Great Dane breaks ground at site of new R&D complex

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SAVANNAH, Ga. — Great Dane has officially broken ground on the site of a brand new research and development campus. The complex, which will expand upon Great Dane’s existing corporate office in Savannah, will serve as a hub for the company’s engineering and design initiatives. The company held a groundbreaking ceremony yesterday, with local officials, company executives, customers, staff and members of the media in attendance.

“Great Dane’s history in Southeast Georgia dates back to around the turn of the 20th century, when we were originally known as the Savannah Blow Pipe Company. As it grew, the company changed to meet the evolving needs of its customers, investing time and resources into research, development and engineering,” said Great Dane president and CEO Bill Crown “Over the past 30 years, the tremendous 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 by breaking ground on a new Engineering and Technology Campus here in Savannah that will benefit not only our customers but also our employees and the environment.”

The new campus will include the renovation of the current corporate office space and three new-construction buildings that will be LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). According to the US Building Green Council, this means the spaces will be designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

The new Engineering building will encompass more than 30,000-sq. ft. of space and will include a 3,600-sq. ft. conference centre, customer preview showroom and technology “garden,” which will house interactive, hands-on educational displays demonstrating the strength and specifications of Great Dane products and materials.

The company’s research and development division will receive a new 27,000-sq. ft. building to accommodate a manufacturing engineering lab for building custom fixtures and testing automation equipment. A corrosion lab will also be housed here, as well as testing facilities for large and small-scale components, quality assurance and thermal efficiency.

A separate 5,500-sq. ft. building will be erected for Great Dane’s full-scale road simulator capable of testing trailers, truck bodies and buses. Full-scale automated trailer floor fatigue testing will also take place here.

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

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