Fenner Drives Company History
Manheim Manufacturing and Belting Company was started in 1911 by three area businessmen as a manufacturer of conveyor belting for agricultural markets. The company’s Balata natural rubber conveyor belting soon developed a strong regional reputation, leading Manheim to supply flat power transmission belt to general industry. These power transmission belts were used by various railroads to drive the generators of electrified rail cars.
During the 1930’s, the company licensed technology from Brammer Transmissions for a patented link v-belt. This product, which was marketed by Manheim Manufacturing and Belting under the trade name Veelos, quickly became the core product of the “Belting”. Over the years, other products were added to the company’s product line. The emphasis, however, has firmly remained in belting and related products.
In the early 1970’s, the company began selling extruded thermoplastic urethane belting. At first, this was merely a marketing effort. However, by the mid ‘70’s, demand had grown so large that our first extruder was installed.
In the late 1970’s, Manheim Manufacturing and Belting Company contracted with an engineer to design what has become the patented Trantorque Keyless Bushing. The first units were built in the machine shop on engine lathes. Today, we run CNC lathes and milling machines to satisfy the demand for Trantorque.
In 1984, the company was sold to Fenner, Inc., a subsidiary of Fenner PLC. Fenner had significant operations in Middletown, CT which were re-located to Manheim. From 1984 on, the company traded as Fenner Manheim.
In 1995, we purchased Efson Inc., a manufacturer of thermoplastic pulleys, and changed our name from Fenner Manheim to Fenner Drives with two divisions, Industrial and Precision. With the addition of Efson’s pulleys and tensioners, we are even better positioned to be the best supplier of niche products to the power transmission and motion control marketplace. The Efson operation then became our Industrial Products plant in Wilmington, NC.
In the fall of 2002, Eagle Belting Company was acquired by the Industrial Division. This allowed the division to strengthen its urethane belting product line with the addition of the preeminent brand in the country. Today, the Eagle brand has been expanded to include a wide variety of extruded belts sold around the world.
In 2005, Industrial’s sister division, BTL, located in Leeds, UK, was renamed to Fenner Drives (Europe). This reflects the increasingly global nature of our business. At that time, a program of cooperation started to unify global product offerings and selling prices. This was the first step in a larger reorganization.
In 2006, Fenner Drives Industrial and Precision Divisions finally split into two completely separate companies. The Precision Division was renamed Fenner Precision and the Industrial Division became simply known as Fenner Drives. The reorganization was completed with Fenner Drives having manufacturing locations in Manheim,PA, Wilmington, NC and Leeds, UK. Today, Fenner Drives manufactures a wide variety of industrial belting and power transmission components. We enjoy a healthy customer base, both in the United States and abroad.
In late 2007 Fenner Drives acquired B-LOC Corporation, who owned the leading brand of multi-screw keyless bushings in North America. Combined with the existing line of Trantorque Keyless Bushings, this positioned Fenner Drives as the global leader in Keyless Locking Devices.
In 2011, Fenner Drives celebrated its 100th anniversary as a leading supplier of power transmission and conveying solutions.
In 2013, Fenner Drives launched NinjaFlex, a revolutionary new product that was the first flexible 3D printing filament to hit the market. Utilizing similar production techniques as the Eagle Polyurethane Belting line, NinjaFlex’s popularity grew quickly, but offered challenges to the sales and marketing teams as it was a completely new market and customer base to target.
With the rapid success of NinjaFlex and the niche focus it demanded, in 2015 the brand was spun off into its own business entity, which became known as NinjaTek. NinjaTek prides itself as a high performance additive manufacturing material supplier, focused on introducing specialty materials for end users in the industrial space.
Over the past several years Fenner Drives has continued to focus on introducing new products into the power transmission, motion transfer and conveying markets. Recent new product launches include B-LOC Compression Hubs, Tango Link Conveyor Belting, Eagle SureConnect, RotoShield Gearbox Torque Limiters, B-LOC Speed, Trantorque Micro, and PowerTwist Wedge Belting.