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Prime Mover Magazine

Kenworth invests $140 million in new paint facility

Kenworth officially broke ground on its new Chillicothe, Ohio, production facility last week it announced.

The $140 million paint facility, an investment to increase production capacity and reduce bottlenecks, will incorporate the latest paint technology and environmental controls according to the commercial vehicle manufacturer.

It will include rotary spray guns that use less paint and thinner, paint systems that will increase first-pass yield and emission control systems which are expected to improve the environmental footprint of the plant such as volatile organic compounds by as much as 80 per cent.

Last year the Class 8 plant which produces Kenworth's T680, T880 and W990 trucks and tractors for North America produced 39,800 units – a record.

Its Class 8 marketshare for 2018 resulted in a healthy 15 per cent.

The paint facility is the latest upgrade that also includes new manufacturing systems, lighting and a $33 million automated cab assembly system that will be operational as early as midyear.

More than $200 million has been invested in its Chillicothe factory since 2014.

The news follows on from recent expansions underway at its PACCAR site in Melbourne.

Paccar Vice President and Kenworth General Manager Mike Dozier said the investments would ensure the company was well-positioned to support continued market share growth through state-of-the-art technologies that support its product.

“These are exciting times at the factory as we are running lately at record build rates,” said Rod Spencer, plant manager. “This investment is key to laying the foundation for future growth.”

Kenworth anticipates it will increase its paint capacity by 50 per cent while reducing the shifts for its current paint operations to two from three.

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