Peterbilt’s Denton, Texas, manufacturing plant is celebrating its 35th year of operation. Since opening in 1980, it has built nearly 500,000 trucks.
The first truck produced at the plant was a Model 359. That was when the plant employed 81 workers and had an output of 2 ½ trucks per week. Today, the workforce at Denton is up to 2,000 workers and the plant has increased production capacity tenfold.
"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,” said Leon Handt, Peterbilt assistant general manager of operations.
Since opening, the 455,000 square-foot plant has undergone several changes to increase efficiency capacity and productivity. Recent improvements include robotic cab assembly for Model 579 and 567 trucks and a non-contact axle alignment system.
The plant is also undergoing a three-phase expansion project that adds additional dock doors, receiving capacity, 17,000 square feet of material receiving area, and an automated storage and retrieval system to index painted hoods, cabs and sleepers.
In 2014, Peterbilt added a 4,300 square foot exhibit called the Peterbilt Experience for customers. It includes classic trucks, the latest models, cab and sleeper cutaways, a full lineup of Paccar engines, videos and interactive displays.
"The Peterbilt Denton plant is one of the strongest selling tools we have," said Robert Woodall, Peterbilt assistant general manager of sales and marketing. "Thousands tour the plant every year, and it's a great way to showcase our product quality, customization and technology."