Milestone Marked by Growth, Employee Commitment, and Community Involvement
ELYRIA, Ohio – June 7, 2018 – First came Plant I, in May 1988. Its focus? OEM assembly and machining for the Controls business unit. Plant II followed, in 2000, for remanufacturing and OEM service as part of the Charging unit. In 2010, Plant III opened to manufacture actuator products. The fourth facility, a bustling logistics center, joined the operation last fall.
A steadily growing campus consisting of four state-of-the-art facilities: Welcome to the Acuña, Mexico, manufacturing operation of Bendix (Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC and Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC). As the operation marks its 30th anniversary, Bendix celebrates the milestone and credits the plant’s diverse business portfolio, measurable growth, employee dedication, and community involvement for fueling its success.
Bendix’s Acuña operation employs more than 2,000 workers and encompasses 521,000 square feet. More than a dozen employees have been with the operation since it started. Bendix Acuña also supports a distribution center in Mexico City that serves South American customers and houses the headquarters of Mexico-based OEM and aftermarket technical sales, training, and support teams.
Acuña represents one of the fastest growing Bendix manufacturing sites, and executives of the Knorr-Bremse Group – Bendix’s parent company – consider it a model manufacturing facility. Knorr-Bremse honored the Acuña operation as its top-ranked plant in 2011. Bendix recently expanded its presence in Mexico, opening a new Engineering Research and Development Center in Monterrey.
“Over 30 years, Bendix Acuña has compiled a noteworthy record of achievements, from growth initiatives and expansion of its high-tech production capabilities to deeply meaningful community support efforts,” said Carlos Hungria, Bendix chief operating officer. “Just as important, the men and women of the Acuña operation have made it a valued corporate citizen in its home communities in Mexico and Del Rio, Texas, Acuña’s sister city across the U.S. border.”
Bendix, the North American leader in the development and manufacture of active safety, air management, and braking system technologies for commercial vehicles, has consistently invested in the high-tech production capabilities of the Acuña operation.
“As the commercial vehicle marketplace continues to evolve, our manufacturing operations evolve as well. We consistently introduce greater automation and high-tech assembly to our shop floor to improve our productivity, and our ability to meet and exceed delivery expectations for our original equipment manufacturers and fleets alike,” said Jackie Perez, plant manager of Bendix Acuña. “The ever-increasing high-tech production capabilities in Acuña help keep our workforce striving for excellence and allow us to meet our customers’ growing demand with increased flexibility – and with Bendix’s hallmark product performance, quality, and reliability.”
Most recently, to support increasing customer demand, Bendix doubled the plant’s manufacturing capabilities – through production line expansion and improvement – for high-performing solenoid valves and assembled manifolds.
With a $1.5 million investment bridging 2015 and 2016, Bendix added a new low-flow solenoid production line and a new manifold line to its high-tech assembly facilities, increasing capacity as well as offering custom ordering and just-in-time delivery.
In October 2016, following a $4.6 million investment, Bendix began to produce driver control modules (DCM) on an advanced new assembly line at the Acuña campus. The modules – complex premanufactured, pretested subassemblies – are built for Navistar, Inc., and are used in medium-duty, Class 8, and military vehicles.
For the new DCM line, Bendix invested in sophisticated production line technology, trained operators extensively for the high-tech assembly process, and added stringent new quality measures.
Bendix Acuña has also been recognized for its extensive community involvement, which dates back to the plant’s founding.
The operation, with additional support through the Knorr-Bremse Global Care program, has funded the construction of a community library, infrastructure improvements at nearby schools, and playground cleanup and installation. Bendix has also helped fund a new home for a local orphanage, helped rebuild homes for tornado survivors, and purchased an ambulance for the local chapter of the Mexican Red Cross.
In the last two years, Bendix launched two educational initiatives. First, the company created a unique 180-hour light manufacturing technical course for at-risk youth in Acuña. Second, Bendix helped build an advanced industrial production laboratory for a local technical vocational school. Bendix also established a dual-education apprenticeship opportunity for select students of the vocational school, while delivering practical training for the students at the Acuña campus.
In addition, Bendix supports the local Relay For Life cancer fundraisers, local sports teams, and the competitive robotics team at Del Rio High School.
“Social responsibility is in our DNA, both for the company and the people who work here,” Perez said. “Giving back is woven deep into our corporate values. This commitment to our home community is demonstrated every day throughout the organization.”
Internally, the Bendix Acuña operation has offered on-site elementary, middle, and high school educational opportunities, taught by certified teachers who tutor and administer state-mandated exams. More than 258 employees have graduated through these classes in the past 19 years.
“The people who work here are the heart, soul, and backbone of Bendix Acuña, and we could not be prouder of our dedicated family of employees. Their contributions are key to both our leadership in the commercial vehicle industry and our continuing progress,” Perez said. “Their diligence is also key to our solid safety record, allowing the employees in Acuña Plants I and II to each achieve one year without a recordable injury in 2017 and 2018, respectively, while our team in Acuña Plant III reached over 1.5 million hours without a lost time injury in 2017. In addition, employees help drive our environmental efforts, as Bendix closes in on its overall goal of becoming 100 percent landfill-free by 2020; and our community support initiatives, which help make Bendix Acuña such a positive force for local good.”
A sampling of employee voices – from team members celebrating 30 years with the Acuña operation – attests to the feelings for the company shared by many in the Acuña workforce.
“The company has helped me to prepare, and today, I can do what I like most – what I´m passionate about – which is to deal with people,” said Isabel Monsivais, human resources assistant. “It gives me great satisfaction to be able to help my co-workers – and I can do that, and do it well, thanks to Bendix.”
Alfredo Pérez, a technician at the Metrology Lab, said, “I’m very happy to celebrate 30 years working at Bendix. The future is to continue evolving, learning, and meeting my established goals.”
A third voice is that of Rosy Sanjuan, quality inspector: “After 30 years, for me, Bendix means a lot – it means everything. I am very grateful to God for bringing me to this site when I was 22 years old. It allowed me to have children and provide an education for them. My husband and one of my children now work here. I am 53 years old, and I see Bendix as my family.”
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