Ten years ago, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC and Dana Commercial Vehicle Products, LLC – companies with almost 200 combined years in the commercial vehicle industry – created Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC (BSFB). Their joint venture celebrates its first decade as a single, complete source for OE brake system design, manufacturing, hardware and support for all foundation brake components and actuation systems.
“We’re proud of how our business has evolved. For 10 years, we have consistently broken new ground and delivered the industry’s most effective, efficient, and forward-looking wheel-end solutions, advancing commercial vehicle technology and helping to improve highway safety,” says BSFB President Eddie Wilkinson. “We also bring our inventive approaches to the global stage as the technological lead and Center for Excellence for drum brakes and actuation for Bendix parent company, the Knorr-Bremse Group.”
BSFB is headquartered in Elyria, OH, with engineering centers in Elyria and Kalamazoo, MI, and manufacturing facilities in Bowling Green, KY; Huntington, IN; and Acuña, Mexico.
During its first decade, BSFB has made the most of its powerful heritage through regular expansion of its operations and facilities, recognition for its achievements, and the development of new and crucial commercial vehicle technologies. These include:
Growth and Accolades
- 2004: Formation of Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake, which joins the wheel-end business unit from Bendix with the foundation brake business unit from Dana Corporation.
- 2005: Start of domestic production of air disc brakes in Frankfort, KY.
- 2006: Acquisition of Fresno, CA-based Di-Pro Inc. This expands BSFB operations to include manufacture and distribution of heavy-duty trucking spring brake actuators and brake chambers.
- 2006: Designation as the lead drum brake design center within the worldwide Knorr-Bremse Group, the Munich, Germany-based parent company of Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems.
- 2007: Opening of the BSFB wheel-end production facility in Bowling Green, KY, to manufacture the full lineup of Bendix foundation brake products. At its opening in October 2007, the Bowling Green plant employed 133 people and occupied 187,000 square feet. Production began October 31, 2007.
- 2010: PACCAR 50 PPM quality award win for the Bowling Green operation. The recognition places BSFB among PACCAR’s elite group of suppliers that meet its demanding quality expectations.
- 2011: Expansion of air disc brake production line in Bowling Green, including an automated production line and 34,000 square feet of new space that triples the plant’s assembly capacity.
- 2011: Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce Expansion Award, noting BSFB’s addition of 221 full-time positions in Bowling Green.
- 2012: $5.8 million investment in capacity expansion and new equipment for air disc and drum brake production in Bowling Green.
- 2012: Launch of Bendix’s brake shoe remanufacturing operations in Huntington, IN. BSFB’s leadership in brake shoe remanufacturing is combined with Bendix’s nearly 40 years of reman expertise.
- 2013: Bowling Green operation is recognized with its second PACCAR 50 PPM quality award.
- 2014: Recognized among the top two worldwide manufacturing sites as part of the 2014 Knorr-Bremse Excellence in Global Truck Production rankings.
- 2014: Further expanded its remanufacturing capabilities and capacity with a $3.2 million capital investment in equipment and facility upgrades at the Bendix Brake Shoe Remanufacturing Center in Huntington.
Technology Launches and Milestones
- 2005: Introduction of the Bendix ADB22X air disc brake. The ADB22X offers twice the lining life, four times the rotor life, and half the service time of comparable drum brakes.
- 2005: Introduction of the enhanced Bendix ASA-5 automatic slack adjuster. The ASA-5 provides an extended service life and features a revised design with enhanced sealing and lubrication loading.
- 2007: Introduction of the industry’s first portable training unit to demonstrate foundation brake assembly, disassembly, and maintenance. The unit simplifies training by utilizing four full-size brake assemblies on a portable stand.
- 2008: The Bendix SB-4 combination spring brake achieves standard position on all Utility Trailer Manufacturing Co. models and all Vanguard National Trailer Corp. dry van trailer models.
- 2008: Introduction of the aluminum hub and the Splined Disc Rotor assembly for air disc brakes. The assembly reduces total wheel-end weight and rotor dynamic stresses, provides improved thermal balance, and offers longer brake life.
- 2009: Availability of the Bendix ADB22X air disc brake as an option at all six major North American truck OEMs: Peterbilt, Kenworth, DTNA, Mack, Volvo, and International.
- 2009: Bendix Extended Service (ES Brakes) foundation drum brakes achieve standard position at Mack and Volvo Trucks.
- 2010: Introduction of the Bendix Versajust automatic slack adjuster. Versajust offers a precise adjustment rate unique to the industry, allowing better running clearance between the brake shoe and drum while greatly resisting overadjustment in demanding applications. Its innovative design improves brake efficiency, reduces stopping distances, and increases brake lining life.
- 2011: Introduction of a higher performing version of Bendix’s Extended Service drum brake (ES Brakes), developed to meet federal Reduced Stopping Distance requirements mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
- 2011: Introduction of the Bendix EverSure Spring Brake with the No Touch Power Spring. The next-generation, double-diaphragm spring brake for drum brakes, EverSure virtually eliminates coil clash and protects the premium epoxy coating used on all Bendix power springs. It offers unsurpassed durability and weighs up to 8 pounds less per tandem axle than most comparable designs.
- 2011: Bendix ADB22X air disc brakes attain standard position on the steer axle of all Peterbilt Motors Company Class 8 trucks.
- 2012: BSFB manufactures its 250,000th ADB22X air disc brake in Bowling Green.
- 2013: Launch of the online Formula Blue Parts Guide, providing quick and easy searches of more than 8,000 hydraulic brake parts.
- 2013: Introduction of Bendix Advanced RSD, the industry’s first aftermarket friction certified to maintain compliance with the federal mandate for Reduced Stopping Distance. Bendix Advanced is part of a new three-level Bendix aftermarket friction portfolio that includes friction engineered to meet every customer need for safety, performance, and value.
- 2013: BSFB manufactures 180,000 air disc brakes in Bowling Green, including its 500,000th Bendix ADB22X model.
- 2013: BSFB manufactures its one-millionth EverSure spring brake in Bowling Green.
“In just 10 years – and in an ever-more-rapidly changing commercial vehicle environment – BSFB has achieved remarkable successes,” Wilkinson notes. “Most importantly, our team has delivered product performance, safety, value, and support to the industry – benefiting everyone from OEs to fleet operators to drivers. We’re proud to belong to this partnership, and excited to continue pursuing our shared vision and passion for excellence.”