Lippert Components Inc. (LCI) announced that it acquired the business and certain assets of Fortress Technologies LLC for $3.3 million. According to a press release, Fortress Technologies is a manufacturer of specialized RV chassis located in Middlebury, Ind.
Fortress had annualized sales of about $3 million. The business will be managed by LCI’s chassis division, allowing the team to further strengthen and expand manufacturing capabilities.
“The people and assets we’ve added from Fortress Technologies will help us better serve our customers by increasing our capacity, allowing us to meet the projected industry-wide growth,” said Scott Mereness, president of Drew Industries Inc., LCI’s parent company.
Todd Driver, COO for LCI, added, “The talented Fortress team, as well as a 102,000-square-foot building with a state-of-the-art powder-coating paint booth and other equipment, allows us to expand and fortify current operations.”
Lippert Components Inc. (LCI) will introduce several new products, provide comprehensive customer support and offer a sneak peek at its new website at the Dec. 3-5 Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) National Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.
According to a press release, LCI will be showcasing its upgraded Ground Control electronic leveling system, Linc Pad and Linc Digital Switch System, and Solera awning products. LCI will also debut several new products including Straptek, Flex Air Pin Box, Power Drive Tongue Jack, BlackJack, Tread Lite Power Step and Sure-Step.
“We are excited to be bringing several new products to market at the Louisville Show this year,” said Vice President of RV Sales Andy Murray. “We’ve talked with customers, identified their needs, and once again answered the call with these innovative new products.”
Lippert will be located at Booth No. 5, South Wing hallway at the Kentucky Exposition Center. New products will include:
• Straptek simplifies weight distribution hitch systems (WDS) for RVs by employing a ratchet winch and heavy-duty polyester straps instead of traditional chains and snap-up brackets. StrapTek also provides sway control and is compatible with most WDS.
• The Flex Air Pin Box combines the time-tested Trailair air ride technology with a Rota-Flex pivoting head to create a stable, smooth ride, reducing chucking and the vertical tug-of-war between fifth-wheels and tow vehicles.
• LCI’s Power Drive Tongue Jack allows for manual cranking, but also features a detachable handle, allowing RV owners to use a 3/4-inch hex head and power drill to easily run the jack up and down. Two integrated LED lights make it easy to operate at night.
• LCI will showcase several upgrades to its Solera awning line, including a redesigned short arm application with patent-pending friction joint adjustment; in-awning speakers; flood lights; and a variety of LED lighting options.
• The Linc Pad and Smart Switch System can wirelessly control sliderooms, awnings, lighting and landing gear. It monitors water tank and battery levels, and its CAN bus technology eliminates redundant wiring runs, creating BOM reduction opportunities.
• The revolutionary Blackjack automatic leveling system features the RV industry’s first and only self-contained hydraulic leveling legs. This fast and powerful one-touch system is easy to install and maintain with no hoses or power unit to set up.
• Ground Control 3.0’s “Hall Effect” leveling technology provides faster, more precise leveling with telescoping rear legs that do not need drop pins. The remote-compatible system features an auto-rehitch memory option, taking the guesswork out of hookup.
• The Tread Lite Power Step features lightweight aluminum treads, anodized components that stand up to the elements, a powerful heavy-duty motor and an upgraded mechanism that improves the sturdiness of the step.
• The aluminum Sure-Step fastens to the RV sidewall, rear wall, exterior slideout wall or over a wheel well, allowing OEMs to create versatile floor plans. Sure-Step’s adjustable feet contact the ground in the extended position, providing greater stability.
Elkhart, Ind.-based Lippert Components Inc. has introduced its new aluminum Tread Lite Power Step for motorhomes. According to a press release, the lightweight Tread Lite Power Step’s all new solid-drive mechanism allows it to extend and retract quicker, while providing more stability.
“For years the RV industry has been asking for a better, firmer power step, and our design team has again exceeded expectations,” said LCI Vice President of RV Sales Andy Murray. “The new Tread Lite Power Step has an upgraded drive system, coupled with a sleek European look. It is also designed to stand up against the elements with durable aluminum step treads.”
LCI’s research and development team collected customer feedback and conducted extensive research and testing to develop this premium Power Step, the company said.
LCI Motorized Sales Manager Marty McManus described the Power Step as quicker, stronger and much more stable. “We started from scratch on the design of this step and made substantial improvements,” he said. “The step features attractive aluminum extruded step treads which deploy and retract noticeably faster.”
The Tread Lite Power Step also features obstruction-sensing technology for added safety. A smart sensor monitors for obstructions during step extension and stops deployment if any are found.
McManus said the Tread Lite Power Step will be made to standard dimensions to fit current designs, but its extruded construction allows for custom sizes as well. He added, “For those who really want to set themselves apart, the linkage brackets can be color powder coated as well.”
The Tread Lite Power Step for motorhomes will also be available to LCI’s aftermarket customers.
Goshen, Ind., City Council members voted on second reading to approve an annexation agreement with Lippert Components Inc. involving a 56-acre plot of land.
Lippert, a supplier serving the recreational vehicle, manufactured housing and cargo/horse trailer industries, reportedly will develop the property for company uses.
The two-parcel plot of land is located north of C.R. 40, east of Corrie Drive and west of U.S. 33 — an area located outside, but contiguous to the city limits. Upon annexation, the property will be zoned Manufacturing-1 Industrial.
Referencing sewer and water needs for the property, Lippert has agreed to pay the city’s standard utility connection fee for the parcels when connections are made, as well as any sewer and water inspection costs and any future sewer or water tap-on fees. Lippert has agreed to construct a water main within the city right of way along the north side of C.R. 40 from Corrie Drive to the property when such a water connection becomes necessary.
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The New England RV Dealers Association (NERVDA) and Lippert Components Inc. (LCI) are teaming up to bring regional training to their dealers.
According to a press release, training on Schwintek in-wall slideouts, standard slideouts, leveling and stabilization, awnings and electronics will be conducted by the LCI training staff. Flagg RV in Uxbridge, Mass., will host training on Dec. 10 and Campers Inn, Merrimack, N.H., will host the training on Dec. 11.
“This is the first in a series of regional training sessions that we will bring to our dealers,” said Brian Sullivan of Campers Inn, who also serves as president of NERVDA. “We worked with Holly Nater at LCI to set up the program and our dealers are ecstatic with the opportunity to train many technicians over the course of the two days.”
Steve Flagg of Flagg RV and treasurer of NERVDA, noted, “We are rebuilding the association and wanted to show real value to the dealers who are already members of NERVDA, and to show the other dealers that we have a viable organization that can save them money and provide tangible benefits. For this first training session, we are not charging any dealership to send technicians. NERVDA dealers do get preferential registration for one week to enroll their technicians. We have 30 slots in Uxbridge and 50 slots in Merrimack. If NERVDA dealers do not fill all slots, any dealer in New England will be able to enroll their technicians at no charge.”
Registration for the training program is being facilitated by LCI and the deadline to register is Dec. 4. Nater, dealer relations and publications for LCI, said, “NERVDA has been a pleasure to work with in setting up the regional training program. We met Executive Director Bob Zagami during his Elkhart Open House visit to the area and he asked if we would consider doing training for their dealers in New England. We had all the details worked out in less than two weeks and we are ready to go! This can serve as a model for other state dealer associations to help reduce their training costs and train more technicians – it’s a win-win for everybody associated with this program.”
New England dealers can contact Zagami at firstname.lastname@example.org or (617) 974-3739. For information on the LCI training programs please contact Nater at email@example.com or (574) 312-7434.
Lippert Components Inc. (LCI) has introduced its new Sure-Step, an aluminum quad entry step that can be mounted in several locations to “remove constraints that RV floorplan designers have faced for years.”
According to a press release, the Sure-Step fastens to the RV sidewall, rear wall, exterior slideout wall or over a wheel well, allowing manufacturers to create more versatile and customized RV floorplans.
“Traditionally an entry step could not be mounted over the axle area or on a slideout, which left OEMs with very few options on door locations — particularly on fifth-wheel and toy hauler RVs,” said LCI Vice President of RV Sales Andy Murray. “The Sure-Step eliminates that constraint and opens up the potential for new floorplans that didn’t work before.”
The Sure-Step allowed Peterson Industries to create its expansive new SDF floor plan with a walk-in door on the main slideout. Peterson debuted its new Excel Winslow D37SDF at the Hershey RV Show in September and won Best of Show by HGTV, which will be featured on the TV show “RV 2014.” The design won for “having the best innovations in the industry,” including the door on the slideout made possible by LCI’s new Sure-Step.
Bryan Tillett, president of Peterson Industries, noted, “Having the door on the slideout creates an expansive interior configuration. It’s all about the steps, or rather how they are stored for transport.”
The Sure-Step can be easily folded and locked into place. Its adjustable feet are designed to contact the ground in the extended position, providing greater stability.
“When you walk on this entry step for the first time and feel the stability, you’ll understand why people are planning to use the Sure-Step instead of conventional entry steps for all applications,” said Murray. “Add the optional folding hand rail that retracts with the step, and you’ll have an even sturdier, user-friendly entry step.”
Drew Industries Inc., parent to RV and manufactured housing suppliers Lippert Components Inc. and Kinro Inc., today (Nov. 1) reported a 52% increase in net income for its third quarter, ended Sept. 30, boosted by improved margins and strong performance in the company’s RV segment.
Net income during the period totaled $14.8 million, or 62 cents per diluted share, compared to net income of $9.8 million, or 43 cents per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2012.
Net sales grew to $251 million, 11% higher than the 2012 third quarter. The sales growth was primarily the result of a 12% sales increase by Drew’s RV segment, which accounted for 87% of consolidated net sales this quarter. Drew said that sales of recently introduced components for towable and motorhome RVs increased, as did sales to adjacent industries and the aftermarket.
“Our companywide focus on our customers as our first priority has enabled us to gain market share and increase sales,” said CEO Jason Lippert. “In addition, we have been successful by staying ahead of the market through innovation. We continue to invest in customer service and research and development resources to maintain our position as a leading supplier to the industries we serve.”
He added, “Our operating profit margins in the third quarter of 2013 were 9.1% compared to 6.6% in the third quarter of 2012. The 2013 third quarter operating profit margins were consistent with the second quarter of 2013 largely due to management’s recently implemented efficiency improvements gaining momentum, partially offset by the anticipated impact of spreading fixed costs over a seasonally smaller sales base. Many of the production improvements resulted in larger than anticipated efficiency gains, including the benefits realized from our new glass tempering equipment.”
The company’s content per motorhome and towable RV for the twelve months ended September 2013 increased 4% to $1,137 per unit and 2% to $2,719 per unit, respectively, from the year-earlier period as a result of recent product introductions, product improvements and market share gains. The change in content per RV is a measure of the change in Drew’s overall market share across its existing product lines.
“Our labor as a percent of net sales in the third quarter of 2013 was consistent with the second quarter of 2013, despite the seasonal decline in net sales,” said President Scott Mereness. “The labor efficiencies we have realized over the past several quarters, while introducing new products and adjusting to industry and market share growth, have been significant. These improvements in labor during the first three quarters of 2013 were also primarily due to completed production efficiency improvement projects, as well as declines in the costs of implementing facility consolidations and realignments. We will continue to implement additional efficiency improvements as we identify them.”
In October 2013, Drew’s consolidated net sales reached approximately $95 million – 12% higher than in October 2012 – as a result of continued solid growth in the company’s RV segment.
“Our consolidated net sales for the trailing twelve months ended October 31 exceeded $1 billion,” added Mereness. “Achieving this milestone is quite an accomplishment for the company. In anticipation of future growth, we continue to expand and improve production capacity, investing in personnel and facilities in excess of current needs.”
Lippert noted, “Having completed our first full quarter since the executive transition, we believe that the process has been seamless, and we are pleased to report the 52% increase in year-over-year quarterly earnings. As we develop our strategic plans for the future, we expect to continue along the same path which has historically brought us success – profitable growth in our core RV and manufactured housing markets, diversification into adjacent industries, and cost control and production efficiencies. We believe the keys to accomplishing these goals are continuing to invest in new product development and customer service, as well as identifying areas where additional savings can be realized. I am confident that our management team has the ability to execute our strategic goals for the long-term growth of the company.”
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Lippert Components Inc. (LCI) announced that Byron Chartier has been promoted to vice president of quality, according to a press release.
Building off of 10 years of leadership experience at LCI, Chartier will work with the Research and Development and management teams from each facility to “maintain and fortify best practices based on customer needs, as well as promote consistent quality along every product line,” the company said.
“Byron will be instrumental in further strengthening the quality of our operations,” said LCI COO Todd Driver. “His vision, experience and commitment will allow him to build a quality program that promotes best practices across all of our operations and allow us to continue to provide superior products to the industries we serve.”
CEO Jason Lippert believes Chartier will help lead LCI’s quality program to further growth in his new role. “Byron has been key in advancing our quality program to where it is today. We are allocating even more resources to promote quality, allowing Byron to recruit and align teams in his new role to further strengthen our commitment to quality.”
Chartier noted, “I am grateful and proud to be part of the LCI team that is dedicated to the needs of its customers, employees and the community. We have excellent employees at all levels, which is critical to building a quality operation and to our overall success.”
Lippert Components Inc. announced the completion of a new manufacturing line for its 10,000- and 12,000-pound capacity spring axles, adding to its existing line of 2,000- through 8,000-pound capacity spring and torsion axles. According to a press release, LCI’s new spring axles are designed for heavy-duty performance applications such as cargo and utility trailers; horse and livestock trailers; and dump and heavy equipment trailers.
The ergonomic manipulators used to pick up the hub and drum align the bearings perpendicular to the bearing journals, reduce the risk of damage to the bearing for safe installation. LCI’s automotive quality U-bolt torque process uses a precision DC nut runner to ensure accurate U-bolt torque. The integrated flanged spindle design on the 10,000- and 12,000 axles are machined true, instead of welded.
“The integrated flanged spindle is a key feature of our 10,000- and 12,000-pound axles,” said Vice President of Sales, Manufactured Housing and Specialty Markets Andy Pocock. “It’s designed to prevent brake misalignment commonly caused by welded flanged spindles.”
Lippert Components has also designed an automated axle transfer system that moves axles effortlessly, limiting the risk of injury to operators. The transfer system allows axle team members to monitor their hands-on production for quality and accuracy in a safe and efficient manner.
Lippert Components Inc. (LCI) announced it is partnering with HSM to provide OEM customers with the company’s line of quality, U.S.-built RV entry steps.
“We are committed to providing the best product to our customers and bringing jobs back to the U.S.,” said LCI CEO Jason Lippert. “HSM builds great steps, and we’re excited to distribute their newest design, which is more rugged than the traditional step.”
LCI will replace its current manual step products with the steel single, double, triple and quad steps manufactured by HSM in America. Lippert said the relationship brings products closer to existing HSM customers and allows LCI to provide customers with more comprehensive support.
HSM Vice President of Corporate Sales David Duncan noted, “We’re excited to team up with LCI and the opportunity it provides to bring our durable American-made steps to a wider customer base. LCI is a trusted RV components supplier, and working with them will broaden our distribution capabilities, improve efficiencies, and allow us to better support both existing and new customers.”
Tony Everett, HSM vice president transportation solutions, added, “Our agreement with LCI further enhances our ability to deliver integrated solutions to an expanding customer base, which will be especially important as we grow our U.S.-based manufacturing operations and bring new products to market.”
LCI Vice President of RV Sales Andy Murray says the transition is going smoothly. “Our customers are happy because we’re supplying a premier step brand, and HSM customers are pleased we will have their product warehoused nearby in Elkhart County,” he said.
LCI will continue to manufacture a wide array of manual and motorized steps, including its Tread Lite Aluminum Entry Step and its Coachstep Motorized Entry Step. LCI will also debut two new steps at the upcoming Louisville Show.