LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Trailer maker Wabash is expanding the manufacturing capacity of its EcoNex™ Technology in order to make what company officials say are “significant improvements to refrigerated trailers.”
According to a news release, this will “address customer demand and equipment challenges that refrigerated carriers have faced for years, including thermal efficiency, strength, weight and asset life.”
As part of this expansion, Wabash is investing an additional $20 million at its 53-acre facility in Little Falls, Minnesota, and adding more than 200 jobs by the end of 2023.
“EcoNex Technology is Wabash’s proprietary, next-generation molded structural composite that utilizes environmentally conscious materials aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and dependency on non-renewable energy,” according to the news release.
A refrigerated trailer with EcoNex Technology is estimated to save up to 13.5 metric tons of CO2e per year compared to Wabash’s former ArcticLite® refrigerated trailer made with conventional materials, company officials said.
“Although Wabash developed EcoNex with trailers in mind, its scalability across our portfolio is substantial,” Brent Yeagy, president and chief executive officer, said. “At the end of 2021, we announced the launch of our refrigerated home delivery vehicle, and our initial backlog of $10 million for these new vehicles doubled in the following 90 days.”
Yeagy added, “What’s more, we think EcoNex has applications beyond our core markets because of its superior thermal capability, weight and strength. Our investment to expand EcoNex capacity, which we discussed at our May investor meeting, is intended to serve our trailer and truck body customers while we scale EcoNex in adjacent industries.”
EcoNex Technology boasts greater thermal capability while being lighter weight, and Wabash officials claim the technology “substantially reduces corrosion and extends asset life.”
“Whether we are transporting frozen vegetables in the heat of summer or fresh fruit in the cold of winter, EcoNex Technology assures the temperatures inside the trailers are consistent,” Ken Johnson, chief executive officer at Leonard’s Express, Inc., said.
Little Falls Mayor Greg Zylka praised the company for its expansion.
“I admire Wabash’s commitment to corporate citizenship and am proud to see the incredible impact this expansion will have on our local economy and community,” the mayor said. “We are looking forward to a long-term relationship with Wabash to continue to expand opportunities and help our great community grow and prosper.”
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.