While Adding Vibration Damper Production Lines, Bendix Completes Lighting Retrofit, Implements Building Upgrades, and Nears Goal of Zero Waste to Landfill
ELYRIA, Ohio – July 12, 2018 – Call it seizing the opportunity. Last fall, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems began adding two new production lines at Plant 2 of its Huntington, Indiana, manufacturing campus. At the same time, the company committed to transforming the facility into a model of sustainability by focusing on energy, building, and waste-diversion improvements.
This summer, the new production lines – which manufacture a portion of Bendix’s vibration damper product portfolio – are becoming fully operational, and the environmental transformation is nearly complete.
“Even in the midst of production upswings, we never forget our tremendous responsibility to be an environmentally conscious corporate citizen. Our mindset as a company is to see business-growth efforts – such as adding production lines at Huntington – as opportunities for sustainability improvements as well,” said Maria Gutierrez, Bendix director of corporate responsibility and sustainability. “In the case of Plant 2, we committed to transforming the facility in energy use reduction, carbon footprint shrinking, and waste diversion. Our goal was to sweat every detail to make the plant a model for our sustainability efforts.”
Eyes on the Environment
During the production line expansion at Huntington Plant 2, the first action in the sustainability improvements was a lighting retrofit, completed in November 2017. Bendix replaced 1,650 32-watt fluorescent bulbs with LED bulbs, each rated at 15 watts. Estimated annual kilowatt hour savings are 112,200, with a concurrent $12,000 savings in energy and maintenance costs. The company combined this effort with a rebate from Duke Energy to create a return on investment of less than 1.2 years. The interior lighting project, which followed installation of LED exterior lighting in 2016, completes the conversion to all LED lighting at the building.
Gutierrez noted that Bendix will gain additional energy reductions at the plant by implementing electrical submetering – energy-monitoring hardware and software – to track ongoing energy consumption, and performance of HVAC and major pieces of production equipment.
The building that houses Plant 2 has also undergone a roof replacement completed in December 2017. A complete new roof deck increased the R factor for insulation of the overall building envelope, doubling the R value rating – a measure of insulating effectiveness – of the roof system. A replacement of all the office windows in the building during the first half of the year also helped deliver further energy savings.
In terms of waste diversion, Bendix is striving to achieve zero waste to landfill for Plant 2 by the end of 2018 – part of the company’s goal to become 100 percent landfill-free by 2020. As with all other Bendix sites, the Huntington plant employs a two-step plan to increase waste diversion. The first step targets diversion of only industrial waste. Step two targets diversion from landfills of all remaining waste, including general trash and cafeteria waste.
According to Gutierrez, key waste diversion and recycling programs include spent-material audits (also called dumpster dives) that identify remaining opportunities in the Bendix recycling and diversion programs. Among the other efforts are instituting returnable packaging with suppliers whenever possible.
Gutierrez also noted that recently Huntington Plant 2 successfully completed ISO14001:2015 transition audits, one of 11 Bendix facilities across six locations to do so. A team at the facility prepared for more than a year to strengthen environmental management systems to accommodate the latest revisions to the ISO14001 standard.
The new lines – part of a $3.8 million capital investment in equipment – are installed at the Module Center at Huntington Plant 2. Vibration engine dampers are used to reduce torsional vibration on engine crankshafts to prevent shaft failure and reduce noise. They also play a role in improved fuel economy.
Bendix, the North American leader in the development and manufacture of leading-edge active safety, air management, and braking system technologies for commercial vehicles, will begin serial production of Front Gear Train and Bolted dampers at the facility in a phased approach starting in July 2018. Full production volumes are expected by January 2019. The move will add approximately 20 hourly jobs over three shifts and seven new salaried positions.
The location in Huntington supplements the manufacturing capacity of Bendix’s primary damper production plant in North Aurora, Illinois. A significant business win with a key Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) customer, plus a production shift to align the company’s global footprint – more than doubling the North American business demands – prompted the expansion. The new production in Huntington is expected to generate nearly 170,000 dampers per year on top of current volumes.
The bustling Huntington manufacturing campus opened in February 1980 and consists of four facilities with over 400 employees.
About Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC
Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, a member of the Knorr-Bremse Group, develops and supplies leading-edge active safety technologies, energy management solutions, and air brake charging and control systems and components under the Bendix® brand name for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, tractors, trailers, buses, and other commercial vehicles throughout North America. An industry pioneer, employing more than 3,200 people, Bendix is driven to deliver solutions for improved vehicle safety, performance, and overall operating cost. Contact us at 1-800-AIR-BRAKE (1-800-247-2725) or visit bendix.com. Stay connected and informed through Bendix expert podcasts, blog posts, videos, and other resources at knowledge-dock.com. Follow Bendix on Twitter at twitter.com/Bendix_CVS. Log on and learn from the Bendix experts at brake-school.com. And to learn more about career opportunities at Bendix, visit bendix.com/careers.