Peterbilt’s Denton plant celebrates 35th anniversary

by Truck West

DENTON, Texas – In 1980, ‘Old No. 1’ rolled off Peterbilt’s assembly line in Denton, Texas, and the company, which has produced nearly 500,000 trucks since, is now celebrating 35 years of ‘quality, safety, efficiency and innovation.’

“The value Peterbilt’s Denton plant has brought through the years to the company, our employees, customers, dealers and the community is immeasurable,” said Darrin Siver, Peterbilt general manager and PACCAR vice-president. “The Denton plant is a premier manufacturing facility across any industry and we continue to invest in the tools, processes and people that keep it state-of-the-art.”

Starting with 81 employees working to manufacture two-and-a-half trucks each week, maximum capacity for the plant at the time was expected to be 16 trucks per day, but now, 35 years later, that capacity has increased 10 times and the workforce is 2,000 strong at the 455,000 square-foot facility.

Over the years, many changes have come to the Denton plant; changes to increase efficiency, capacity and productivity, including recent improvements to the robotic cab assembly for the Models 579 and 567, as well as a non-contact axle alignment system.

“To ensure our industry-leading quality and technological leadership, Peterbilt is constantly innovating throughout all areas of our operations,” said Leon Handt, Peterbilt assistant general manager of operations. “We laid the foundation 35 years ago in Denton to establish advanced manufacturing technologies, and we’ve been building on it ever since, taking it to levels of efficiency, quality and productivity far beyond when the facility was first designed.”

The plant is currently undergoing a three-phase expansion project, which is expected to be complete by mid-2016.
“The Peterbilt Denton plant is one of the strongest selling tools we have,” said Robert Woodall, Peterbilt assistant general manager of sales and marketing. “Thousands tour the plant every year, and it’s a great way to showcase our product quality, customization and technology. The Peterbilt Experience is a great addition to the facility and gives visitors a unique opportunity to experience Peterbilt’s products and the company’s history.”

Milestones of Peterbilt’s Denton plant include:

1978 – Facility groundbreaking
1980 – Plant opens
1985 – 10,000th truck produced
1986 – First Model 379 produced
1988 – Facility expansion of receiving docks, warehousing and test area
1990 – Training center added
1993 – Engineering lab construction completed
1996 – 100,000th truck produced
1996 – Styling studio opens
1997 – Robotic integrated cab and sleeper assembly (Models 387 and 587)
1999 – First Model 387 produced
2001 – Clear coat paint robotics installed
2002 – Base coat robotics installed
2004 – Robotic fuel tank welding added
2006 – Training center auditorium added
2007 – Robotic chassis paint installed
2010 – First PACCAR MX-13 engine installed
2012 – Robotic cab assembly (Models 579 and 567)
2012 – First Model 579 produced
2013 – Non-contact axle alignment complete
2014 – The Peterbilt Experience opens
2015 – Loading dock expansion

“Peterbilt has a highly skilled, very passionate workforce,” said Ron Augustyn, Denton plant manager. “It’s a great place to work. Everyone takes tremendous pride in what they do and it really shows.”

Peterbilt's Denton, Texas plant.
Peterbilt’s Denton, Texas plant.

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