Philippi-Hagenbuch celebrates its 50th year in business

L.B. “Phil” Philippi, left, and LeRoy Hagenbuch in 1970.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Philippi-Hagenbuch, which developed the Autogate Tailgate, the first commercially available tailgate for off-highway haul trucks.

The company was founded November 4, 1969, by L.B. “Phil” Philippi and son-in-law LeRoy Hagenbuch in Philippi’s basement.

Since then, the family-owned company in Peoria, Illinois, has continued to introduce new innovations for off-highway truck bodies, onboard weighing systems and black-box technology. It has also made improvements to haul truck safety with seatbelt detection, water tank access, distribution and material confinement. Other innovations have been made for ejector body and trailer technology, truck body volumetric capacity technology, bottom dump trailer technology, industrial strength hook-trucks and scissor lifts.

Philippi-Hagenbuch’s rear-eject HiVol body

The company’s first client was a rock quarry in Wisconsin. It was able to help the quarry achieve the rated load for its haul trucks by adding tailgates and sideboards. Three years after delivering its first product, it established its first international distributor in Brisbane, Australia. It soon expanded into mining and power plant industries with truck bodies and trailers.

Philippi-Hagenbuch is now led by Danette Swank, middle left. LeRoy Hagenbuch (middle right) continues with the company as chief engineer.

In the 1980s, it helped New York City expand the capacities of its trucks at the Fresh Kills Landfill with high-volume refuse bodies. The company added water tanks in the late 1990s. And in the next century, it expanded into ejector body and trailer technology.

Philippi passed away in 1977. LeRoy Hagenbuch remains with the company as its chief engineer, overseeing the engineering and R&D departments. Hagenbuch’s daughter and Philippi’s granddaughter, Danette Swank, runs the company as its president.

“From our humble beginnings in the basement of our founder’s home to the present where we’ve invented countless technologies for the off-highway truck industry, we’re proud to be known for our engineering and innovation,” said Josh Swank, vice president of sales and marketing. “Over the last fifty years, the dedication and forward-thinking of our associates has led us to become a global leader in haul truck usage and innovation.”

The company will be hosting celebrations throughout 2019 to celebrate its 50th year, including during trade shows and client and dealer visits.