With the addition of a brand new paint facility, Kenworth will increase its Chillicothe, Ohio, manufacturing plant by nearly 25 percent. The expansion will also add another 100 jobs to the sprawling Kenworth Chillicothe plant property.
The new paint facility will come online in 2021, the company announced at a groundbreaking ceremony held on April 24, 2019. The $140-million, 120,000-square-foot building will sit adjacent to Kenworth’s 502,000-square-foot Class 8 truck manufacturing plant.
“The critical role Chillicothe plays in Kenworth’s market share is highlighted by the continued investments, like our $30 million investment in the automated cab assembly this summer [and the paint facility],” said Mike Dozier, PACCAR vice president and Kenworth general manager.
“The new facility will use the latest advancements and controls,” Rod Spencer, plant manager, said. The technology advancements will lead to a 50 percent increase in paint capacity. State-of-the-art robotic paint application systems and the latest in emissions control systems will also be included in the new building, which will replace an existing paint facility inside the current plant.
The ceremony featured Harrie Schippers, PACCAR president and chief financial officer; Mike Dozier, Kenworth general manager and PACCAR vice president; and Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), as well as Judy McTigue, Kenworth assistant general manager of operations; and Rod Spencer, Kenworth Chillicothe plant manager. Federal, state, county, and local officials from Ohio also participated in the groundbreaking.
Dozier said that the expansion will provide Kenworth additional capacity at the plant overall. Currently, the paint division runs three shifts, which limits total capacity at the plant. The new facility will allow Kenworth to shift to two paint shifts, opening up room to add a third should demand be needed.
“By adding more capacity to the paint facility, you [potentially] add capacity to the rest of the facility,” Schippers said.
Spencer said Chillicothe creates between 1,300 and 1,500 different colors each year.
Before the paint facility is complete, another investment will come online at the facility – a $33 million robotic cab assembly cell. Expected to be completed this summer, the cell will occupy 40,000 square feet on the existing production floor and will support production of the all-new W990, the T680, and the T880 class 8 truck models.