Candy Controls Timing Control Manufacturing Candy Controls
When Timing is Everything

Candy Controls History: Bob Hendershot and the Phase Variator


When Bob Hendershot started out in the 1950s, designing and engineering production process and automation equipment, he hardly could have expected that, 60 years later, his products would be used during the installation phase of the world’s largest offshore wind energy farm.

Bob’s initial experience involved manufacturing machinery in food processing (industrial baking), and in the production of picture frame machine components. Bob realized early in his career that, in automated processes, precision control was needed in the timing of mechanical operations to ensure high quality, and efficient production cycles. Near the end of the 1950’s, Bob was certain that he’d found a way to reduce production downtime and to guarantee precise machine control by offering mechanical timing and positioning control with an adjustable-while-running chain driven gearbox installed within a production machine’s drivetrain. This innovative timing device became known as the Candy Phase Variator.


With the success of the Phase Variator, already available in the early 1960s in various sizes, Bob took his new company, Candy Mfg. Co., Inc., on to design and engineer additional precision gearboxes for the printing, converting, and food and beverage processing industries. By the end of the 1970s, customers all over the world were using Candy’s motion control products to make on-the-fly rotary position and timing adjustments for a variety of manufacturing applications. Bob and his company provided solutions for applications from food processing, handling and packaging (food products including hot dogs, cookies, candy bars, frozen dinners, etc.) and beverage filling and bottling operations (products including soda, juice, tea, alcoholic beverages, pharmaceuticals), to web tensioning, draw control and running register control for web printing and die cutting (products including labels, package printing, brochures, magazines, newspapers, etc.).

The Future

Today, the company is in its second generation of management with Sarah Hendershot serving as President, and Kennedy Hendershot serving as Vice President. Bob’s first invention, the Phase Variator, continues to be an excellent solution for today’s rotary motion control applications. Candy controls maintains its tradition of product innovation, quality and excellence, and has introduced a full line of servo reducers, zero-backlash shaft couplings, screw jacks and right angle gearboxes. The company’s products are now organized into the following six categories:

Candy Controls remains a forward-looking company committed to solving the ever-changing needs of its customers, while staying true to its family roots.