Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC, a global manufacturer of commercial vehicle safety and braking systems technology, today announced a realignment strategy to its North American manufacturing operations that includes its intent to close its facility in Frankfort, Ky.
The plant is planning to cease operations by late 2007 and will continue to meet customer demand throughout the transition.
The Frankfort facility produces compressors that are used in commercial vehicle braking systems. Compressor production will be moved to an existing Bendix facility in Acuña, Mexico, that currently manufactures other components used within a vehicle’s air charging system. The move is in direct response to a company initiative to improve structural cost and align its manufacturing facilities for specific business unit focus.
Frankfort’s air disc brake production, a relatively new product line that began in 2006 to support Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC, a wheel end joint venture between Bendix and Dana Corporation, will move to a new facility. The joint venture will combine both the air disc brake production from Frankfort and the foundation drum brake production, currently taking place at Dana’s facility in Glasgow, Ky., under one roof for greater operational control and efficiencies.
“This very difficult business decision was not entered into without careful evaluation and consideration, especially for those impacted by the pending Frankfort facility’s closing,” said Steve Mance, Bendix vice president and general manager - charging systems. “Despite significant productivity improvements resulting from capital improvements made at the Frankfort plant over the last several years, two significant factors contribute to this closure action. First is the globalization of our compressors business, which places greater pressure to reduce costs to a level that can allow us to compete effectively in the worldwide marketplace. Second is the strategic direction Bendix has set in place across the organization to align its factories with its business product lines for enhanced efficiencies and productivity.”
The Frankfort facility - built in 1968 and the oldest Bendix manufacturing location - currently employs 124 individuals, including 101 hourly and 23 salaried employees.