Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC (BSFB) has broken ground on a 130,000-sq.-ft. expansion of its wheel-end manufacturing facility in Bowling Green, KY. The $65 million addition to the BSFB plant will increase air disc brake production capacity to keep pace with accelerating customer demand in North America.
Bendix is expanding on nearly 8.5 acres immediately adjacent to BSFB’s 302,000-sq.-ft. building, a leased space the company is purchasing as part of the investment. Among other improvements in support of Bendix’s North American air disc brake (ADB) portfolio, the expansion will add a new bracket weld machine center, a third ADB production line, four ADB caliper machining centers, engineering test capability, and an on-site medical clinic and wellness center. Space will also be held in reserve to address long-term growth opportunities.
The facility employs over 400 team members covering three shifts. Completion of the upgraded plant – which will total 432,000 sq. ft. – is expected by the end of 2020.
BSFB is a joint venture between Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC and Dana Commercial Vehicle Products, LLC. It produces the full lineup of commercially available Bendix brand foundation drum and air disc brake solutions at the Bowling Green wheel-end facility. At its opening, in 2007, the plant employed 133 people and occupied 187,000 sq. ft. Since then, Bendix has invested millions of dollars in production capacity and equipment – part of the company’s commitment to continually invest in its manufacturing operations.
“Our team in Bowling Green is exceptional. They surpassed the 3-million-unit production milestone for the Bendix ADB22X air disc brake earlier this year. And now, through this latest investment, they will be even better positioned to meet the escalating demand for air disc brakes in North America,” says Carlos Hungria, Bendix Chief Operating Officer. “The improved space is part of our ongoing drive to optimize Bendix’s production facilities, as we keep our focus squarely on addressing the needs of our customers.”
Bendix’s strategy of ongoing investments, Hungria points out, have contributed to production and quality achievements at the Bowling Green operation.
The facility, located at 346 Central Avenue, is also adding six docks, three recycling compactors, 100 spaces in an enlarged parking lot, and a driveway for more efficient truck routing to and from the building.
“Our manufacturing operations have benefited from the teamwork, commitment, and dedication of our employees,” says Wade Watson, Bendix Plant Manager in Bowling Green. “We are eagerly anticipating the expanded site, supported by enhanced engineering resource capability, which will provide the capacity to help keep up with customer demand for our air disc brake products.”
According to Maria Gutierrez, Bendix Director of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, “The expanded Bowling Green site will incorporate green building guidelines, an energy-efficient infrastructure, and zero waste planning as essential elements in the construction plans. The building will adhere to Bendix’s strict environmental and sustainability requirements, and be an even safer and healthier place for our team members.”
Watson cited the support of outside partners in the expansion effort, including the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority. Representatives of these organizations, along with local and regional dignitaries, joined executives from Bendix and Munich, Germany-based parent company Knorr-Bremse at the groundbreaking.
“We are grateful for the strong cooperation and support we’ve long received from our partners in south central Kentucky,” Hungria says. “With their help, we’ve been able to continue our expansion of the Bowling Green operation. We look forward to writing the next chapters in the story of this facility.”