Case Study » Design and Manufacturing

How Deshler’s manufacturing partner engineers creative techniques and products to solve customer issues.

Amanda Manufacturing’s engineering team pioneered new welding techniques, designed an innovative customer product and created new jobs.

Stuck in the Mud

When you’re driving off-road, there’s not much worse than getting stuck. While it’s fun to brave piles of rocks, sinking sands and debris-choked mud, even the toughest vehicles don’t always make it out. Whether you attach ropes, chains, winches or recovery straps to your vehicle, when extrication force is applied, things can quickly go awry. Bumpers can be pulled off and straps may break in a catastrophic fashion, snapping back to smash windows and cause serious injuries.

Engineering to the Rescue

Engineers at Amanda Manufacturing created an elegant solution: a multi-functional, easy-to-use tow hook, meant to withstand extreme force during towing, and now known as the Amanda Products SpeedHook™. Combining the strength of a closed loop hook and the accessibility of an open hook into a unified, expertly welded assembly, Amanda designed it for easy attachment or welding to trucks and off-road vehicles.

Tradition of Innovation

Deshler Group’s Amanda Manufacturing, with plants in Logan, Ohio and Livonia, Michigan, combines new ideas and in-house capabilities to craft elegant metalformed solutions for customer issues. These solutions are why Amanda continues to grow, several decades years on. This new tow hook, for example, though first intended to address a customer safety issue, ended up leading to an innovative welding technique, a new product line, expansion of employment and manufacturing space, and even the formation of a new company.

At its acquisition by Deshler Group, Amanda Manufacturing, known then as Amanda Bent Bolt, was an established u-bolt and rod fabricator in Ohio. The company boasted a strong local labor force, an experienced team committed to growing the business in their community. A Tier One original automotive equipment supplier, Amanda today produces more than 300 superior quality metalformed parts, including hood-prop rods, hood, door and seat strikers, various styles of tow hooks, muffler hangers and fender braces for customers across the country.

Among these customers is a serious and committed off-roading community. They depend on aftermarket parts that elevate durability and safety under extreme conditions and come from manufacturers who offer superior material and welding techniques. Their first concern is always ensuring their vehicle and passengers make it through a tow, without any damage or injury. It was a serious problem demanding a solution.

Amanda Manufacturing was uniquely poised to address this for its customers, having already perfected a tow hook for the Ford F-150, whose strength and durability was itself the subject of a powerful Super Bowl ad. The Amanda Products SpeedHook™ was a natural next step.

Off-road enthusiasts began trying out the new SpeedHook™, quickly discovering the efficiency of slipping their recovery straps through its eye and over the hook. They no longer needed to tie knots – which often snapped or were impossible to untie anyway – saving their recovery straps and safely dislodging their vehicles.

As Amanda engineers continued refining the new hook, they knew they had created a standout solution, a product to satisfy a need, and an opportunity to introduce the company’s craftsmanship to a wider audience. Amanda Products, a new, consumer-facing Deshler brand was born.

Deshler debuted Amanda Products – and the SpeedHook™ – at The SEMA Show, the most recognized aftermarket parts convention in the world. The brand embraced the offroading lifestyle, attending King of the Hammers, Easter Jeep Safari and Jeep Beach. Amanda Products became the title sponsor for an offroad racing team, ColeCar Motorsports. During several long races, the team experienced successful and safe extrications, made possible by the newly designed SpeedHook™. Later sponsorships included support for street racing legend and Street Outlaws star John Quick, Merillat Racing LLC and Blain Brothers Racing.

Genius in the Details

Amanda Manufacturing created the Amanda Products SpeedHook™ from high-strength steel, using four steel alloys for its components. The open hook is made from high carbon steel and is heat-treated for strength. The closed loop is medium carbon steel, welded on both sides. The stamping, or bracket, is high-strength, low alloy steel. Put together, the part’s design, construction and welding allow it to withstand the extreme pressure inherent to vehicle recovery.

The Closed Loop

Originating with high-strength American-made coil stock, steel rod is drawn to size and bent in a 150-ton press. The closed loop is 100% robotic weld, performed in house at Amanda Manufacturing. It is particularly suited to heavy-duty activity and its tested towing capacity is rated to withstand more than 60,000 pounds.

The Open Hook

Made from high-strength, high-carbon steel wire, the SpeedHook’s™ unique open hook is drawn to size, bent, coined and pierced. It is heat treated for strength and provides a towing capacity of more than 10,000 pounds. Amanda’s quality mig welds, at 400% of necessary strength, help prevent equipment failure and promote user safety.

The Receiver and Pin

The SpeedHook™ assembly’s final components are a 2×2-inch, long, hollow, square receiver and pin that allow the hook to attach to any vehicle with a 2” receiver. Weldable versions are also available.

The Finish

After testing, the SpeedHook™ is finished with electrical discharge coating (e-coat) or chrome. Some are left unfinished for welding or customization. All versions are available in front hook or receiver styles.

The Back Story

Amanda Manufacturing’s superior metalforming capacity was a given, product design was solid, and materials were extraordinarily robust, high-carbon, heat-treated alloys. But to ensure durability, expert welding was also needed. Fortunately, Amanda’s welding capacity was already known for meeting and exceeding strength targets. The company set a goal of performance of 400% above the welding requirement. For instance, if one inch of weld was deemed sufficient by FEA analysis and tensile testing, Amanda would over-design and use four inches.

The Amanda team agreed that ensuring safety and strength was worth the additional cost, typical of the company’s high expectations.

Like the SpeedHook’s design, the process was revolutionary. It was the first part to be produced in an American factory using two simultaneously operating welding torches, on a dual-headed robot, employing two independent power supplies and performing two independent welds at the same time. Although this method is now used across manufacturing, Amanda was the pioneer.

Amanda welders developed fresh operating techniques for the dual-headed robotic welder to produce the SpeedHook™ and other tow hooks. Their retrofit even caught the eye of Panasonic, the welding machine’s creator, and a Panasonic engineer came from Japan to learn how Amanda workers had pulled off the dual, independent welding functions.

“Amanda Manufacturing reflects the best of this country: dedicated people who have a thirst for innovation and work hard to develop new ideas and top quality products for our customers.”

Mike Hood

VP Manufacturing Operations, Deshler Group


of JK Jeep Wranglers are modified with specialty-equipment parts*

10,000 lbs.

SpeedHook™ towing capacity*


amount spent on aftermarket parts in first year of ownership*

New Ideas, New Jobs

When the SpeedHook™ debuted, its ingenious design led to a SEMA Global Media Award and recognition from the larger offroad and specialty equipment manufacturing community. Repeatedly tested in Amanda’s in-house quality lab, each batch faced the company’s tensile testing machine, which applied up to 120,000 pounds of force.

Amanda Products initially offered versions for full-size and heavy duty trucks and off-road vehicles, eventually developing versions for Jeeps and smaller vehicles, including ATVs and UTVs. The company’s off-road innovation work continued, with smartly designed doors, mirrors and Jeep bumpers.

With new design inspiration came new business, and the Amanda Products brand launch helped usher in major growth for Amanda Manufacturing’s facilities. A large plant was added in Michigan with Deshler’s acquisition of MSD Stamping, LLC. Amanda’s original Ohio facility launched a substantial expansion as well, adding floor space, machinery, new jobs, and a beautifully-designed new headquarters space.

Amanda’s growth story is a larger-than-life version of what Deshler does best: fostering innovation, elevating craftsmanship, nurturing staff development and working with partners to develop unique solutions to customer needs.

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