By Brenda L. Holmes
PLAINFIELD — Plainfield company
continues to expand
The Meritor plant here has put nearly $3 million into plant improvements and company officials took time earlier this week to speak to local and industry media about its plans for the future.
Media from all over the country and other parts of the globe traveled to Plainfield to learn what the company is doing — especially with its remanufacturing business here.
“When you walk away from here today, I want you to see the dedication we have to the remanufacturing business and our continued efforts to improve quality of our products,” said Doug Wolma, general manager for the Global Aftermarket Operations for Meritor.
Meritor, Inc. is a leading global supplier of drivetrain, mobility, braking, and aftermarket solutions for commercial vehicle and industrial markets.
The improvements to the Plainfield facility included six new pieces of production equipment. The equipment that has been installed includes two pass-thru ovens to aid in cleaning efficiencies, two latest-technologies “barrel blasters” (which replace 14 pieces of equipment previously used), an additional dual-cylinder coining press, and new automation to feed equipment with less material handling.
“The transformation of this facility has been absolutely phenomenal,” Wolma said.
The 275,000-square-foot Plainfield structure recently underwent a significant facility upgrade. Three years ago, the company invested $1 million in its paint system, a step in manufacturing the market-accepted Meritor PlatinumShield™ remanufactured brake shoe.
With more than 15 million PlatinumShield brake shoes in service, along with thousands of Meritor brand and all-makes axle carriers, transmissions, hydraulic brake calipers, steering gears, and drivelines, Meritor is leveraging its experience to enhance the performance of current product lines and grow its remanufactured product portfolio. Wolma said this demand for remanufactured products will only grow in the future.
“We see the scope going beyond the mechanical type products remanufactured in large quantities today and expanding into more sophisticated electronic components,” he said. “Our product portfolio will grow, change, shift, and broaden to include electronics, controls, and mechatronics.”
Wolma and a team of the Meritor administrative team also spoke to industry media about remanufacturing itself and about the quality of the company’s aftermarket products.
The Plainfield site remanufactures commercial truck components, which preserves raw materials. More than 30,000 tons of metal are recycled annually in Meritor’s remanufacturing operations worldwide, and the company recycles 90 percent of all waste from operations. More than 40,000 tons of cores, or original components, are processed at Meritor remanufacturing facilities annually.
This is a green initiative or the “ultimate” in recycling. They take a part that has been used, and bring it back to a standardized process using their core management standards.
“We believe we can show vehicle operators the value of our remanufactured product,” said Tim Bauer, director of Undercarriage Products for Meritor. “And we will have a four-hour (delivery) guarantee nationwide for our products. When a customer needs a product, we need to have it where they need it when they need it.”
Wolma added, “Trucking operations of all sizes are realizing the real value of remanufactured parts. Not just in terms of straight cost, which can be 30 percent less, but also in terms of the quality which remanufactured parts bring to their bottom line.”
In July, the facility is schedule to begin a trailer axle remanufacturing line.
Bauer spoke about the new venture for the Plainfield plant.
“We will be able to remanufacture 25 axles a day,” he said.
The Plainfield facility currently has about 400 employees and the staff is in the process of hiring more than 40 new employees to fill the new positions on the axle line.
Meritor entered the remanufacturing business in 1982 at its Florence, Ky., national parts distribution center with drive axle differentials. That operation later moved to Plainfield. In 2007, Meritor purchased Mascot Truck Parts, a remanufacturer of all-makes of differentials, manual transmissions, drivelines, and searing gears.
Mascot had a strong reputation in Canada and has a 29-location network of distribution centers across the United States and Canada. That is how the company can make a four-hour guarantee to customers. Those locations are stocked with products that can be shipped immediately.
For more information on Meritor, visit the company’s website at www.meritor.com.