History

Hendrickson Europe History

In 1913, Magnus Hendrickson, a Swedish immigrant, started manufacturing commercial trucks in Chicago, Illinois. To meet the demand for robust, durable suspensions, Hendrickson introduced the first tandem walking-beam suspension in 1926.

Hendrickson’s pioneering spirit led to a series of valuable "firsts" that have changed the industry and inspired growth.  This growth began with the production of our first tandem suspension in 1926 to the innovative designs of today’s INTRAAX®, an integrated trailer air suspension / axle / brake system, AIRTEK®, an integrated front air suspension and axle for trucks and tractors, VANTRAAX™, a tandem suspension / axle / brake system and COMPOSILITE®, a lightweight steerable lift axle system.

As a result of this pioneering spirit, Hendrickson was able to design and manufacture new product lines and expand into new global markets. Hendrickson continued to extend their global reach into Europe, and in 2015, acquired four spring and stabiliser manufacturing plants from Frauenthal Automotive.

These four plants were established more than a century ago as independent manufacturing companies in their local countries in order to provide various types of metallurgical products. These products included forged parts, hand files, leaf springs and axles for horse-drawn carriages. As the industry changed, the manufacturing plant embraced new technologies and shifted all or part of their capacity and entered into the leaf springs business for railway and automotive demand.

1920s Plant
1930s Plant
 

During the second half of the 20th century, production was shifted mainly to heavy trucks and commercial vehicles.  Products such as coil springs and railway springs were divested in the early 1990’s. History of the ownership of each of the companies was long and complex with many owners and names, but stayed committed and focused more on the core activity of spring suspension manufacturing.

Parabolic leaf spring designs were introduced in the 1970’s and eventually became standard. Leaf spring designs for high stress were introduced into high volume applications, hollow (or tube) stabilisers, as well as mono-leaf springs, were also designed for heavy-duty axle applications.

In the 1990’s, an independent Austrian company began to acquire various leaf spring specialists from steel-makers in order to consolidate leaf spring producers into leading European leaf spring specialists for the heavy commercial vehicle market (truck, bus and trailer) under the Styria brand. Consolidation and restructuration was done as a continuous process to follow customer trends and technical evolution.

In 2012, the Styria name changed to Frauenthal Automotive and after the Hendrickson acquisition on January 1st 2015, the name changed to Hendrickson Commercial Vehicle Systems Europe.

Today, the four plants located in Austria, France (two locations) and Romania are providing state-of-the-art leaf spring and stabiliser solutions for the European OEMs and are proactive in the customer challenge to provide even more demanding weight saving solutions by optimized design, process or material.

Engaging and energizing the global trucking industry, Hendrickson remains at the forefront in the development of superior and unique suspensions systems and components for a new breed of trucks, tractors, trailers and buses.

1920s Plant
1921 Plant
 
Europe Locations