journey began in 1998, when founder Andreas Krauss, driven by a passion for treasure hunting, began experimenting in his garage. His goal was to create a 3D ground scanner that not only penetrated deeper into the earth but also provided a visual representation of what lay beneath the surface before any digging was done.

To achieve this vision, Krauss teamed up with his friend, Christian Becker, a skilled software programmer, who helped integrate advanced visualization software with the hardware. This collaboration culminated in the creation of a groundbreaking device that revolutionized the way subterranean objects and structures are detected. By 2001, Andreas Krauss brought on businessman Ingolf Mueller to be a third co-founder, and a year later, OKM had not only perfected its innovative sub-terrain detecting products but had also established a dealer and reseller network, earning global recognition for its technological advancements in geophysical research tools.

In 2021, OKM experienced a significant shift in leadership when co-founder Ingolf Mueller retired, citing his age and desire to enjoy his retirement. Stepping into the role of CEO was Stephan Grund, a young but remarkably talented individual. Grund brings a robust educational background to the table, holding a Bachelor’s and a Master’s in Science in Business from WHU and ESCP Europe, respectively. Additionally, he has enhanced his technical expertise with a certificate in Computer Programming from Le Wagon, positioning him well to lead OKM into the future. Christian Becker helps him lead as the CTO and Andreas Krauss continues to support OKM as a consultant. 

In 2023 to grow the US market and to support their current US customers, dealers, and resellers, OKM opened up a US headquarters in Pineville, North Carolina. The new office is managed by Mark Harris, Vice President of Sales and Operations. Mark is highly knowledgeable about each product, customer-oriented, and exceptionally patient. He adequately handled all my detailed inquiries about their line or products, their technology and company or ensured the right team member could assist further. Trust me, I have asked many detailed questions, and those familiar with my writing or who know me personally are aware that I tend to be quite direct.

Photos of OKM’s American Headquarters


In a short three-year span under Stephan Grund’s leadership, OKM has won the following awards:

  • ChampionsMEET Award Future Champion in Thuringia 2023
  • Second Place in Succession Category at ThEx Awards 2022
  • OKM Turkey received the “Company of the Year Award” 2021

For US and Canadian readers, you might have seen OKM products featured twice on Curse of Oak Island and once on Expedition Unknown. 

Curse of Oak Island
OKM’s CEO, Stephan Grund, with Rick Lagina &
Gary Drayton Using the eXp 6000 Professional Plus

Expedition Unknown
With Josh Gates and Using the OKM Gepard GPR 3D. 

To date, all of OKM’s products have been manufactured in Germany with strict manufacturing standards and quality control.

OKM’s Customer Support

The customer support is truly outstanding, as I can attest from personal experience. They offer comprehensive assistance through video calls and hands-on training sessions, which are available in person to potential customers, current customers, dealers, and resellers. Additionally, their extensive range of educational materials, accessible on both their website and YouTube channel, further exemplifies their commitment to customer education and service excellence. While OKM’s products may carry a higher price tag compared to those of its competitors, the value they offer is significantly enhanced by their exceptional support, thorough training, and excellent customer service. These elements are crucial when investing in sophisticated equipment, ensuring users not only purchase a product but also receive the comprehensive backing necessary to utilize it effectively.

This claim is further validated by the prestigious roster of institutions and corporations that have purchased and actively use OKM’s devices. Notable among these are the University of Leeds – School of Mechanical Engineering, Lebanese University, and the European Union – EU Libya Expertise, all of which underscore the trust and credibility OKM has earned across various sectors.

Garry Mueller, owner of Treasure Coasts Metal Detectors states:

” As treasure hunters venture beyond traditional metal detectors to embrace technologies like Ground Penetrating Radar and other sophisticated ground scanning equipment, selecting a reputable provider is critical. Considering the significant investment involved in acquiring such advanced equipment, it’s crucial to choose a company renowned for exceptional customer support. OKM distinguishes itself as the top choice in this specialized market, known for its dedication to customer care and the reliability of its high-quality products. As a dealer representing multiple brands, OKM is offering some of the best customer support I have seen in the treasure hunting industry.”

Detection Depth of Their Current Product Line

Like any depth-detecting device, from basic metal detectors to advanced probes, the listed depths for OKM products can vary depending on soil conditions. For instance, in ideal conditions, such as the consistently wave-washed sands of Florida beaches, OKM’s range extends from the Pulse Nova, which can detect up to 10 feet, to the GeoSeeker, capable of reaching depths of up to 820 feet. However, performance and what you are looking for may differ in less-than-ideal conditions, such as mineralized or compacted soils. For example, archaeologists searching for unmarked graves in heavily trafficked areas will find that soil composition affects depth detection. Or oil companies looking for abandoned gas wells to excavate for environmental reasons (see Federal Document 43 CFR 3162.3-4) might run into the debris left by mining companies or illegal dumping, which would affect depth detection. Similarly, in mineral-rich caliche soil — a whitish-gray or cream-colored layer of calcium magnesium carbonates making a natural cement and often with black or other mineralized soil mixed in, restricts the earth’s electromagnetic signal, — therefore the penetration depth of OKM detectors and probes could be significantly reduced. However, this limitation applies to any brand of metal detectors or probes.

Exploring the Versatile Applications of OKM Detection Equipment

From treasure hunting and discovering hidden caches to locating underground structures and meeting industrial requirements, below is a brief overview of the diverse applications for the OKM product line.

  • Underground Infrastructure: Includes walls, basements, concrete reinforcements, and foundations.
  • Concealed Spaces: Detects hidden cavities, graves, sepulchers, and underground bunkers.
  • Water Detection: Identifies water levels, underground rivers, aquifers, and waterlogged areas.
  • Utility Mapping: Locates buried pipelines, conduits, cable harnesses, and utility lines.
  • Historical Remnants: Uncovers backfilled wells, galleries, trenches, dugouts, and other archaeological features.
  • Waste Management Systems: Finds septic tanks, distribution boxes, and drainage systems.
  • Secret Constructions: Reveals secret tunnels, military shelters, and hidden storage facilities.
  • Valuables and Relics: Searches for buried treasure chests, statues, and valuable caches.
  • Archaeological Sites: Helps in the exploration of ancient ruins, lost cities, and historical artifacts.
  • Geological Formations: Assesses soil layers, rock beds, and mineral deposits.
  • Environmental Surveys: Supports environmental assessments and conservation efforts by mapping impacted areas.

Geographic Markets Using OKM Products

I was surprised to learn from Stephan, the owner, though it makes sense, that the Middle East is a significant market for them due to the popularity of using their equipment for archaeological digs and treasure hunting.

Some of the notable items found in the Middle East using OKM equipment are:

The US is a growing market with also some impressive finds:

  • 5 ft, using Rover C, Civil War Wooden Wagoon Wheel (North Carolina)
  • 8 to 10 ft Cache of Gold Coin in a ceramic vase using eXp 4500 (Arizona)
  • 20 ft Ship Mast, Spanish Galion, Rover C (Florida) 

OKM Product Line High-Level Overview

OKM’s product range includes the following categories of devices:

  • Metal Detector PI (Pulse Induction): Technology. Ideal for gold prospecting, relic hunting, and law enforcement and military uses.
  • Ground Penetrating Radars (GPR): Ideal for archaeology, geotechnical engineering, and serious treasure hunting.
  • 3D Ground Scanners: Ideal for detecting voids, cavities, archaeological finds, and treasure hunting
  • Water Finders: Ideal for locating underground water resources, which is invaluable in regions where water is scarce, cavity detection, geotechnical engineering

Software

Software plays a critical role in the functionality of OKM devices. The company develops its own software solutions to assist in data visualization and analysis. The software is designed to be user-friendly and suitable for beginners. It also features intuitive controls that simplify the detection process. 

The software offers advanced visualization capabilities, rendering detected anomalies and structures in both 2D and 3D graphics. Users can accurately determine the position, size, and depth of hidden objects, which facilitates a thorough analysis. Moreover, the system includes comprehensive documentation features, allowing for detailed analysis and record-keeping of detected objects and structures. This makes it an ideal tool for both novice and experienced users who are seeking to effectively explore and document sub-surface findings. Additionally, the software is thoughtfully designed to be multilingual and includes various data export functions, from detailed PDF reports to simple image JPG exports.

OKM Products and Winter Conditions

OKM’s 3D ground scanners and PI metal detectors are designed to perform optimally in cold conditions, with operating temperatures as low as -20°C (-4°F). They remain effective even in the presence of snowfall, fresh snow, and slush, which do not affect measurement accuracy. In contrast, metal detectors that utilize VLF technology — especially those without multifrequency capabilities — can experience interference from de-icing salts that are washed from roads into the field, thereby affecting their performance.

Even though OKM’s website, instructional material and probably their warranty limits the use to specific temperatures, I do know of one individual who used the Pulse Nova PI Detector with the Frame Coil Xi104 at -37°C (-34.6°F).

Further Innovations at Tip of Customers Hands

OKM new products now feature remote updates — a significant advancement from previous requirements where customers had to send units back to Germany for updates. With current technology, customers can upgrade their units directly, receiving the latest features and enhancements in minutes. To update, simply Open the detector app on your Android smartphone (or Smartwatch) and select Settings › Update App from the menu. Alternatively, you can find the updates in the Information menu: Tap the menu icon (three dots) in the top right-hand corner and select Check for Update.

The app will guide you automatically through the update process. For more information, please refer to the corresponding Manual. If you encounter technical difficulties installing the app, please contact your dealer.

Beyond the OKM Engineering Manufacturing Walls

As technology advances, OKM continues to adapt by developing new tools that push the boundaries of what is possible in sub-surface exploration. This innovation isn’t limited to in-house development alone; OKM also partners with universities and institutes for research and development.

Conclusion

Although my writing and this online publication primarily focus on hobby metal detectors, which most weekend detectorists might find sufficient for searches, there are scenarios where deeper detection capabilities are essential. These include applications such as prospecting, archaeology, cache treasure hunting, construction, and mining exploration. For these purposes, I highly recommend exploring the OKM product line. Their impressive technology, stringent manufacturing standards, and exceptional customer support make their detectors well-suited for tasks where depth is crucial.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *