Bonfiglioli USA will be expanding its Hebron, KY, operations in Q4 2014. The expansion will include the progressive addition of new production lines of planetary gearboxes for mobile machinery to support the construction, mining, agricultural and forestry industries. The expansion will create dozens of new jobs for the northern Kentucky region.
The Hebron production line will be the first line of manufacturing in the U.S. for Bonfiglioli and will increase the company’s annual capacity of planetary gearboxes by about 24,000 units in the first year to better serve the demand for these gearboxes in the U.S. market. With six different SKUs, the production line will create over 30 new warehouse, operations and assembly positions, with an additional 10 to 12 support positions, when at full capacity.
The initial production will be dedicated to the 700C Series drives for compact construction equipment, with additional production lines of wheel drives for construction and agricultural equipment planned over the next two to five years.
Quality and engineering excellence have always been the hallmark of Bonfiglioli products. To guarantee quality consistency, the Hebron facility will also integrate a state-of-the-art quality lab for testing equipment throughout the assembly process, with multiple quality checks and controls performed. To continue Bonfiglioli’s tradition of engineering excellence, the majority of product engineering will remain with the headquarters in Forli, Italy while continuing to work closely with customers and the application engineers in Hebron, to design personalized solutions for each customer.
“There will be many benefits to our U.S. customer base once this production line is operational,” says Greg Schulte, President of Bonfiglioli USA. “Most importantly, we will be able to shorten the overall supply chain for our U.S. customers by reducing lead times, improving flexibility and being more responsive to our customer needs and to variations in demand for planetary gearboxes.”
At this time, the addition of the production line will not require an expansion of the current facility; instead, Bonfiglioli USA will work within its current warehouse footprint of about 80,000 square feet. “With the continued implementation of lean manufacturing processes, we can add these production lines without the need to expand the building. We have plenty of room for expansion in the future, if needed,” continued Mr. Schulte. “As customer needs change, we will adapt and change as well.”
Bonfiglioli USA opened its first U.S. facility, a 10,000 square foot warehouse, in Lafayette, IN in 1999. With high quality and a wide variety of products, Bonfiglioli products quickly earned respect from the U.S. market. With ongoing support from the Italian headquarters to expand operations to the current 80,000 square foot facility, Bonfiglioli USA continues to increase its market share in the U.S. gearbox industry, resulting in additional support from Bologna.
“The U.S. market has been extremely important for Bonfiglioli in the last 10 years - it is now the largest market for us in the world for the Mobile Solutions Division, and we firmly believe it will be even more important in the future,” says Fausto Carboni, General Manager for the Mobile & Wind Solution Business Unit.
“The kind of customers we are engaged with in the U.S. makes the move of production localization a very viable, solid investment for our future. We believe being local will enhance our opportunities on the market through a better service to local Customers, and will represent an important milestone for the future of our company.”
Sonia Bonfiglioli, President and CEO of Bonfiglioli, adds, “Some years ago, Bonfiglioli implemented a company-wide 'Local for Local' initiative to better respond to customers around the world, with even greater competence and attention. With our customers at the forefront, we added production in new markets such as Asia and South America and improved our customer service capabilities. Now we turn our attention to the U.S., where local production, customer services and after-sales support will enable Bonfiglioli to create and strengthen relationships with our customers, respond immediately to market demands and more promptly deliver products and services. I am very happy to see my father’s legacy reach this global scale and look forward to continued expansion.”