ABB's refitted robotics facility in the U.S. will help meet growing demand for robots

This Week in Power & Motion: Manufacturers Invest in New and Updated Facilities to Meet Future Market Growth

March 22, 2024
Several companies have announced the construction of new or expanded manufacturing facilities in recent months to meet growing market demand for their products.

There is much going on in the world of hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motion systems, from technology introductions and industry advancements to new trends and industry leaders. Each week the Power & Motion team collects the latest industry news to help keep our readers up to date on what's happening in the fluid power and electric motion control sectors as well as the industries they serve.

In this week's edition, we are focusing on the many investments manufacturers are making to build new or improve upon existing production facilities. Nearshoring and reshoring efforts are taking place around the world in an effort to improve supply chains and localize production. Doing so benefits businesses by reducing their logistics costs and delivery times to customers while also enabling them to invest in local communities, creating job opportunities and more. 

As companies invest in their manufacturing facilities they are installing new, more updated equipment which is presenting opportunities for suppliers of fluid power and electric motion control technologies whose solutions are used in many of the machines being utilized. Efforts to reduce emissions output and make facilities more efficient are a key part of these efforts as well as companies look to reduce their carbon footprint.  

These investements also demonstrate the growth potential manufacturers see for their markets in the coming years and the need to be able to keep up with demand.

Hengst Opens State-of-the-Art Facility in India

Hengst Filtration has opened what it calls a cutting-edge facility in Yelahanka, Bengaluru. Doing so will help the company meet increasing demand for filtration systems used in automotive, hydraulic, healthcare and industrial applications in India. 

The company said it sees India as a key customer market as well as a potential export destination, hence its opening of the new manufacturing facility. 

"India represents a significant growth opportunity for Hengst Filtration. The country's expanding economy, coupled with its growing demand for filtration systems across industries, makes it an ideal fit for our expansion plans. We are confident that our innovative solutions that bundle filtration for industry and the environment will be well-received by our Indian customers," said Christopher Heine, Group CEO, Hengst Filtration.

The 36,000 sq.-ft. facility will manufacture a range of the company's filtration products.  

Helios Technologies Expands Facility in Mexico to Aid Growth for Electronics Segment

Helios Technologies recently celebrated the completion of a 68,000 sq.-ft. expansion of its operating company Balboa's facility in Tijuana, Mexico. The expansion adds more capacity to the existing 198,000 sq.-ft. facility to aid growth opportunities seen for the company's Electronics segment. 

In addition to Balboa's software and water-based technologies, the facility also produces several products from the Enovation Controls business to aid with the company's "in the region for the region" manufacturing strategy. Helios said the additional space will also help with growth in intra- and inter-segment system sales, wire harnessing and product development. 

"We have made methodical investments in the expansion of our global facilities, as it reflects the growth and opportunities we see before us," said Josef Matosevic, President and Chief Executive Officer of Helios. "This expansion marks a crucial step in the company's commitment to meeting the evolving needs of its customers and broadening its presence in both the electronics industry as well as supporting the Company’s strategic entry into selling integrated system solutions."

READ MORE: The Intersection of Hydraulics and Electrification

Freudenberg Opens Carbon-Neutral Plant in Spain

Freudenberg Sealing Technologies has inaugurated a new state-of-the-art production facility in Parets del Vallès (Barcelona, Spain) which is fully carbon-neutral. The plant is dedicated to production of automotive components, such as shock absorbers and steering components, and will help increase the company's production capacity 15%.

The company replaced its plant that was in the same location with the new facility and prioritized sustainability during its design. Systems in the facility are powered entirely by green electricity with 25% of it coming from solar panels on the roof of the production plant.

An energy-efficient and eco-conscious cleaning technique for exhaust air is employed at the site as well which metabolizes the hydrocarbons in the solvents used for coating processes into water and carbon dioxide (CO2). According to Freudenberg, this eliminates the need for an additional heating medium so no gas has to be burned to purify the exhaust air.

The new facility not only helps increase production capacity but also helps the company get closer to achieving its climate targets which include reducing CO2 emissions by 30% through 2025 and using only renewable energy sources for its electricity needs by 2030. Freudenberg aims to reach carbon neutrality by 2045.

Schaeffler Building New Manufacturing Facility for Electromobility Solutions

Schaeffler is buiding a new greefield manufacturing facility in Dover, OH, which will be focused on produciton of automotive electric mobility solutions. The company expects to complete construction of the new facility in the later half of 2025. 

The new facility will provide 130,000 sq. ft. of advanced manufacturing space dedicated to electromobility technologies including electric axles for light- and medium-duty vehicles. 

Schaeffler intends to install cutting-edge technology which will include tools and equipment designed and manufactured by the company. Eco-friendly practices will be incorporated as well to help the company increase its environmental responsibiltiy and reach climate neutrality by 2040. 

The company chose Dover for the site because of its proximity to customers, major automotive OEMs, highway access and proximity to an existing facility in Wooster, OH. 

Schaeffler sees continued growth opportunities in the U.S., which this new facility will help the company to achieve. 

READ MORE: Consortium Designs Agile, Digital Production System for Electric Motors

Mack Trucks Expands Roanoke Valley Operations

Mack Trucks is investing $14.5 million to expand its Roanoke Valley Operations manufacturing facility. It is doing so to prepare for anticipated higher demand for the company's MD Series and MD Electric medium-duty trucks. 

A 72,000 sq.-ft. expansion of the building is planned as well as investments in equipment and tooling. Mack Trucks expects the project to be completed in late 2025. All of Mack Trucks' medium-duty models are produced at the facility. When the MD Electric was added to the company's lineup in 2023, it created a need to expand the manufacturing space to accommodate additional production. 

"Customer demand for the Mack MD and MD Electric continues to grow beyond our expectations," said Stephen Roy, global president of Mack Trucks. "This investment and expansion will well-position Mack Trucks for the future."

Tuff Torq Adds to Testing Capabilities with New Chassis Dynamometer Facility

Tuff Torq — a developer of hydrostatic transaxle drive systems and part of Yanmar Holdings Co., Ltd. — has added a zero-turn mower chassis dynamometer to its operations which is housed in a purpose-built dynamometer facility. This will aid the company with its onsite testing capabilities. 

The company worked with a dynamometer manufacturer to design and build the facility that will be used for testing commercial and residential zero-turn mowers. Specific vehicle load conditions can be generated and data collected to help optimize the design of its hydrostatic transmissions for gas, diesel and electric mowers. 

Per Tuff Torq, the facility allows for 24-hour testing and includes the following features: 

  • AC Pulse Width Modulated Vector Control System for full four-quadrant operation for “road load” simulations.
  • temperature-controlled conditions
  • Allows vehicle to remain stationary for observation under load for improved ability to instrument, collect data, and record video when replicating field conditions.

READ MORE: New Iowa State Dynamometer Lab to Benefit Heavy Equipment Development

ABB Opens Updated Robotics Facility in U.S.

ABB has opened a refitted robotics headquarters and manufacturing facility in Auburn Hills, MI. It will help support the company's development of robotic solutions for customers in the U.S. and the Americas. 

The company sees long-term growth opportunities for robotics in the U.S. which it said will follow predicted global trends which are projected to achieve an 8% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). This new facility joins ABB's other global robotics factories in China and Europe which were also expanded in recent years to aid future market growth. 

ABB's new facility in Michigan adds 30% more space and includes a Customer Experience Center where various hardware and software solutions can be demonstrated. A new training center was part of the expansion as well which will help to educate more than 3,000 workers and students each year to provide them the skills needed for future careers in manufacturing or otherwise. 

READ MORE: Robotics Ease Installation of Expansion Sealing Plugs

About the Author

Sara Jensen | Executive Editor, Power & Motion

Sara Jensen is executive editor of Power & Motion, directing expanded coverage into the modern fluid power space, as well as mechatronic and smart technologies. She has over 15 years of publishing experience. Prior to Power & Motion she spent 11 years with a trade publication for engineers of heavy-duty equipment, the last 3 of which were as the editor and brand lead. Over the course of her time in the B2B industry, Sara has gained an extensive knowledge of various heavy-duty equipment industries — including construction, agriculture, mining and on-road trucks —along with the systems and market trends which impact them such as fluid power and electronic motion control technologies. 

You can follow Sara and Power & Motion via the following social media handles:

X (formerly Twitter): @TechnlgyEditor and @PowerMotionTech

LinkedIn: @SaraJensen and @Power&Motion

Facebook: @PowerMotionTech

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