Link Mfg. has officially opened two new facilities, a 50,000-sq.-ft., manufacturing and training facility is located on the company’s Sioux Center, Iowa, campus, and a new Suspension Controls Engineering Center is located in Grand Rapids, Mich. Both locations will help Link accommodate its recent growth in staffing, manufacturing capabilities, engineering, software development and sales, the company says.
“The new Sioux Center and Grand Rapids facilities reflect the growth and momentum Link has continued to enjoy leading up to and following its recent suspension controls product line acquisition,” says Jim Huls, president, Link Manufacturing. “Link’s strategic focus on suspension, suspension controls and specialty products helped drive our expansion initiatives, and these new spaces will enable us to comfortably manage the positive impact as we continue our 42-year evolution.”
Link’s new plant in Sioux Center is now the manufacturing core for all of the company’s mechanical and electronic air management products, including its SmartValve Electronic Height Control Systems and Smart Air Management Systems (SAMS) dynamic air suspension control technology. Denoted Plant 4, Link says targeted sectors of the building are temperature controlled, which is critical for the precision manufacturing and assembly of many of the air management system’s sensitive valve and electronic components.
The light manufacturing space also offers Link the broad flexibility of being able to configure new manufacturing cells for other products as the need arises. The new Plant 4 will also serve as Link’s new consolidated shipping and receiving hub, continuing to leverage Iowa’s location near the geographic center of the country and thus major transportation corridors, the company says.
“Our new ‘Synergy Team Room’ is also located in Plant 4 and will be used for large company gatherings, corporate events, for continuing education and for new employee onboarding,” Huls says. “And we’ve been doing a lot more onboarding lately, with the addition of 50 new local staff in association with and in anticipation of the Sioux Center Plant 4 opening.”
Link’s new 15,000 sq-.ft., Grand Rapids-based Suspension Controls Engineering Center will help focus a new segment of Link’s product engineering team specifically engaged in developing and expanding Link’s growing suspension control technologies. Expert staff at the new location will also be engaged in the integration of the company’s SmartValve and SAMS air management systems with Link’s Road Optimized Innovations (ROI) technology.
Link says the Michigan staff’s expertise in electrical engineering, software development, testing and sales will help broaden Link’s overall capabilities and effectiveness. The Grand Rapids location also puts Link in close physical proximity to a rich industry talent pool, as the company continues to expand its focus into the whole-vehicle suspension control segment of the commercial vehicle market. With its Michigan assets online, Link will continue to expand its reach into medium- and heavy-duty truck, tractor, trailer, motorcoach, transit bus, shuttle bus, recreational vehicle and specialty vehicle markets, the company says.
The new Suspension Controls Engineering Center also will enhance Link’s world-class testing capabilities. Already certified to IATF 16949 standards at its Iowa facility, Link’s Michigan location will focus on new product prototype testing and validation. New capabilities include temperature and humidity cycle testing, submersion testing, tension elongation and compression testing, pressure, leak and lifecycle testing and optical comparison testing. The company says it also will perform warranty testing for all valve and suspension control products at the facility.
In addition to its original Sioux Center location and its new Grand Rapids center, Link maintains engineering and manufacturing facilities in Nisku, Alberta, Canada. The company currently employs more than 250 team members.
“Link’s expansion in Sioux Center and Grand Rapids shows that its roots are growing ever deeper in the heartland of Iowa, even as it continues to exert new gravitational influence near the center of the commercial vehicle universe,” Huls says. “What started with a revolutionary cab suspension in 1980, leading to ROI technology in 2019 and smart air management capabilities acquisition in 2021, is continuing to lead to growth, and ultimately to a new class of vehicle suspensions and suspension control systems.”