ELYRIA, Ohio — In March 1980, Bendix’s then-named Heavy Vehicle Systems Group began operations in Huntington, Indiana, employing 30 people at its newly built warehouse and distribution center.
This year, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC celebrates 35 years as a community and industry leader in Huntington, with 450 workers employed across four growing high-tech facilities.
“Bendix’s growth and success here in Huntington have been built on the strength of our talented and innovative workforce,” said Fred Stevens, interim plant manager for Bendix at Huntington. “The work they do in producing, distributing, and supporting our leading-edge commercial vehicle safety technologies makes a positive impact every day on highways across North America.”
Huntington’s plant manager, Mike Pogorelc, is currently completing a short-term international assignment for Bendix’s parent company, the Munich, Germany-based Knorr-Bremse Group. He is leading the transformation of a manufacturing facility in India as part of the company’s commitment to offer opportunities for strong professional growth and global learning to its leadership.
Bendix’s Huntington operation includes manufacturing and assembly facilities, as well as Bendix’s primary North American distribution center.
Together, the four locations cover 547,000 square feet. Plant I is the largest at 311,000 square feet, and primarily handles Bendix’s air compressor remanufacturing operations and electronics assembly. Plant I is also home to Bendix’s primary distribution center. The other three facilities consist of Bendix’s 100,000-square-foot Post-Sales Center, which provides remanufactured part inspection and warranty support work; the Modules Center (62,000 square feet), housing three production lines for commercial vehicle control modules; and the Bendix Brake Shoe Remanufacturing Center, opened in 2012 and expanded in 2014 to 74,000 square feet, which can produce several million remanufactured commercial vehicle brake shoes annually.
Work done at the Huntington campus has consistently been recognized by high-profile commercial vehicle manufacturers. Most recently, in 2014 the operation received prestigious quality manufacturing awards from Paccar – maker of Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks – and Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), which builds vehicles under the Freightliner, Western Star, and Thomas Built buses nameplates.
“Our employees’ idea generation and the initiative they take to personally address quality improvements are vital,” Stevens said. “Over the years, we have implemented thousands of improvement ideas generated directly by the people who know these systems best, and the results have kept us at the forefront of the industry.”
Milestones in the Huntington operation’s development include:
• 1980 – Huntington’s Plant 1 Distribution Center opens with 30 employees.
• 1984 – Air compressor remanufacturing operations begin.
• 1997 – Second Huntington facility opens, adding original equipment manufacturing capabilities.
• 2000 – Huntington’s third facility opens to support manufacture of pre-tested sub-assemblies known as integrated modules.
• 2002 – Bendix becomes a member of the Knorr-Bremse Group.
• 2003 – Huntington’s Plant 1 Distribution Center undergoes a 63,000-square-foot expansion to support business growth.
• 2005 – Huntington begins inventory management and distribution for Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake, a joint venture of Bendix and Dana Commercial Vehicle Products, LLC.
• 2008 – Bendix announces an $8.3 million expansion of Huntington operations and opens its Sabine Street facility, which houses the Huntington operation’s second modules production plant.
• 2012 – The Bendix Brake Shoe Remanufacturing Center begins serial production at the Sabine Street facility, launching Bendix’s brake shoe remanufacturing operations.
• 2013 – Bendix opens an on-site healthcare center for Huntington employees, offering workplace access to primary care, health assessments, health coaching, and disease management.
• 2014 – With a $3.2 million capital investment, Bendix expands Huntington’s brake shoe remanufacturing capabilities and capacity.
• 2014 – Bendix’s Huntington manufacturing operations earn the Daimler Trucks North America 2013 Masters of Quality Award, as well as a place on PACCAR’s list of premier suppliers that meet demanding quality expectations, and
• 2015 – The Bendix Brake Shoe Remanufacturing Center marks 2.5 million shoes assembled since its opening.
As one of Huntington County’s top employers, Bendix contributes approximately $19 million per year to the area’s economy through payroll, taxes, and payments to local suppliers.
Bendix leadership and employees are also active community supporters. Many members of the Huntington leadership team participate on local boards, and employees donate their time and resources in service to local charities such as Junior Achievement, the Huntington County United Way, and the Huntington Boys & Girls Clubs, which received a $50,000 pledge from Bendix last year.
“Many of us call Huntington home, and the importance of giving back to our communities is a long-held belief in the Bendix culture,” Stevens said. “From corporate donations to fundraisers and hours of volunteer service, we are committed to improving the places in which we live and work.”
Bendix’s Huntington operation plays a key role as Bendix delivers on safety, value, product performance, and post-sales support. By helping fleets and drivers lower total cost of vehicle ownership and strengthen return on investment in equipment and technology, the work increases safety for everyone on the road.
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