WESTPORT, CT - It's been 40 years since a group of Midwestern ready mix concrete producers banded together to manufacture a new front-discharge ready mix truck that they called Advance. It's now owned by the Roadbuilding division of Terex, which has begun celebrating the anniversary.
Terex also has redesigned its trucks for greater efficiency and ease of servicing and is preparing to restart a revised assembly line in the plant in Fort Wayne, Ind.
The company recently signed a substantial new truck order with a large ready mix concrete producer operating in multiple Midwest locations that will carry over into 2013.
"This initial order is for 65 trucks built with various axle configurations to meet market requirements and production starts in the fourth quarter of 2012," said Dave Rinas, director of sales and marketing. "Several other loyal customers have begun reserving production slots for both the last quarter of 2012 and first quarter of 2013."
In late 2011, the long-depressed market for new mixer trucks prompted Terex to hault new-truck production and shift its focus from new truck production to its glider truck program and supporting aging customer fleets. At the same time, the Fort Wayne production facility received much needed modernizing.
The product, processes and production of trucks were upgraded and employees received training on lean manufacturing processes.
Improving market conditions have generated more quoting and order activity, which have reenergized new truck manufacturing at Terex's Fort Wayne facility.
"We will be hiring new team members for welding, assembly, engineering and support," said Eric Parent, human resources manager for Terex Roadbuilding. Hiring has begun and will continue through August and September, so new team members can be fully trained by the start of new truck production.
Assembly line workers will be producing a revamped front-discharge mixer truck design, the product of more than eight months of intense engineering effort which includes both truck and mixer upgrades.
"We began the redesign process with a comprehensive customer outreach program to identify and prioritize enhancements," says Rinas. "We believe our customers will be impressed with the design changes, especially with regards to servicing."
A prototype of the new Terex mixer meeting stringent EPA emissions standards will be completed by September, with full-scale truck production slated for the fourth quarter. Statistics show upward trends in the housing market and ready mix concrete consumption, Rinas noted.
"We see this as the start of market improvement for mixer truck production, and we look forward to ramping up production at our Fort Wayne facility to meet the growing needs of our customers," he said.
"Ready mix concrete producers are operating with aging truck fleets and repair costs are escalating to keep these older trucks on the road. Our customers are at the beginning of a major fleet replacement cycle, which will require both new trucks and glider products."
The Terex glider program allows customers to upgrade existing trucks by recycling major components, such as the engine and transmission, rather than purchasing new trucks.
By Tom Berg, Senior Editor, HDT Magazine
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