Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC has expanded its remanufacturing capabilities and capacity with a $3.2 million capital investment in equipment and facility upgrades at its Huntington, Ind., plant.
The expanded Bendix Brake Shoe Remanufacturing Center now handles the complete salvage, coining and assembly processes that can provide start-to-finish remanufacturing and can produce several million remanufactured commercial vehicle brake shoes annually.
Bendix, a North American leader in the development and manufacture of active safety and braking system technologies, began serial production of reman shoes at the facility in the fall of 2012. The facility combines Bendix’s nearly 40 years’ experience in remanufacturing with Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake’s leadership in wheel-end solutions and brake shoe manufacturing. With this combined level of expertise, the center has assembled more than 1.9 million brake shoes since its opening in 2012.
Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC (BSFB) is a joint venture between Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC and Dana Commercial Vehicle Products LLC.
Bendix’s Brake Shoe Remanufacturing Center employs 65 people, part of Huntington’s total roster of 430 employees. The center’s 74,000 square feet bring the Huntington operation’s total to 547,000 square feet, comprising four manufacturing and assembly facilities as well as Bendix’s primary North American distribution center.
Key to the upgrades to the Brake Shoe Remanufacturing Center is the coining process, which returns used brake shoes to the shape engineered by their original equipment (OE) manufacturers. Bendix says it has always coined 100 percent of its remanufactured brake shoes, and the upgrade increases coining capacity and capability.
“A brake shoe undergoes a tremendous amount of force and drastic temperature changes during its life cycle,” said Frank Gilboy, BSFB brake shoe product line manager. “Over time, this results in deformation. It’s twisted, or it’s stretched, and if you just reline that shoe with new friction – like most brake shoe reliners do – you’re going to have issues when it engages with the drum, because it no longer has the correct geometry to provide full contact and stopping power.”
The new Bendix 1,000-ton coining press reproduces the original manufacturing methods, applying the full tonnage necessary to return the shoe to its proper shape and OE specifications.
All of those specifications are crucial to maintaining brake safety and performance in the era of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Reduced Stopping Distance (RSD) mandate and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program.
“We understand how critical it is for all the welds to be correct, for the thickness of the steel to be correct, and for all the other factors that go into brake shoe engineering to be considered,” Gilboy said. “Our inspection uses all of our OE design experience and criteria to make sure that the shoes we inspect and put into remanufacturing production are suitable to go back out there for another lifetime in the field.”
Other improvements to the Brake Shoe Remanufacturing Center include a self-contained salvage and de-lining area, which prevents dust and other contaminants from reaching the painting and riveting process; four automated de-liners that remove the friction with greater accuracy and reduce the chance of accidental shoe damage; and two new 24-cubic-foot blasters that clean the shoes in order to provide the best adhesion surface for the new lining. Additionally, a new 2,000-square-foot paint line can handle up to 500 parts per hour.
When Bendix reman shoes undergo final assembly, the production line uses the same riveting procedure used by OE manufacturers. The company says this ensures correct lining attachment for maximum lining service.
The improvements also were designed to meet Bendix’s rigorous standards for safe and environmentally sustainable workplaces. Employee ergonomic and safety considerations played significant roles in developing the production line, which also incorporates extensive wastewater treatment and waste diversion methods.