Bendix expanding air disc brake production capacity

Bendix Air Disc Brake Assembly sign

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems announced Tuesday its intentions to meet the accelerating customer demand for air disc brake components through strategic production investments designed to support ADB growth.

Bendix says the air disc brake (ADB) market for commercial vehicles in North America continues to expand, with adoption rates on Class 6-8 vehicles topping 50%, up from approximately 25% in 2018. The company says its investments have prepared Bendix to accommodate 100% growth in ADB production dating back to 2018, with a more than 30% increase in volume realized to date. 

“Adoption rates for air disc brakes have grown sharply in the last few years and anticipating that growth has been the foundation of the investments we’ve made – all with the commitment to support what this market needs in ADB volumes for tractors and trailers,” says Nicole Oreskovic, Bendix vice president of sales and marketing. “Bendix has led the way in the development and advocacy of air disc brakes since 2005. We continue to adapt our design and manufacturing processes for increased capacity, uniquely positioning us to enable and help drive the market conversion to ADBs, as we have for the last 20 years.”

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Bendix produces the Bendix ADB22X and Bendix ADB22X-LT air disc brakes at its wheel-end manufacturing operation in Bowling Green, Ky. The ADB22X-LT is engineered specifically for trailers. 

The company’s ADB production numbers reflect the market growth since the Bendix ADB22X air disc brake launched in 2005. It took eight years to reach the 400,000-unit production mark in 2013, but just five more to hit the two million mark and three more to double that milestone, Bendix says.

Bendix Bowling Green ADB lineA look at Bendix's Bowling Green, Ky., air disc brake manufacturing line.Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems

According to Aaron Schwass, Bendix vice president, Wheel-End North America, Bendix has focused on three primary aspects at its Bowling Green facility, helping drive the goal of doubling the operation’s production capacity and addressing customer need. Some of the investments were part of a 130,000-sq.-ft., expansion completed at the plant in 2020. 

“Bendix has the largest installed air disc brake assembly capacity in North America for the commercial vehicle market thanks to our sustained investment focus over the years,” Schwass says. “That position is further bolstered with strategic levers that have put us in position to meet current and future ADB demand.”

Specifically, Bendix installed a high-volume assembly line, which has increased ADB assembly capacity by more than 40%. The company also expanded its resources with additional machining capacity to support the increased volumes. Bendix says the third key focus area was an increase in supplier capacity, both in product-specific tooling and supplier development, to enable the supply base to sustain the level needed to support Bendix’s internal capacity.

In addition, Schwass cited the co-locating of some R&D personnel and test equipment in the Bowling Green facility to help expand the capability and efficiency of the plant. Beyond Bowling Green, Bendix invested in the capability of air disc brake aftermarket operations at its Huntington, Ind., facility.

Bendix air disc brakes are part of the company’s full complement of wheel-end solutions, including drum brake systems, automatic slack adjusters, spring brakes, friction, and remanufactured ADB calipers. Bendix ADBs are available at major truck OEs and major trailer manufacturers, along with leading full-line North American school bus manufacturers and intercity coach manufacturers in the United States and Canada, the company says.

“Commercial vehicle safety technologies are becoming more integrated and complex,” Oreskovic says. “As we talk about autonomy and electrification, from a foundation brake perspective, ADB is a key contributing technology to support and enable where the industry is going.”

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