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Decades of Innovation

Ledwell Innovation over the Years

For 75 years, Ledwell has continued its legacy of excellence with an expansion of services, an eye for quality, and dedicated customer service. As our customers’ needs grow and evolve, Ledwell’s innovation and product offerings.

You’ll find those developments on this timeline along with some fun facts about Ledwell, including its stint as a film distribution company in the ‘70s.

1946 Buddy Ledwell and his father start Ledwell & Son, a lumber hauling company.

1950 Ledwell shifts to building pick-up racks.

1955 Ledwell begins manufacturing dump trucks.

1955 Buddy incorporates Ledwell & Son. Moves to his new shop at the corner of Waco Street and Robison Road in Texarkana.

1957 Ledwell sells its first feed body and delivers it 100 miles away.

1966 Ledwell becomes a Bobcat dealer.

1971 Ledwell builds satellite antenna that is shipped in sections to South America.

1972 – 1975 Ledwell Film Distribution releases Legend of Boggy Creek (1972), Bootleggers (1974), and Winter Hawk (1975).

1976 Ledwell constructs first HydraTail Trailer.

1977 Ledwell builds first set of water trucks.

1980 Ledwell buys its first Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) machine, a significant step for in-house parts production.

1986 Ledwell celebrates four decades of innovations and relationships.

1990 Ledwell expands and modernizes machine shop, allowing for increased production and ability.

1999 Ledwell expands its international presence with more products going into Asia, Africa, Central and South America.

2008 Ledwell opens office in Fayetteville, North Carolina, to serve customers in the area.

2009 Ledwell Machinery opens, providing Bobcat, Toro, and Stihl equipment to the Texarkana area.

2009 Ledwell partners with First Response Team of America.

2010 Ledwell enters the vacuum truck industry.

2012 Ledwell Office opens.

2013 Ledwell builds its first TMA Crash Truck.

2016 Ledwell manufactures patented Gull Wing.

2017 Ledwell adds powder coating facility.

2019 Ledwell designs and builds first TrakVac.

2019 Ledwell installs first robot welder.

2019 Ledwell manufactures patent-pending HydraTilt Truck.

2020 Ledwell manufactures patent-pending MaxTilt Trailer.

2020 Ledwell receives Innovation Award for Solar Lift Loading Ramp.

2021 Ledwell celebrates turning 75!

Manufacturing Solutions for 75 Years

Buddy Ledwell manufacturing solution

How it started

After returning from WWII in 1946, Buddy and his father L.W. Ledwell Sr. started a lumber company called Ledwell & Son in Texarkana, Texas. One day Buddy needed a certain kind of truck trailer to haul lumber, so he rolled up his sleeves and welded the frame he needed to get the job done.

A neighboring farmer saw the trailer and asked, “Where’d you get that? I need one!” So Buddy built it.

Pretty soon, Ledwell & Son had a burgeoning side business building pickup racks and livestock trailers, and it soon became the focus of the operation. When a farmer or a feedlot owner identified a problem with their equipment, Buddy and his father found a way to manufacture a solution.

Original location of Ledwell and Son Lumber

How it’s going

Seventy-five years later, Ledwell builds custom trailers and truck bodies for just about every industry—from water and feed trucks to their own patented hydraulic trailers—for customers all over the world. If a need arises for a truck or trailer to perform a job or haul a particular piece of equipment, Ledwell finds a way to manufacture a solution.

“We build our trucks and trailers to be tough,” said Steve Ledwell.

“Things that are add-ons for other manufacturers, like stronger steel and thicker water tank linings, are standard on our products. With proper care and maintenance, we expect our customers to get decades of service out of our equipment. That’s what ‘Ledwell Made’ means to us.”

The company also prides itself on service and its US-made equipment, with more than 85% of their parts manufactured in-house.

Today, the legacy of the 75-year old business continues under the fourth generation leadership of Buddy’s granddaughter, Lesley Ledwell Dukelow. Ledwell has grown to employ more than 500 workers and has vastly expanded the company’s plant footprint in Texarkana, along with adding a location in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

“The fact that the business has grown to provide so many jobs while still maintaining a family atmosphere is something we’re very proud of,” Dukelow said. “The level of dedication and service that our team  provides our customers has only gotten stronger over the last 75 years.”

buddy ledwell with lumber
Ledwell vintage business card
Ledwell Original Pickup Rack
Early Ledwell Feed Truck
Buddy Ledwell operating chicken catcher
Ledwell Feed Truck for Purina Chow

California Rental Association Rental Rally

CRA Rental Rally featuring Ledwell

CRA Rental Rally Tradeshow

January 23 – 25, 2023
Las Vegas, NV
South Point Casino Hotel

The Rental Rally Tradeshow is the California Rental Association‘s annual convention and trade show for the equipment and event rental industry. The show is an excellent opportunity to network with fellow rental center owners and managers and attends rental industry-specific seminars. It features everything from construction to industrial equipment, general tool to light construction equipment, and party to special event equipment.

 

Join us at the CRA Rental Rally in Vegas at booth 1312!

Ledwell at CRA Rental Rally

Raymundo Estrada

Ledwell Employee Spotlight - Raymundo

Raymundo Estrada aspired to utilize his hands to operate complex mechanical equipment as a kid.  Coming to America as a young adult to work, he has adapted to his environment and learned different skill sets that set him apart.

As a welder at Ledwell since 1992, Raymundo enjoys what he does daily because of the fast-paced routine, overcoming challenges, and working with talented people.

Raymundo works in the Truck Shop, where he and another partner work together on one truck at a time. They install the PTO short for Power Take Off, connect the hydraulic tank to the control valves, and install the hydraulic cylinders for lifting the truck body. 

Ledwell Employee Spotlight - Raymundo

He shared that, “We learn to be knowledgeable in multiple areas. If my partner and I are on different ends, we switch the next day so that if the other is gone, we don’t slow production waiting on him to come back. We can get the job done no matter what. That is one of the reasons I enjoy working here!” 

One of Raymundo’s many great attributes is his open-mindedness in working, teaching, and learning from others.

“Ledwell has made it easy to communicate, understand, and be part of a family,” Estrada expresses. 

Apart from his day job, Raymundo loves nature and enjoys hiking and running. Boxing is his favorite sport to watch.

Buck Jackson

Ledwell Employee Spotlight - November 2021

As a kid, Buck Jackson wanted to be a crane operator just like his father. 

A crawler crane to be specific. 

Although he doesn’t operate that type of crane Jackson does operate an overhead crane from time to time.

Jackson began his career at Ledwell as a welder in the Tank Shop building water tanks back in 2011. 

Water tank truck for sale ledwell
Jackson was selected to be featured on the Ledwell website.

Over the years he has built all types of equipment from dump beds to feed trailers. 

He soon obtained his ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Pipe certification to be a Code Welder – allowing him the opportunity to manufacture ASME Code Vacuum Tanks. 

Jackson is part of the Ledwell SEED Program. A program that cross-trains future leaders in each shop for a year.

“Buck is smart, hard-working, self-motivated, wants everything to be the right kind of person.” said Brad Stringer, Jackson’s Foreman, “He’s the type of employee that you can give a project to and walk away, knowing it will be right and finished in a timely manner. His work ethic and desire to succeed make him a very big asset to Ledwell.”

Currently, he is the Lead Man in the Kit Bay making kits for Water Trucks and Dump Trucks to streamline the process of mounting the bodies to the chassis in the Truck Shop.

Before Jackson started packing kits he was building vacuum tank subframes and learning how to mount the vacuum tanks that he would normally be building if he were not part of the SEED Program.

“Building tanks come naturally to me at this point, but troubleshooting in the Truck Shop challenges you and requires you to use your problem-solving skills,” said Jackson.

Jackson has been married for 12 years to Ashley and they have two sons, Drake and Walker. 

During his time off work, he likes to ride dirt bikes and go hunting for deer and duck.

Ledwell Employee Spotlight - November 2021

Section179 Tax Deduction Offers Major Savings

Stake Side Flatbed for sale by Ledwell

Are you taking advantage of Section179? This part of the IRS tax code allows businesses to deduct the total purchase price of qualifying equipment during the tax year. The U.S. government created the Section179 deduction to encourage companies to invest in themselves.

If you buy or lease a piece of equipment, you can deduct the total purchase price from your gross income.

By midnight on December 31, 2021, equipment must be paid for and put into service to qualify for the Section179 deduction.

The Section179 website offers various tools and educational materials to guide you through what qualifies.

There is even a Section179 calculator to assist in figuring out your potential deduction for the 2021 tax year. Follow the prompts and enter your equipment cost, from software to heavy haul trailers, to determine your deduction and lowered equipment cost after tax savings.

Ledwell manufacturer of equipment for sale qualifies for Section179

Plus, bonus depreciation allows up to 100% depreciation on qualified new and used equipment—including any Ledwell custom manufactured equipment.

Don’t wait! By purchasing or financing equipment in 2021, you can claim a deduction for these items under the existing bonus depreciation rules.

Any of the truck bodies or trailers we manufacture at Ledwell qualifies for this deduction. To order yours today, contact our sales team or browse our site.

Strategic Partnership Helps Lonestar Truck Group, Ledwell Grow Together

Ledwell Water Tanker Truck For Sale

With 24 dealerships in eight states, Lonestar Truck Group isn’t your average truck dealership. If you ask Adam Arrington, Executive Vice President of Sales, there’s one central reason why the company has seen growth and success since it opened in the early 60s: people.

“We have a great team of people that live and breathe this business,” he said. “The culture of this company empowers our people to do their jobs, provide feedback, and make it a nurturing environment where everybody succeeds. Everybody says that, but when you can actually do it, it’s pretty impressive.”

Lonestar Truck Group is one of the largest Freightliner dealer groups in the country, and it counts third-generation family members among its leadership. With 1,200+ employees at its 24 dealerships, the company provides parts, service, new and used truck sales, trailers, finance and insurance, body shops, and more to its customers.

“We sell new and used trucks and trailers to a single owner-operator buying one truck, and we sell to some of the largest public companies in the country when it comes to procuring equipment and parts and service,” Adam said. 

And at Lonestar, every task is important, no matter how big the order.

“You’ll never hear someone at Lonestar say, ‘That’s not my job,'” Adam said. “Everyone is willing to roll their sleeves up and get involved, whether it’s working after hours to get a customer a part or getting a truck delivered on time. It’s all we do. It’s our livelihood.”

Adam said that between supply chain and staffing issues, this year has thrown its fair share of challenges at Lonestar. 

“This is my 21st year on the Freightliner/Daimler dealer side of the business,” he said. “I’ve never seen supply chains so broken. It’s been a huge disruptor.”

Bulk Haul Feed Trailer for sale by Ledwell with Lonestar Tractor
Ledwell Vacuum Truck DOT Certified

Relationships with longtime customers and partners like Ledwell have helped Lonestar weather what has been a challenging year for the manufacturing industry.

“For our true partners, like Ledwell, they know we’re doing everything we can to get them what they need and when they need it,” Adam said. 

He said his relationship with Ledwell began 20 years ago when he first met Steve Ledwell.

“I always heard stories, but aside from dropping a truck off, I didn’t know who they were or what they did,” he said. “My relationship with everyone at Ledwell has changed drastically over the last six years. Steve and I talk every day except Sunday. Lesley and I talk weekly. I talk to every salesman and engineer in the building at least once a week, whether it’s about inventory, or a project, or trucks that are being upfit for our customers.”

Lonestar Truck paired with Ledwell Feed Trailer
Crash Attenuator Truck for Sale Ledwell

Adam said it’s not just business—it’s personal.

“Ledwell is our largest customer, but on the flip side of that, they’re also our friends,” he said. 

Ledwell buys a lot of trucks from Lonestar, but they count Lonestar as a customer as well—Lonestar buys truck bodies, rigging, PTOs, wet kits, trailers, and more from Ledwell. Lonestar also provides secure financing and lease options for Ledwell customers when needed.

Adam said his customers love Ledwell products because of their exceptional quality, endurance, service, and parts accessibility.

“They just take care of things,” he said. “We’ve had issues before, but every time, without fail, the first thing they say is, ‘Where’s the truck?’ No arguing, no complaining. They exhaust every single resource at their fingertips to get that truck, or trailer, or body fixed in a way that’s hassle-free for the customer.”

Adam hasn’t just worked with Ledwell in his current role. When he sold trucks, he said, he had the opportunity to see Ledwell’s hard work in action.

“It was New Year’s Eve in 2003,” he said. “I had a logger call me from Mena, Ark., who wanted to buy a couple of trucks and had to buy them that day because of tax reasons. Installing logging-specific equipment like trailer rides, headache racks, and digital load scales takes eight to ten hours. I called Ledwell at 10 a.m., and they said, ‘Bring it on.’ They had a team of people waiting for us, got it finished, and got it delivered. The customer was happy. I was happy. That’s the way the Ledwell culture is.”

When you work with Ledwell, he said, you aren’t just a customer—you’re becoming part of that family. 

“At the end of the day, they’re just good people,” he said.

Add Time Back to Your Day – Efficiency in Feed Transportation

Ledwell Feed Trailer Manufacturer Test Every Bulk Haul Trailer

Ledwell built its first steel bulk feed body in the late 1950s. A couple of decades later, we moved into manufacturing aluminum feed equipment, and we even made a few chicken hauler trailers along the way. We’ve learned a thing or two about the poultry industry over the past 75 years, and we’ve compiled some of our top efficiency in feed tips in this article.

Ledwell Original Chicken Transport Cages
Early Ledwell Feed Truck

Incorporating some of these practices and equipment add-ons can help you improve efficiency in feed delivery, adding valuable time back into your day. In this book, we’ll cover technology, delivery systems, hydraulics, safety, and service.

If you have any questions, please reach out to us we’re happy to answer any questions.

TECHNOLOGY

In recent years, technology in automated unloading systems has allowed operators to reduce unloading times and be more attentive to their surroundings while minimizing human error while unloading. An
automated system maximizes efficiency in feed delivery and allows the trailer to run at peak performance. You aren’t relying on the driver/operator to adjust the floor to keep the pressure where it needs to be.

Most variations of an automated system are measuring pressure in the hydraulic circuit and making adjustments to the hydraulic flow, keeping the system running at optimal potential throughout the entire unloading process without the operators’ need to make these adjustments manually. This allows the operator to step away from their valves and gauges to be more attentive to their surroundings, open bottom floor gates, or watch a feed bin while unloading.

By continuously monitoring and maintaining the hydraulic circuit to run at maximum potential, you will see improved unload times, reduce the chances of plugging up the system, and extend the life of all
hydraulic components.

Ledwell Feed Trailer Manufacturer Test Every Bulk Haul Trailer
A benefit of Ledwell’s automated system is that it is easily retrofittable to any existing trailer.

DELIVERY SYSTEM

The two most common floor delivery systems in the marketplace are the auger and drag chain systems.

Over the years, the drag chain floor has proven to be extremely dependable and less maintenance, over time, than an auger floor. The chain and crossbar design of a floor chain simply outlast the flighting of an auger screw. In the event that the chain or sprockets need to be replaced or repaired, the repairs are typically quicker and easier to access than a floor auger and bearing system. This results in less downtime for maintenance and repairs.

The 5:1 Gear ratio used to drive the drag chain floor provides exceptional torque for unloading the heaviest of feeds and the depth of the chain pan allows for more volume of feed to be carried to the rear, in comparison with an auger floor, resulting in a higher rate of offloading. Pit dumping with a drag chain is easily achieved by shutting off the discharge leg of the hydraulic system and unloading from the rear of the trailer.

When pellet quality counts, the drag chain floor is the answer. Studies show that a drag chain floor reduced the destruction of pellets through the unloading process by over 60% in side-by-side comparisons to two other auger floors. This can play a huge factor in feed conversion rate with poultry.

Ledwell’s drag chain floor features flat rack and pinion bottom doors that allow for virtually 100% cleanout and no residual feed left after unloading, which may otherwise require downtime for flushing between loads or products.

HYDRAULICS

Traditional wet kits required a large volume hydraulic oil reservoir to run a feed trailer, typically 60 gallons or more. This volume was required due to heat buildup during the unloading process of the feed trailer. The added weight of such a large volume of hydraulic oil makes a direct impact on the amount of payload you could haul in each load.

With today’s advancements in hydraulic oil coolers, you are able to operate with a much smaller oil reservoir, around 10 gallons, while more effectively controlling the oil temperature. This can result in 400-pound weight savings that translate directly to the added payload in each load, greatly affecting your bottom line over the life of your equipment.

There are several other advantages of reduced volume. With less oil, it takes less time to bring the oil up to operating temperature in cold weather. This reduces the time required once you reach your delivery destination and gets you back to reload quicker.

These oil coolers directly affect your bottom line and are also more environmentally friendly. For example, you could completely drain and replace a 10-gallon system six times more often for the same cost as replacing your fluid one time in a 60-gallon tank. This keeps better oil in the system throughout this duration, extending the life of all hydraulic components it is running through. In the event of an oil spill, you are potentially losing six times less oil to clean up and replace.

Hydraulic oil cooler

SAFETY

Times have changed since we first started building feed trailers. Working smart and efficiently also means being safe. Here are a few features we think are important to implement to enhance safety.

If you have access to the top of the trailer via a ladder, we strongly recommend a catwalk system that incorporates a handrail and/or a tram. With these safety features in place, it makes it much safer when access is needed on top of the trailer. For Ledwell, we have made that a standard feature on all our trailers unless otherwise requested by our customers.

There are also disabling devices and alarms available to notify an operator and/or prevent them from moving their trailer when their boom is not saddled. This can be as simple as an amber strobe light and audible alarm in the cab to a device that disables the tractor from moving without the PTO disengaged and boom in the saddle.

Ledwell Classic Feed Trailer - Drag Chain Feedbody
Hand rails for added safety

Those of you who have been in the industry for a while understand the shoulder fatigue involved with opening and closing bottom floor gates day in and day out. To combat that, Ledwell offers Air-Operated Doors that allow the operator to open and close floor gates with the flip of a switch or the push of a button on their wireless remote. Not only does this greatly reduce shoulder fatigue, but it also allows the operator to stand at their controls and monitor their gauges without having to go back and forth opening gates. Pressure gauges can clearly indicate when a bin is near empty and it’s time to push a button and open the next gate.

Incorporating an on-board bio-security system will save the operator time and energy by not requiring them to get out and spray down your equipment manually. This option allows the operator to disinfect their equipment with the flip of a switch in the cab before leaving a farm. Spray points strategically located around the tractor and trailer provide direct application of disinfectant agent via an onboard pump and reservoir, typically located on the front fender of the feed trailer. This is common practice to minimize the chances of cross-contamination between farm to farm.

Stability and center of gravity is another factor to consider when spec’ing your next bulk feed unit. Anti-Lock Braking Systems and Roll Stability Support is a standard feature on any new Ledwell feed trailer. This helps mitigate the loss of control and roll-over situations. Taking stability a step further, we also offer a drop-deck keel design in our bulk trailers that have successfully lowered the center of gravity of the load by up to 30%.

SERVICE

Lastly, the last tip to improve efficiency in feed is often not considered on the front end of a purchase decision, but can quickly become a major factor in the productivity of your delivery program. Service and parts availability after the sale.

Before purchasing equipment there are a few questions you should ask your potential supplier. Ask about parts availability, same-day shipping availability, service, and support after the sale. Ask for references or ask others in the industry for their experience.

Downtime can be extremely costly, and in many situations, you simply can’t wait days or weeks for parts. Same-day shipping on most parts is something Ledwell prides itself in and is known for in the industry.

Download your free Efficiency in Feed Transportation E-Book (.pdf)

Matthew Gentry

Ledwell Band Saw, Machine Shop

“I am thankful to work for a company that cares about its employees,” said Matthew Gentry, who started working at Ledwell in 2016. Matthew has operated the band saw in the Machine Shop since the beginning.

On his typical day, he receives work orders from various shops concerning the length of material they need cut and the quantity. Both round and angle bar, as well as flat bar and structural beams, are common materials.

“We have nearly 400 types of materials to balance,” Gentry explained. “We need to cut these to a variety of lengths so production can run smoothly.”

The most challenging jobs he completes demand multiple angles cut on one piece of material, making them his favorite.

Ledwell Band Saw, Machine Shop

Matthew studied Audio Engineering in college. Though he isn’t using his skills at Ledwell, he makes up for it in his spare time.

At home, he has a music studio where he records music, but it’s not just any kind of music. It’s music he writes and performs. 

He has helped raise money through his album Far From Here for a non-profit, Guitars for Vets.

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