Link Engineering Company Celebrates 80 Years

Apr 14, 2015

2015 – Link Engineering Company celebrates 80 years of business. In commemoration of its 80th anniversary, Link Engineering decided to look back on some of the important moments that helped to shape the company into what it is today.

In 1926, Herbert Wolfgang Ernst Emil Link moved from Besigheim, Germany to St. Louis Missouri. After the Great Depression, Herbert began making tap wrenches and selling them door to door. In 1935, Link Engineering Company was officially established in Herbert’s basement. The initial product line was made up of tap wrenches and edge finders. In 1936, Herbert acquired a patent for a spring testing device, and began producing and selling it to a market of willing buyers.

Link Engineering moved into the company’s first stand-alone facility on Elmira Street in Detroit. LINK acquired the United Electric Company from General Motors, which provided entry into the electric motor repair business. In the mid-40s, LINK hired T.P. Chase, and worked together with GM to develop the chase machine as a method to assess friction material characteristics. The company also began developing pump and motor test systems, including the uni-beam, which measured torque before there were electronic transducers. LINK was quickly becoming a wide range provider of test solutions.

In the early 50s, Herbert Link developed a technique for simultaneously machining both flutes of a center drill cutting tool, launching LINK’s involvement in the cutting tool industry, and the establishment of Link Industries in Indian River, MI. It was here that LINK developed the company’s first winding machine for electric motor stators, leading to the development of the stator lacing machine. In 1961, LINK designed and manufactured its first inertia-type brake dynamometer for Kelsey Hayes. Within a few years. LINK had built several more dynamometers, and found itself well intertwined with the thriving automotive industry.

The early and mid-1970s served as an era when LINK became highly involved with producing large dynamometers for heavy truck and off road vehicle industries. LINK was building test systems larger than ever before, but continued to improve upon its operational efficiencies. Beginning in the mid-70s and continuing to this day, LINK has produced a wide variety of control systems. LINK’s control systems have evolved to keep pace with the needs of its customers, which is why LINK is recognized for its innovative and user friendly operating systems.

In the late 80s, LINK won a bid to design and construct an aircraft brake dynamometer for Allied Signal in South Bend, Indiana leading to other aircraft test systems built by LINK and installed at facilities around the world. In 1988, Link Testing Laboratories was founded in Detroit as a means to offer independent testing services at the automotive component level. It would develop into an extensive lab serving the testing needs of brake system, transmission, wheel and hub, and other related automotive components.

In the early 90s, with the test lab continuing to expand, LINK purchased land in Plymouth for development of a new design, manufacturing, and assembly headquarters. In the mid-90s, LINK’s software department began developing a platform that escalated the company to yet another height. The windows based software, identified as ProLink, would act as the operating system for every LINK test machine manufactured from that point forward. It was so popular, that LINK began offering ProLink control upgrades on competitor’s test systems. During the 1990s the demand for vehicle testing services was also rising. In 1993, LINK established a vehicle test facility in Phoenix, Arizona. These operations have since expanded into support activities in LA, a vehicle test facility in Michigan, and a commercial vehicle test facility in Ohio.

The 2000s brought about an era in which LINK committed itself to evolving into a multinational company. A joint venture with SE Systems to create Link Test Labs Korea was established. LINK also opened sales offices in China, Japan, Germany, and Brazil. Representatives in India were also established. 2008 became the first year more than half the company’s revenue was generated outside the US. In 2009, LINK moved onto the Ford Proving Grounds in Arizona for vehicle testing. In 2011, LINK opened test labs in Europe, South America, and China. Also in 2011, LINK moved their testing headquarters from Detroit to Dearborn. In 2014, LINK purchased Dynamic Testing & Equipment, or DTE. Most recently March 2015, LINK opened a new vehicle testing facility in Huangshan, China.

For 80 years Link Engineering has been providing customers with the best in test equipment and testing services. The company has evolved with the times, and is positioned to remain at the front of the global testing market.

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Type of TestTest HighlightsEquipment UsedExample Procedures
Chemical TestingMeasurement of copper, asbestos and other elements in brake friction materialsICP-OES / PLMJ2975
Materials TestingPhysical properties including quality control for friction, wear, compressive strain, shear strength, corrosion resistance, swell and growthChase Machine / Compressibility Machine/ Shear Machine / Corrosion Chamber / Environmental Chamber / OvenJ661, ISO 6310, ISO 6311, ISO 6312, ABNT NBR 9301, ABNT NBR 5505, ABNT NBR 5537, ASTM B117
Frequency ResponseComponent Frequency ResponseLaser Vibrometer Test StandSAE J2933, J3001, J2598, L-4375
Structural Fatigue and
Breaking strength, cyclic fatigueServo Hydraulics, Torque FlexJ2995, C419, C441, GMW18022
Caliper FingerprintingCaliper characteristics such as knockback, rollback, fluid displacement, deflection...Caliper Test Bench / Brake DynamometerL-4177, PF.90257
Brake Drag and DTVResidual drag, disc thickness variation, brake feel and vehicle fuel mileageOff Brake Drag Stand / Brake DynamometerJ2923, GMW14926, GMW14351, PF.90257, L-13080
PerformanceHydraulic, air and electric brakes, friction levels, stopping distance, corrosion, cleanability, brake torque variation, rotor cracking, regulation, stability control, coastdownBrake Dynamometer, Model 4000 DASJ2784, J2928 IS026867, GMW14985, PF.90210, PF.90244, L-405, FMVSS 121, FMVSS 122, FMVSS 105, FMVSS 135, FMVSS 126, FMVSS 136, ECE R13H, AMS
WearRotor wear, drum wear, lining wear, DTV, durability, city traffic, suburban trafficBrake Dynamometer, Model 4000 DASJ2707, USCT, L-423, PF.90244, Los Angeles, Detroit, Phoenix, Birmingham, Marquette
NVHBrake squeal during drag and decel events at different temperatures, pressure and torque levelsNVH Brake DynamometerJ2521, L420, 1430, GMW17427, PF. 90244
Brake EmissionsBrake dust particle size, count, concentration and massBrake DynamometerWLTP, CARB, Duty cycle


Type of TestTest HighlightsEquipment UsedExample Procedures
Wheel BearingWater intrusion and durability when exposed to mud and saltBearing Test StandLINK Hub and Bearing, GMW16306, GMW16310
Passenger car, sport/performance and open bed vehicle wheel bearing spallingBearing Test StandGMW16311, GMW16308, GMW16309
Brinelling resistance validates long-term reliability/durabilityBearing Test StandGMW16305
Rotary fatigue lifeRotary Fatigue MachineGMW16325
Wheel HubRotary bending fatigue life characteristicsRotary Fatigue MachineGMW14249
Hub/BearingEvaluate hub and bearing performance, durability, seals and NVH when exposed to extreme environmental effects such as temperature and mud/salt solutionBearing Test Stand/Rotary FatigueTIP-000037A, LINK Hub and Bearing, SAE J1095, LINK Impact
Hub FatigueHub fatigue using biaxial loadingBiaxial Test StandSAE J2562


Type of TestTest HighlightsEquipment UsedExample Procedures
ChemicalEvaluates filiform corrosion on painted aluminum wheels and painted aluminum trimICP-OESASTM E3061
Wheel Corrosion and CoatingsEvaluates filiform corrosion, tape adhesion, degree of rusting on painted aluminum wheels and painted aluminum trimCorrosion ChamberSAE J2635, ASTM B368, ISO 9227,
ISO 2409, ASTM D3599,
ABNT NBR 11003, ASTM D610,
ASTM D1654
Wheel FatigueLoad simulation test of aluminum alloy wheelsBiaxialBMW QV36026, SAE J2562, FORD
L-307, GMW14340
Dynamic Cornering Fatigue and Dynamic Radial Fatigue - Steel wheelsEccentric Mass and RadialABNT NBR 6750
Rotational fatigue, Radial load fatigue and biaxial load fatigue of steel and aluminum wheelsEccentric Mass, Radial and BiaxialABNT NBR 6751
Dynamic Cornering Fatigue and Dynamic Radial Fatigue and Impact resistance of temporary use and normal highway use aluminum wheelsEccentric Mass, Radial and Drop TestABNT NBR 6752
Wheel Radial FatigueRadialGMW14909
Wheel ImpactWheel Inboard Rim Flange Vertical ImpactDrop TestGMW15321
Wheel radial impactDrop TestCETP 04.04-L300
Wheel Lateral ImpactDrop TestGMW14910, SAE J175
Wheel StiffnessFrequency Response Function (FRF)Frequency ResponseGMW14876
Deformation of the wheelServo HydraulicsJ2315
Center cap heat
Center Cap deformation under elevated temperature conditionsBench TestBrake Heat Center Cap


Type of TestTest HighlightsEquipment UsedExample Procedures
Parking ForcesAllows proper sizing of power steering componentsForce and MotionLINK Parking Forces
Tire FootprintDetermines the contact patch geometryForce and MotionTire Footprint
Tire Modeling
Determine tire inertia which is then used Ftire and other models and simulationsInertia MachineLINK Tire Inertial Properties
On-center parking effort test for Ftire inputForce and MotionSWP
Determine static stiffness (X, Y, Z, Alpha) for Ftire inputStatic Stiffness MachineSAE Static Stiffness
Determine how the tire envelopes an obstacleCleat MachineJ2731
Measure the forces and moments generated at a high frequency response spindle when the tire impacts a cleatCleat MachineJ2730
Braking and Cornering PerformanceDetermine the straight line braking performance of a tireForce and MotionJ2673
Determine the free rolling cornering properties of a tireForce and MotionSAE TIME, J1987, SWP
Measure the combined cornering and braking performance of a tireForce and MotionJ2675
Tire StiffnessMeasure rolling vertical stiffness of a tire at speedRolling Vertical Stiffness
Rolling ResistanceMeasure tire rolling resistance using a drumForce and Motion, Rolling ResistanceJ1269, J2452
Tire WearAssess tire wear in the labForce and MotionLINK Wear Test
Tire NVHTest tire sizzle, cornering noise, pass-by noise, steering wheel dither, freeze crack impacts, high speed uniformity and imbalance sensitivityForce and Motion, Dynamometer, Model 4000 DASNoise, Vibration, Harshness