Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC (BSFB) has unveiled a multi-year, $8.7 million expansion and improvement project at its Bowling Green, KY, manufacturing facility. The initiative has helped lead to another annual production milestone, with the Bowling Green operation manufacturing more than one million foundation brakes in a 12-month period.
A joint venture between Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC and Dana Commercial Vehicle Products, LLC, BSFB manufactures Bendix brand name air disc and drum brakes in Bowling Green.
“For more than a decade, Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake has led the industry in developing safer, more effective, and more efficient wheel-end solutions, and those advancements have become reality at our Bowling Green facility,” says Andy Dale, Bowling Green Plant Manager. “This investment strengthens our commitment to highway safety technology, and has had an immediate impact on our ability to meet the continually increasing demand for Bendix foundation brakes. We raised our production volume by 67% in 2014, and our overall production capacity by 70%.”
BSFB expanded its air disc brake production capacity in 2014 through the addition of two new machining centers and 75 new jobs. Two more machining centers will be added in 2015, along with a new assembly line and an expected 15 new jobs, to further support the increasing demand for air disc brakes. Further expansion investment plans include the addition of another assembly line in 2016.
Since 2009, production levels of the Bendix ADB22X air disc brake manufactured in Bowling Green have increased more than fivefold due to the growing popularity of air disc brakes in North America. In 2014, air disc brake production rose 60% compared to the previous year, and in October, employees produced a plant record of nearly 35,000 air disc brakes.
The Bendix ADB22X is available through all six major truck Original Equipment Manufacturers, including Peterbilt, Kenworth, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), Mack, Volvo, and International. The brake has been standard equipment on the steer axle of all Peterbilt Motors Company Class 8 tractors since 2011.
Improvements to BSFB’s foundation drum brake manufacturing process include new equipment and upgrades to improve component assembly, drilling, tapping and machining. BSFB also improved its drum brake component painting and welding capacity.
“State-of-the-art production systems are vital as we continue to improve foundation brake technology and deliver high-performance solutions that meet and exceed federal Reduced Stopping Distance standards,” Dale says. “And our advancements in safety technology are playing a significant role in shaping this facility’s future.”
BSFB’s Bowling Green wheel-end production facility opened in October 2007 to manufacture the full lineup of Bendix foundation brake products. At its opening, the plant employed 133 people and occupied 187,000 square feet. Since then, continued success and expansion have taken the plant to 302,000 square feet and a projected 440 employees in 2015.
TS16949 and ISO14001 certified, the facility has twice earned prestigious manufacturing awards from Kenworth and Peterbilt Motors Company parent PACCAR. The recognition placed BSFB among PACCAR’s elite group of suppliers that meet its demanding quality expectations. In addition, the Bowling Green location was recognized among the top two worldwide manufacturing sites as part of the 2014 Knorr-Bremse Excellence in Global Truck Production rankings. The Knorr-Bremse Group is the Munich, Germany-based parent company of Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC.