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ConMet’s 60-Year Legacy of Commercial Vehicle Innovation

ConMet’s 60-Year Legacy of Commercial Vehicle Innovation

March 29, 2024 | ConMet

John Waters, President

In the early 1960s, the commercial vehicle industry was in a technological expansion that made driving a truck safer and more comfortable. This made it a more popular career choice and encouraged additional innovation and development within the industry.

ConMet was founded amid this backdrop in 1964 as part of Portland Freightliner, under the umbrella of Consolidated Freightways. The company first entered into manufacturing with an aluminum foundry. This set the stage for ConMet to become the expert in lightweight wheels and castings for heavy-duty trucks and trailers.

ConMet began manufacturing plastics ten years later in 1974, showing its commitment to diversification and embracing new manufacturing techniques and materials. This move positioned ConMet as a full-service solutions provider. It also proved instrumental in boosting the company’s reputation in design, testing, and engineering, setting the stage for future expansions.

The Shift Towards Independence
ConMet’s evolution continued in 1987 when it went private, becoming an independent entity. This newfound independence allowed for more agile and focused innovations. Throughout the next several years, that creative environment spurred the development of the PreSet® wheel hub which was launched in 1995.

The PreSet hub is a revolutionary product designed to combat the industry-wide issue of premature wheel end failure. This innovation was indicative of ConMet's deep understanding of its customers' needs and the operational challenges they faced.

Global Expansion and Market Leadership
In 1999, ConMet was acquired by Amsted Industries making Amsted the leader in heavy duty trucks and trailers. This was in addition to its existing authority in railroad freight cars and locomotives as well as automotive and light trucks. It also made ConMet part of one of the largest employee stock ownership (ESOP) companies in the U.S., meaning employees have an even higher stake in the company's success.

At the turn of the millennium, ConMet's growth accelerated with the establishment of operations in Monterrey, Mexico, in 2000. The company expanded into the Chinese market in 2008 by establishing foundries and the Nanjing PreSet Assembly Plant. Once they were up and running, 2011 marked the introduction of PreSet wheel hubs to the Chinese market.

These strategic decisions expanded ConMet's global presence. It also reinforced the company's position as a market leader in the commercial vehicle industry.

A New Era of Product Innovations
A relentless pursuit of innovation led to a series of industry-firsts for ConMet. This solidified its reputation as a trailblazer in the heavy-duty commercial vehicle industry.

In 2011, the launch of PreSet Plus® in North America brought the first fully integrated, pre-adjusted hub system to market. The introduction of proprietary wheel seals in 2012 and wheel bearings in 2014 further enhanced ConMet’s product offerings.

Since being introduced, more than 30 million PreSet Plus hubs have traveled about 1.3 trillion miles on the road - and counting. Today, ConMet's PreSet technology is first-fit on most North American medium and heavy-duty trucks. It is also being adopted by a growing number of trailer OEMs.

Technological Advancements and Sustainability Efforts
In 2019, ConMet entered the burgeoning field of IoT and fleet management with PreSet Plus SmartHub™, highlighting its adaptability to technological disruptions. This move paved the way for actionable insights that would revolutionize fleet management. Its products and services help improve uptime, safety, and operational efficiency.

ConMet eMobility launched a year later with the development of the PreSet Plus eHubTM, focusing on electrification and zero-emission solutions. The new business unit demonstrated ConMet’s commitment to sustainability and the future of the industry.

Further Expansion and Green Initiatives
In 2023, ConMet expanded its eMobility business by acquiring related products from the Saietta Group. The acquisition included the team members, office, and testing facilities, becoming ConMet Netherlands B.V., located in Apeldoorn, Netherlands.

Around the same time, ConMet established its European headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. Having a European headquarters allows the company to better serve the European market and provide innovative solutions to commercial vehicle OEMs there.

One final acquisition was made in 2023 when ConMet purchased TruckLabs, the startup who created TruckWings™ technology. The TruckWings device mounts to the back of a truck and automatically closes the gap between the truck and trailer, improving vehicle efficiency by up to 6.2%.

All these acquisitions and expansions strategically align with ConMet’s goals to further innovate in emissions reduction and to continue to be a trusted solutions provider to the commercial vehicle industry.

Today, with 17 locations and over 6,000 employees worldwide, ConMet offers superior design, engineering, and testing expertise to develop premium products and innovations. Thanks to operational excellence, deep industry knowledge, and a diverse workforce of smart, dedicated people, the company remains committed to its vision and mission.

A Look Toward the Future
ConMet's history is more than a series of events; it's a narrative of consistent innovation, adaptation, and foresight. The company's 60th anniversary is a celebration of past achievements. But it's also a stepping stone towards the future. A future where ConMet continues to lead the way in the commercial vehicle industry.

From its origins as a small manufacturer to its status as a global leader in wheel hub and component technology, ConMet has proven that a commitment to innovation, quality, and service can stand the test of time and continue to drive an industry forward.

Related Links:
ConMet’s history and timeline
Press release: ConMet Marks 60 Years of Innovation and Industry Leadership
Video: ConMet 60th Anniversary Announcement Video