North Charleston, S.C. — Wabco Holdings celebrated the grand opening of its new North Charleston, S.C., plant on March 22 that allows the company to produce air disc brakes for trucks and trailers in the U.S. for the first time.
The Belgium-based component supplier said it invested $20 million in the 145,000-square-foot plant to meet increasing customer demand for its air disc brakes. Already up and running, the plant also produces air compressors and related safety systems.
But air disc brakes are clearly the main attraction. Jon Morrison, Wabco president, Americas, told HDT that the brand-new facility has "assembly capacity of up to 200,000 units to serve the truck and trailer market here."
And Jacques Esculier, chairman and CEO of Wabco Holdings, pointed out that overall air disc brake penetration is still under 20% in North America - a market condition he views as "a runway to growth."
The facility increases Wabco’s manufacturing footprint by more than 60% and the company has increased employment at the North Charleston facility by around 230 individuals.
Wabco manufactures its single-piston ADBs in Charleston to serve commercial vehicle manufacturers and fleet operators in North America. Wabco’s portfolio of ADBs is sold under the brand names Maxxus for heavy-duty trucks and Maxx 22T for trailers.
Wabco also manufactures high-performance air compressors at its North Charleston facility. Wabco and Cummins established a joint venture – fully operational in 1998 – to produce single- and twin-cylinder air compressors for heavy-duty trucks, buses, and industrial equipment.
“By localizing the production of air disc brakes in the region we demonstrate our commitment to advancing commercial vehicle safety and shaping the future of the transportation industry,” said Esculier. “Our air disc brakes pave the way to higher automation of commercial vehicles and platooning, both of which rely heavily on superior braking performance.”