SAF-Holland announced Friday, March 6, that axle production commenced at its Warrenton, Mo. facility in February, with initial shipments of both drum- and disc-braked axles. The company says the plant will continue to ramp up production throughout 2009 to eventually provide axles for all of its current North American trailer suspension offerings and aftermarket requirements.
“The merger of SAF and Holland has provided us with a unique opportunity to serve our customers with suspension systems specifically designed for and produced in their individual markets,” says Sam Martin, chief operating officer. “By leveraging our global manufacturing experience and our extensive design capabilities, we now have exactly the system offerings, complete with our own axles and brakes, that our North American customers need to stay competitive in today’s challenging business environment.”
Axle manufacturing operations at the revamped Warrenton North Plant have been integrated into a streamlined facility that will occupy about one-half of an existing 235,000-square-foot facility, which also houses stamping and roll-forming operations, the company says; as designed, the plant is capable of producing 80,000 axles per year.
“The Warrenton Plant’s Lean Manufacturing and One-Piece flow processes will deliver a significantly higher level of efficiency and just-in-time responsiveness to customer needs,” says Richard Abel, director of industrial and manufacturing engineering for SAF-Holland. “Technologies, such as barcode-driven data, will be used to optimize the manufacturing process and allow continual monitoring throughout the process. Every axle design and process will also be validated by an extensive battery of verification and compliance testing to ensure complete quality control and performance.”
SAF-Holland says the commencement of axle manufacturing at the Warrenton North Plant marks the completion of the first phase of its multiphase program for axle manufacturing in North America. According to the company, the completed project will represent one of the most modern and efficient axle production facilities of its kind in the industry today.