In 1980, the first truck produced at Peterbilt’s Denton, Texas manufacturing plant—a Model 359 known as “Old No. 1”—came off the assembly line. Thirty-five years later, the facility has produced nearly 500,000 trucks.
“The value Peterbilt’s Denton plant has brought through the years to the company, our employees, customers, dealers and the community is immeasurable,” said Darrin Siver, Peterbilt General Manager and PACCAR Vice President. “The Denton plant is a premier manufacturing facility across any industry and we continue to invest in the tools, processes and people that keep it state-of-the-art.”
When the plant first opened, there were 81 employees working to manufacture 2½ trucks per week. Maximum capacity was expected to be 16 trucks daily. Through continuous improvement and ongoing investment, the plant’s current production capacity is ten times that and the workforce is 2,000 strong.
Since opening, the 455,000 square-foot plant has undergone numerous changes to increase efficiency, capacity and productivity. The introduction of new models has brought on new tooling and processes, and technology has been introduced to enhance operations.
“To ensure our industry-leading quality and technological leadership, Peterbilt is constantly innovating throughout all areas of our operations,” said Leon Handt, Peterbilt Assistant General Manager of Operations. “We laid the foundation 35 years ago in Denton to establish advanced manufacturing technologies, and we’ve been building on it ever since, taking it to levels of efficiency, quality and productivity far beyond when the facility was first designed.”
Recent improvements to the plant include robotic cab assembly for the Models 579 and 567 and a Non-Contact Axle Alignment System.
The plant is also undergoing a three-phase expansion project. The first phase created additional east side dock doors and receiving capacity. Phase two will add 17,000 square feet of additional material receiving area on the west side of the facility. Phase three, scheduled for completion in mid-2016, will create an automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) on the second level of the building to index painted hoods, cabs and sleepers.