03:40 PM

Great Dane Builds for the Future

Great Dane's new refrigerated trailer manufacturing facility in Statesboro, Georgia is open for business. An official ribbon cut- ting ceremony, attended by dignitaries from the state and local community, area business leaders, company executives and media representatives, took place a year after breaking ground on the high-tech, innovative plant.

"We are thrilled to finally open the doors of our brand new production facility here in Statesboro," Great Dane President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Crown said. "This building reflects the diligence and focus of countless individuals over the past two years, working together toward this day in some of the most difficult economic times we can remember. Just as Great Dane has set the standard for excellence with its products, this plant sets a new stan- dard for cutting-edge manufacturing and efficiency. We are proud that it will serve as a model of the most technologically advanced, environmentally sound production practices in the world."

Great Dane's state-of-the-art Statesboro reefer plant is dedicated to manufacturing the company's Everest refrigerated trailers, including the TL model for truckload carriers and the CL reefer built especially to meet the unique needs of multi-temp and foodservice operations, particularly those in the Southeast. The manufacturing facility is currently operating one production line with a second line and shift slated to start later in the year. At full capacity, the new plant will be able to produce more than 5,000 trailers annually.

High-tech in every respect, the new Statesboro plant features auto- mated technologies including robotic welding, computer-controlled foaming and optimized material handling systems. In accordance with Great Dane's pledge to keep its environmental impact as low as possible, numerous green initiatives have been put in place, including energy-efficient lighting and a building management system that automatically controls lights, air quality and temperature. Programs are also in place to reduce water consumption and the use of load monitors will ensure optimal energy consumption.

Plant Manager Kevin Black was chosen to oversee the new Statesboro plant. "This facility was designed and built to be the most modern and efficient in the world," he said. "It's been very rewarding to lead the team in Statesboro, and to partner with the community, the city of Statesboro and Bulloch County to bring more than 400 jobs to the area. It is also an honor to be a part of Great Dane's century-old tradition of building the best trailers in the trucking industry."

Investing in Leading Edge Engineering Technology
At the center of Great Dane's new research and development cam- pus in Savannah, Georgia, an Engineering Technology Center will serve as a hub for the company's extensive engineering and design initiatives and as an educational experience for both customers and employees. A groundbreaking ceremony, held recently for the state- of-the-art complex located on the site of the company's existing corporate office facility, was attended by local officials, company executives, staff and members of the media.

"Great Dane by far has the hardest-working engineering and development team in the industry," said Rick Mullininx, executive vice president, engineering. "When our new Engineering Technology Center is complete, we will be able to further test our research and design innovations in a cutting-edge, futuristic setting, train employees and educate our customers as we all work together to find solutions to best fit their needs."

The new high-tech campus will include the renovation of cur- rent corporate office space and three new buildings that will all be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified by the U.S. Building Green Council. LEED certifica- tion provides independent, third-party verification that a build- ing was designed and built using strategies aimed at achiev- ing high performance in key areas of human and environ- mental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

The new Engineering Technology Center building will encompass more than 30,000 sq ft of space and will include a 3,600-sq ft conference center, customer preview showroom and technology "garden," which will house interactive, hands-on educational displays of Great Dane products and materials.

Research and development activity on the campus will take place in a new 27,000-sq ft building that will accommodate a manufacturing engineering lab for building custom fixtures and testing automation equipment. A corrosion lab will also be housed in the facility, as well as testing labs for large and small components, quality assurance and thermal efficiency. A separate 5,500-sq ft building will be built for Great Dane's one-of-a-kind full-scale road simulator. Full-scale automated trailer floor fatigue testing will also take place in that location.

"Great Dane's history dates back to around the turn of the 20th century," said Bill Crown, president and CEO. "Over the years, the company has consistently met the evolving needs of its customers by investing time and resources into research, development and engineering. The work done by Great Dane's entire engineering team has yielded countless cutting-edge innovations in materials and products that have advanced the entire trucking industry. Today, we celebrate these accomplishments and prepare for the future by breaking ground on a new engineering and technology campus that will benefit our customers, our employees and the environment."