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Bendix hosts grand opening of production line

August 9th, 2014

News Coverage:

Bendix hosts grand opening of production line

New area can remanufacture 1 million brake shoes

Posted: Saturday, August 9, 2014 1:30 pm

BY LUCAS BECHTOL lbechtol@h-ponline.com

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC hosted a grand opening celebration Friday of a $3.2 million production line at one of the Huntington facilities.

The production line takes old brake shoes for vehicles, removes any hardware that’s still attached, washes them, de-rivets, blasts, cleans and paints used brake shoes to turn them back into like-new conditions, Chris Camp, operations manager for the Bendix plant, said.

This location, on Sabine Street, has been in the assembly process of brake shoes for around two years, but two months ago the workers started the salvaging process, he said.

“Now that it’s come to fruition, there are a lot of loud and proud attitudes out there,” Camp said. “They’re extremely impressed with how far they’ve come and it was a pretty large obstacle to actually launch this facility because it was new to us.”

One of the biggest challenges, that also sets them apart from competitors, is that they have contained the “dirty side of the business from the clean side, he added.

In addition to the $3.2 million investment, the new remanufacturing center will hire around 65 workers by next week, Camp said.

“We’re trying to protect the community and the local government by securing our footprint within this regional area,” he said. “We’re protecting our employees because we’ve launched a lot of safety initiatives to make sure fatigue is reduced.”

Customers are also protected through their quality-inspection measures.

Now that the new area is complete, Bendix decided it was time to party.

“Today we’re actually going to shut down all four facilities in Huntington for about two hours, get all the employees over to this plant and have a celebration in recognition of all the accomplishments we’ve achieved over the last few months,” Camp said.

Frank Gilboy, product manager of remanufacturing brake shoes, said Bendix saw “a real opportunity” in the remanufacturing of brake shoes that led to the company’s investment and expansion in Huntington.

“(This was done) in order to put ourselves in a good position to service that market and grow our business,” he said. “It’s always nice when we can continue to invest in our company in Huntington. … We were able to take a facility that was winding down a few years ago and was able to repurpose it.”

Right now, Bendix can remanufacture around one million brake shoes a year, but Gilboy said the business could triple over the next four years.

This means that “significant labor” would be added over that period, he said.