Link Mfg.
Link Electronic Smart Valve

Link obtains Hadley’s valve, suspension product lines

March 16, 2021
Addition of SmartValve, SAMS brands, technology expands Link’s capabilities, positions company for future innovation

Link Mfg. recently finalized an agreement to acquire valve and suspension control product lines and related expertise from Hadley Products Corp.

Hadley has supplied commercial truck, bus, RV, military and specialty vehicle markets since the 1940s. Its brands include the SmartValve Electronic Height Control System and Smart Air Management System (SAMS).

As part of Link’s investment, several key staff will transition from Hadley to the Link team, the companies said. Link also will obtain the rights to Hadley’s dynamic air suspension control technology that improves aerodynamics, reduces rolling resistance and increases tractive performance by balancing a vehicle’s weight at speed. Hadley’s entire portfolio of legacy mechanical height control valve business also is being procured by Link in the transaction.  

“Link’s strategy to bring revolutionary suspension control technology to market has been in progress for several years now, and this acquisition significantly expands our offering, broadens our sector penetration and will accelerate not only our development of new innovations, but will enhance our electrical engineering and software development capabilities,” said Jim Huls, president of Link Manufacturing.

“We’ve had a long-standing, collaborative relationship with Hadley. We know their products and capabilities well, and have formed time-tested professional relationships with those who are joining the Link family.”

The move accelerates Link’s expansion into the suspension control segment of the heavy truck market, increasing its synergistic influence on cab and chassis suspensions and extending its reach firmly into the trailer side of the marketplace. Overall, commercial vehicle suspension controls affect handling characteristics, the safety and comfort of drivers, and the protection of cargo.

With the 2019 introduction of its ROI Cabmate Suspension, Link already had emerged as an innovator in dynamic suspension damping for Class 8 tractor cabs, the company maintained. Now, armed with Hadley’s mechanically and electronically controlled air suspension technology, Link will boost its safety, fuel efficiency and load management solutions as well.

“The whole of this acquisition is worth far more than the sum of its parts, and leverages a long-term relationship forged between Hadley and Link that is more than 35 years in the making,” said Jim Fitzell, president and CEO of Hadley Products Corp. “With electronic valve and controls expertise from Hadley, coupled with smart suspension damping expertise from Link, customers will enjoy the best of both worlds.”

One of the most significant components of the acquisition is the enhanced control system capability secured by Link. In their previous work with major truck and trailer OEMs, Hadley’s engineers were key development partners in CAN bus system integration, using ISO 26262 compliance standards. Their experience and the proprietary firmware developed to interface with OEMs will benefit Link as the company seeks broader and deeper production integration with manufacturers in the future.

The newly acquired programming dexterity enhances Link’s existing capabilities, enabling it to deliver suspension control technologies that are hardened to meet today’s and tomorrow’s cybersecurity demands, Link added. And as new, advanced electric vehicles are planned, Link is positioned to provide smarter air management systems that minimize compressor run times, thus conserving commercial EVs critical energy.  

“Much like Link, Hadley has built a reputation for dependability, collaboration and responsiveness among its customers and within the commercial vehicle industry,” Huls said. “We sincerely value what Hadley has achieved and intend to enhance value to the marketplace through our broader array of suspension, suspension control and specialty products, and through the capabilities of our talented team.”

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