What started out as a little tool and die shop 50 years ago has evolved into an industry powerhouse in the design and building of low profile conveyor platforms, and Dorner Mfg. Corp. is still going strong, the company reported in a Feb. 1 news release recounting the company's history. To commemorate its 50th year in business, Dorner will hold an open house and other celebratory events in June.
Although a well-known brand within numerous industries today, the company originally founded by Wolfgang and Horst Dorner looked very different when the brothers first opened their doors for business on Jan. 14, 1966, according to the news release. The brothers gained a reputation for quality and responsiveness, which was born out of their philosophy to cater to customers. That meant building a high quality precision product, making sure customers were satisfied and providing responsive service.
The transition to conveyors happened out of necessity in the early 1970s, according to the news release, which recounted the company's historical chain of events this way:
The Dorners were looking for a conveyor to efficiently remove scrap and parts from under their dies; however they couldn’t find one that fit in such a tight space. Manufacturers they spoke with said conveyors could not be built that small because a bearing of that size would not be durable, and belts would not wrap around such tiny diameter rollers. The Dorners would see about that, and set out to prove them wrong.
Shortly thereafter, they developed and patented a new radial thrust bearing and worked with belting companies to obtain a flexible, durable belt, and in 1973, the 4100 Series industrial conveyor was born. Word of this conveyor began to spread, and within a few years conveyor sales were greater than the tool and die business, which was then phased out of production. From that point forward, the brothers focused on conveyors … and the company hasn’t looked back since.
"Our philosophy today mirrors that of the one set forth by the Dorners 50 years ago—a philosophy based on being responsive to our customers," said Terry Schadeberg, Dorner's president and CEO. "Carrying the torch forward, and continuing to live up to the ideals established by the Dorners, is something every employee embraces. We’re very excited for what the next 50 years holds for Dorner."
The company noted, too, that the past year in particular has been marked by several major milestones:
- Opening its first office in Canada to better serve the Canadian market.
- Acquiring FlexMove, a Malaysian-based manufacturer of flexible chain conveyors for food, beverage, automotive, electronic and other industries.
- Adding staff aimed at establishing brand recognition and growing sales to international markets.
- Expanding its Hartland, Wis., headquarters by adding a 25,000 square-foot expansion to its manufacturing area to meet future production goals and anticipated growth.
- Major expansions to many of its conveyors, including its AquaPruf sanitary, SmartFlex and 2200 Series platforms.