MADE IN SIOUXLAND: Link Manufacturing

'Link Manufacturing' develops and manufactures multiple suspension systems

SIOUX CENTER, Iowa - You see them around town or when you're driving along the highway, semi trucks!

Well, a lot of work goes into manufacturing them, many parts that link together to create a well oiled machine.

'Link Manufacturing' in Sioux Center, Iowa is the world leader in cab suspensions.

After one local truck driver decided to build his own cab suspension for his truck, an empire was born, now with over 2 million units installed.

For tonight's 'Made in Siouxland,' here is a look at 'Link Manufacturing'. 

 

'Link Manufacturing' in Sioux Center develops and manufactures multiple suspension systems for nine key customer markets, including a big one for Midwest living, agriculture.

The process first starts at the computer where a design is developed with links advanced engineering tools and software.

Engineers must understand fit and function from a design perspective before even building a prototype.

Then, the building of the suspensions take place throughout the plant, like on the Cabmate assembly line.

The line not only focuses on safety and creating an enjoyable environment, they also focus on production goals.

Barb Sickles, a Cabmate assembly  senior supervisor, said, "Cabmate assembly line roughly makes around 150 different Cabmates that we produce...With trying to produce 500 a day." 

Sickles said they do a lot of job training as they go along, so people willing to learn will get more than enough time to grow.

Once suspensions are made, they go through simulation to physical test the durability.

Director of Product Engineering Jeff Nibbelink said they collect test requirements from customers and data.

"That allows us to do our durability testing in a compressed amount of time but also to make sure that the product we sell to our customers is going to be durable in the field," Nibbelink said. 

Nibbelink said their products are two-fold, both safety and productivity products for customers.

Since its early days 'Link' has been locally and family owned and currently has over 200 employees.

Human Resources Manager Stephanie Regnerus said,  "Our employees make all the difference to us, our company is focused on our employees, we're a very family oriented environment...They care about each other, they look out for each other and that is the number one reason they keep coming back." 

There have been 16 building additions since the 80's when one local driver started the company by constructing his own cab suspension.

President Jim Huls said 'Link' has a goal of becoming more global over the next few years.

Even though scale is somewhat of a challenge for 'Link' against other companies, Huls said their Midwest roots make all the difference.

"There's a real commitment to this area by the company and by our owners...The culture and the value of northwest Iowa employees is very good and that's really the difference for us," said Huls. "Operational excellence, on-time delivery, high quality...When you call 'Link,' you get a human being that answers the phone...And we do our best to get you to the person that you need to talk to to answer your questions and get you the help you need."

Between Sioux Center and another location in Edmonton, Alberta Canada, 'Link' has 150,000 square feet of manufacturing facilities.


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