Our enthusiasm for this business has stood the test of time. It has continued through three generations of a single family devoting themselves to the manufacture of motors and related power transmission components. It began over 80 years ago with Emil Doerr at St. Louis Electrical Works, later renamed Baldor Electric, with Emil as co-founder. In 1939, Emil's son Lee and two of his brothers founded Doerr Electric. Finally, in 1972, Lee's sons formed LEESON Electric Corporation. Few American companies can trace their roots so deeply, and fewer still can draw upon such a wealth of electric motor manufacturing experience.
A Fast Start
Less than a year after LEESON was organized, in a 5,000 square foot rented facility, our first 48 frame motor was tested. In January 1974, pilot runs of the first 48 frame production began in a slightly larger rented facility. About a year and a half later, in June 1975, production was moved to the Grafton manufacturing plant. By the end of 1975, LEESON served 115 motor accounts.
Acquisitions and Alliances
In 1985, LEESON acquired Unison Dynamics, a manufacturer of direct current permanent magnet 48 and 56 frame motors. The advantages of the DC permanent magnet motor, such as adjustable speed using an SCR control or operation from low voltage DC power sources, have further enhanced the LEESON line.
In 1988, LEESON purchased Motronics Corporation, a manufacturer of sub-fractional horsepower AC and DC motors and gearmotors. These industrial-duty sub-fractional products have expanded LEESON's reach into markets such as business machines, data processing peripherals, packaging machinery and medical equipment, among others.
In 1995, LEESON further expanded its ability to say "yes" to customer needs through the acquisition of Gear Systems, Inc., now integrated within LEESON. With the 1997 acquisition of Sandor Corporation, LEESON added the capability for high-volume manufacture of commercial-duty DC sub-fractional motors. These are sold internationally under the Tru-Torq™ brand name.
Today we supply a large number of accounts in the United States, Canada and the world. Our AC motor line begins in the sub-fractional frame sizes and extends to hundreds of horsepower. In addition, we produce DC permanent magnet motors through 3 HP and sub-fractional geared and non-geared motors from 1/150th HP through 1/4 HP in AC and DC designs, as well as other specialty motors including brushless DC and precision servo motors. Lincoln Motors offers their "Ultimate E" inverter-rated insulation system on their 1HP and larger frame three phase motors. A range of AC and DC drives addresses the expanding market for adjustable speed motion control systems.
Now, more than ever, LEESON is an exciting, growing, dynamic company. On September 29, 2000, we became part of a new team when we joined Regal Beloit. Regal-Beloit is a public company (RBC-NYSE) and the leading manufacturer of mechanical and electrical components selling to the world market of motion control and power generation. The combination of our companies has truly made a powerful connection and a world leader in our products.
We provide an infrustructure of sales offices and warehouses throughout the world to support our customers. LEESON sales offices are linked by on-line computers to the factory and to each other, for fast delivery of standard and special motors to LEESON customers.
Two Dynamic Markets
Original equipment manufacturers and distributors represent LEESON's primary market segments. Equipment manufacturers build a diverse range of products using LEESON standard and special motors as their prime power. LEESON motors can be found on material handling equipment, pumps, fans and blowers, machine tools, power transmission products, agricultural applications, treadmills, food processing equipment, data processing, medical, textile, packaging, graphic arts, woodworking, and a host of other industrial and commercial products.
In fact, LEESON supplies electric motors to over 35 different basic industries. The types of motors are even more diverse. In the past, many customers were content to buy fairly standard products. In today's competitive world, many of these same customers require motors tailored to their specific products with as much value added by LEESON as possible. This includes special paints, shafts, castings, cords and plugs, special electrical characteristics and other custom features. LEESON's success today, as in the early years, continues to be our response to customer needs and wants.
Our distributor business, which primarily involves stock motors, gearmotors and drives, provides a valuable marketing link to reach the end-user, small OEM and replacement markets. Our distributors include motor service centers, power transmission and bearing houses, and industrial supply houses. A growing distributor network is vital to our continued success, and we are continually searching for new business partners in this area. Almost 4,000 stock product designs are available "off the shelf" from our district warehouses to serve OEMs and distributors.
Product diversification is an important ongoing activity at LEESON. Equally important is manufacturing innovation. To maintain our leadership position as a quality, cost-effective manufacturer, we have made many changes in our plants over the past years. These include highly automated computer aided machine tools and winding equipment, revisions to the manufacturing process to minimize material handling, and deployment of manufacturing space to achieve higher efficiencies and productivity for our increasingly diverse product line.
Most important, however, has been the dedication and commitment of our associates. Their role in producing quality LEESON products has been unparalleled in our industry. This has enabled LEESON to maintain a forefront position in manufacturing, through implementation of many advanced manufacturing techniques.
Continued product line expansion and sales growth have necessitated additional manufacturing facilities for LEESON's products. These facilities are dedicated to specific portions of the product lines providing “focused factories” that give LEESON a distinct competitive edge through automation and innovation. LEESON's 48 and S56 frame AC motors are manufactured in a state-of-the-art facility in West Plains Missouri and Juarez, Mexico. In the western Wisconsin city of Black River Falls, LEESON manufactures 56 and 140T frame standard AC motors. Larger frame standard AC motors manufactured in Monterrey, Mexico, Lebanon, MO, and Wausau, WI. Our gear reducers are assembled and manufactured in Union Grove, Wisconsin. Permanent magnet direct current motors, built to NEMA and IEC metric dimensions, are the focus of LEESON's facility in Lincoln Missouri. And our plant in Hanover, Ontario is dedicated to short-run specials—particularly multi-speed designs—for U.S. and Canadian customers.
In 1993, LEESON achieved certification to ISO 9001 international quality standards, the most comprehensive of the ISO 9000 family of standards. Our certification covers all functional areas and we are proud of that distinction.