Kenworth’s Chillicothe plant celebrates 35 years

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Kenworth Truck Co.’s manufacturing plant in Chillicothe, Ohio, recently celebrated its 35th anniversary of building Kenworth trucks. The company says its largest plant — which currently produces its T660, T800, T2000, W900 and C500 models — has produced more than 325,000 trucks since it was opened in 1974.

“The employees at Chillicothe have played a key role in Kenworth’s success over the past 35 years,” says Scott Blue, Kenworth-Chillicothe plant manager. “Along with well-trained employees, we utilize leading-edge technology, production and logistics systems to build quality Kenworth trucks.”

“Kenworth’s Chillicothe plant is one of the industry’s most advanced truck plants,” says Marilyn Santangelo, the company’s assistant general manager for operations. “The plant has undergone a significant expansion in the past two years and is now one-half million square feet in size, or more than 50 percent larger compared to the 1974 footprint.”

For example, Chillicothe began production early this year with an all-new highly-automated paint system, the first Paccar plant with four paint robots in one booth, allowing two major components to be painted at one time. “With this new capacity, Kenworth gained the ability to make base coat/clear coat standard on all models,” Santangelo says. “Key benefits are much higher resistance to fading and acid rain, consistently higher gloss and enhanced residual value.”

This year, the plant also introduced the new Paccar Technology Center, which provides visitors with insight into Paccar’s technology and quality leadership along with Kenworth’s truck products and support services. The Paccar Technology Center also features Paccar engines, technology demonstrations and interactive displays, and information from Paccar Financial, PacLease, Paccar Parts, Paccar Winch and Dynacraft.

Last year, the plant received the prestigious Global Six Sigma award for Best Project Achievement in the Health, Safety and Environment category; the award highlighted Kenworth’s continuous efforts to improve the environment by finding new ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. Chillicothe also earned the prestigious ISO 14001:2004 certification for effective environmental management systems established to help build Class 8 trucks in an environmentally sustainable manner.