Hendrickson announced plans to roll out a number of new suspension products and components over the next five years as it gears up to increase its global presence.

On the truck front, Hendrickson is introducing two rear suspensions, the Softek Plus and Vocational Airtek, as well as a yet-unnamed independent front suspension.

According to Keith Stevenson, chief development officer for the Boler Group, Hendrickson's parent company, “The Softek is available to the heavy-truck market now, with plans to roll out the Vocational Airtek and independent front suspension we've designed in mid-2007.”

The Softek uses a patented “monoleaf” design that, in conjunction with a proprietary Hendrickson front axle, shaves 110 lb. out of the front suspension, yet still fits neatly within the existing front end envelope of a heavy truck, said Stevenson.

The Vocational Airtek is based on the company's original Airtek, but with more capacity and less weight. While the original maxed out at 14,000 lb., the vocational model is available in 16,000-, 18,000-, and 20,000-lb. configurations, yet weighs 175 lb. less.

Initially earmarked for the RV industry, the new independent front suspension will eventually be available for heavy-duty vehicles. Stevenson said Hendrickson is currently in discussions with truck OEMs about offering it as an option on 2010 to 2012 model trucks.

On the trailer side of the business, the company is introducing a new generation of P-90 wheel-end spindles, the second generation of its Hendrickson Unitized System (HUS), and a brand-new HNP wheel end designed to offer a new size option between the P- and N-spindles commonly used on trailer wheel ends.

These development efforts are part of Hendrickson's new global expansion strategy, as it seeks to become less reliant on sales in North America. “Today, 90% of our revenues are generated in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico,” said Stevenson. “Over the next five years, we'd like to see that percentage fall to 65%… with business from the rest of the world climbing to 35%.”

Hendrickson is also beefing up efforts to form joint ventures abroad. The company has formed a 50% joint venture with India's largest truck maker, TATA, to build suspensions for that market under the name TECO, and has increased ownership in a joint venture in Spain to 50%.

In addition, China's National Heavy Truck Co. will used Hendrickson truck suspensions as standard starting in 2007. The company has opened an office in Turkey, with an eye on that country's truck and bus market.
www.hendrickson-intl.com