FLETCHER, N.C.—Continental A.G.'s Continental Automotive Systems unit plans to invest more than $35 million in its Henderson, N.C., facility to meet increased demand in electronic integrated parking brake production.
The capacity expansion will add 40 jobs over the next five years, the company said, and include construction of about 88,000 square feet of production and warehouse space and installation of new production equipment.
"With this investment, we will be able to increase our current volume to support a growing market, improve our manufacturing processes and prepare for additional production demand in the future," said Jeff Scott, plant manager of the Henderson facility.
The 250,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing facility, which employs more than 600, produces brake calipers for cars and light trucks.
Due to the increasing demand for brake calipers throughout North America, Conti said, the Henderson plant produced a record-breaking 7 million calipers in 2012. That production rate is estimated to jump to nearly 9 million in 2013.
"Since 2009, Henderson has been challenged with a 34-percent, year-over-year increase in demand for our brake calipers," Scott said. "We currently equip 60,000 vehicles with our calipers each week and have nearly doubled our workforce over the past three years—which is a success in itself."
Conti said the production increase also is due to the addition of five vehicle platform customers that Continental now supports at its Henderson facility. The plant is working in conjunction with Continental's Rheinbollen, Germany, facility to launch simultaneously a new electro-mechanical caliper with integrated parking brake (e-IPB).
"The e-IPB Caliper will introduce new challenges to our Henderson team," Scott said. "The assembly process relies heavily on robotics, integrated work cells and high-tech programming. This is a great opportunity to improve our manufacturing processes and demonstrate the technical competence and adaptability of our employees."