Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC is celebrating a quarter-century of expansion, innovation, safety, and community involvement at its Acuña, Mexico, facility. Established in May 1988, Bendix’s Acuña manufacturing operation consists of three state-of-the-art facilities employing more than 1,000 workers and encompassing 412,000 square feet. The Bendix Acuña operation also supports a distribution center in Mexico City that serves South American customers and houses the headquarters of Mexico-based OE and aftermarket technical sales, training, and support teams. A diverse business profile, measurable growth, and team achievement have fueled the operation’s success.
“Acuña has achieved a long list of accomplishments in its 25 years as part of the Bendix family, including several growth initiatives, product line expansions, and a world-class safety record that includes a zero-accident year for Acuña Plant I in 2010,” said Joe McAleese, Bendix president and CEO. “But more than that, the people of the Acuña facility have made it a positive force in the communities it calls home, both in Mexico and across the U.S. border in the sister city of Del Rio, Texas.”
Acuña Plant I was established with a focus on OEM assembly and machining, in alignment with Bendix’s Controls business unit. Manufacturing includes electronic assembly, valve assembly, and Bendix’s Aluminum Machining Center of Excellence.
Acuña II opened in 2000 and is primarily dedicated to remanufacturing and OEM service. The plant handles air dryer assembly and machining, remanufacture of air dryers and valves, and OEM compressor assembly and machining, all aligned with the Bendix Charging business unit.
Bendix opened Acuña III in 2010 for the manufacture of actuator products, including spring brakes and service chambers. The former brownfield was refurbished and upgraded, adding more than 150 jobs to the Acuña roster.
Acuña represents one of the fastest growing Bendix manufacturing sites, and executives of the Knorr-Bremse Group consider it a model manufacturing facility. Knorr-Bremse honored the Acuña operation as its top-ranked plant in 2011.
The facility has also been recognized for its extensive community involvement, which dates back to the plant’s founding and the formation of the Madasa Foundation, a nonprofit focused on education and activities for the children in Acuña.
The Bendix Acuña operation, with additional support through the Knorr-Bremse Global Care program, has funded the construction of a community library, infrastructure improvements at nearby schools, playground cleanup and installation, and assistance for a local orphanage. Bendix also supports the local United Way, Relay for Life cancer fundraisers, local sports teams, and the competitive robotics team at Del Rio High School. And through an active partnership with the local technological school in Acuña involving both hands-on and classroom instruction, Bendix has helped to train educators and establish an engineering curriculum aimed at supporting manufacturing operations.
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 200 employees have graduated through these classes in the past 15 years. The program’s success has earned it recognition and accreditation by Mexico’s secretary of education, and was celebrated in 2005 with a visit from then-president Vicente Fox.
The Acuña manufacturing campus employees and their families also enjoy the companywide emphasis on health and wellness. Recently, Bendix expanded the hours of its on-site medical services to include weekend appointments for general diagnoses and prescription services. The company also offers an in-house dental service on weekends to provide basic checkups and cleanings.
“We could not be more proud of the dedication and commitment of our exceptional family of employees in Acuña,” said Carlos Hungria, Bendix chief operating officer. “They have made Bendix’s operation there one of the premier success stories of the commercial vehicle industry, and are key contributors to keeping us all moving forward as we strive to remain the technological and visionary leaders in our field.”