Better Ways to Bend

Leonhardt Manufacturing Co., Inc.
Written by Pauline Müller

Recent shifts in the geopolitical landscape underpinning the supply chain have seen a deliberate move toward reestablishing manufacturing on North American soil. While this will take time, some world-renowned fabricators never left. One such company is Leonhardt Manufacturing Co., Inc., a homegrown trailblazer in metal fabrication. For more than half a century, it has been the go-to for all things metal tubing and fabrication.

With fifty-two years of global industry expertise backing it, Leonhardt Manufacturing Co., Inc. is a trusted manufacturing partner to big brand original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Its main business lies in contract manufacturing of products and components that its customers need but do not have the capabilities to fabricate, so by seamlessly integrating with their fabrication processes, the company enables them to excel at their core skills. Leonhardt provides research and development, assistance with design for manufacturability, prototyping and supply chain management.

The company is best known for fabricating and bending steel tubes and its decorative tube-bending fabrication. Alongside this, it offers heavy-duty metal fabrication, welding assemblies, certified tooling, stamping, brazing, sub-assembly construction, and superb metal polishing.

Leonhardt serves manufacturing industries like automotive aftermarket, off-road, power sports, recreation, heavy equipment, and medical device OEMs from its 95,000-square-foot facility in Hanover, Pennsylvania. It also helps some of the world’s most respected furniture makers with leading-edge metals and finishes while creating solutions for even their most challenging requests and improving on some of these designers’ existing products.

As just-in-time supply is a priority of most of its largest customers that operate near its facility, Leonhardt Manufacturing has honed its processes to answer this need. In addition, it offers packaged parts shipped across North America and Europe and as far away as Asia.

“Our biggest drivers are quality, delivery, and cost. While we can supply locally, we also can ship globally, if needed,” says Zach Jacobs, Sales Manager. The company conducts thorough case studies and research to ensure that it has a complete grasp of the required form and function of products and their materials before going into final production.

Continuous evolution is a goal, so adapting to the needs of fabricators from an ever-growing list of industries remains a strategy for garnering new business and increasing its abilities. One example of this is its investment in new technology.

The company’s most recent installation is a next-generation BLM Eturn-52, multi-axis, variable-radius tube bender purchased to extend its existing collection of nine tube bending machines. This machine greatly enhances the ease of complex bending, clearing the way for new possibilities at better prices. It opens an exciting new world of practical and aesthetic adventure for designers who enjoy taking advantage of technology to stay current.

Leonhardt Manufacturing works smartly. As an agile and responsive tube fabrication partner, it runs lean operations developed and overseen by a process improvement engineer to ensure optimum output and minimum waste. Its overall approach to fabrication supports the 5S method, which upholds the principles of sorting, setting in order, shining (or cleaning), standardizing, and sustaining to maintain excellence throughout the organization.

Its 112 people are highly skilled tradespeople ranging from bend technicians, welders, fabricators, polishers, machinists, tool and die makers, and apprentices to a select group of engineering staff. The workforce is diverse and focused on quality and service.

“We have a collaborative team. Our people are excited about the work we do. [They] help us compete on a global scale,” says Jacobs who describes them as “world-class.”

The team looks back at the height of the COVID-19 crisis with pride. As several of its customers were essential service providers, the demand for its services remained high. That allowed the company to increase its staff count by over sixty people, making the period between 2020 and now a time of potent and impressive expansion.

Work satisfaction matters, as do ethics. “We all learned over the pandemic that family time is important,” he says, noting that these things “are taking different priority now. We have worked with our employees to convey that to the industry. Where industries were losing people, we were maintaining and hiring,” Jacobs tells me proudly.

The firm inspires by creating an environment in which each of its employees can cultivate individual responsibility and professional growth. This philosophy extends through mentorship, apprenticeship programs, learning opportunities throughout all its positions, and a “strong commitment to skilled trades.”

Leonhardt’s apprenticeship program remains one of its proudest contributions to the long tenures and ongoing professional development of its people. To this end, the team collaborates with local educational institutions, the chamber of commerce, and The Manufacturers’ Association of York to provide four state-approved apprenticeships. This commitment to perpetual growth and diversification has seen some very positive results take root, especially over the past few years.

The company also has a soft spot for supporting good local causes. Some of the beneficiaries include Roots for Boots, an organization providing real-time support for war veterans and their loved ones.

The company has always been firmly anchored in the wisdom gleaned from its earliest days as a sole-owned and operated machine shop. The common-sense approach continues to inform the entire organization with a practical, can-do attitude that translates into great service and innovation for customers. Today, the company combines this institutional wisdom with leading-edge technology as it moves forward in a new direction.

Leonhardt Manufacturing is future-oriented, so as a result of market trends and customer requests, the company is now expanding into lower-volume tube bending, which allows it to fabricate prototypes and small, custom runs of components with great ease. It has also set up a second division, Leonhardt Metal Worx, to serve markets and industries to which the parent company could not cater before. Harnessing all these new capabilities has put the company on an expansion trajectory.

It comes in the wake of the recent pandemic and its resulting international relations. This has led to the realization that homegrown supply chains are far safer to cultivate in contrast to putting all one’s trust in international shipping and fabrication.

“These things can quickly shut down supply chains. We’re seeing a lot of activity in this area and expect that trend to continue. [This] is bringing that work and opportunities back to the United States. I believe the demand for good domestic suppliers will continue to exceed the supply,” Jacob says with certainty.

That said, the company has strong growth on its mind, and its plans include sustained diversification of product lines and capabilities. As Jacobs confirms, its first half-century has taught the company and its people how things are done best. Moving ahead, it will apply this expertise to serve larger audiences with the same attention to outstanding quality and dedication it always has.

As Leonhardt’s sales teams focus on bringing in more furniture fabrication and automotive aftermarket work, an increasing number of start-ups in the medical device space are also reaching out to collaborate with its engineers. The company’s presence in the electric motorcycle market is also a cause for great positivity.

“Steel tube products are everywhere. We’re excited to grow and learn and see how we can help,” Jacobs says. Its determination to grow and improve is leading Leonhardt Manufacturing into a bright and stable future where the sky is the limit.



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