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Navistar brings engineering groups together at revamped Melrose Park facility

MELROSE PARK, Ill. -- Navistar International has nearly completed the integration of all product development activities at its Melrose Park Test Center and Engine Plant.


An International MaxxForce engine is put through its paces in a test cell at Navistar's revamped Melrose Park Test Center and Engine Plant.
An International MaxxForce engine is put through its paces in a test cell at Navistar's revamped Melrose Park Test Center and Engine Plant.

MELROSE PARK, Ill. — Navistar International has nearly completed the integration of all product development activities at its Melrose Park Test Center and Engine Plant.

The company has invested $90 million into the facility, while bringing activities previously conducted in Fort Wayne, Ind. to the location. Here, engineers and product developers work together under one roof, just a short shuttle ride from Navistar’s global headquarters in Lisle, Ill.

Navistar has retained the test track at its Fort Wayne property but other engineering activities have been centralized in Melrose Park, Navistar officials said during a press tour of the facility this week. The Fort Wayne facility is now on the block but many of its former employees have made the move to Melrose Park.

Steve Nash, operations director, IPD, product integration and validation, said the company is realizing improved efficiencies as a result of the cohabitation of its engineering workforces.

The facility now offers: 50 engine test cells; a corrosion lab with full vehicle chamber; a hot and cold chamber, capable of putting vehicles through their paces at temperatures ranging from -40 F to 130 F; a body development lab to test frontal impact and roof strength capabilities while also testing the durability of everything from cab doors to steps; a shaker test lab to simulate the punishment a truck will experience over its life-cycle; and development and build bays, where new vehicles and engines can be developed and prototypes built.

Phase 2 of the expansion will include the installation of a wind tunnel, noise/vibration/harshness testing capabilities and even a museum and cafeteria.

The site is also home to the manufacturing of Navistar’s inline 6 engines, including the MaxxForce DT, MaxxForce 9 and MaxxForce 10. The plant is currently producing about 70 engines per day while running one shift. The manufacturing section occupies 1.5 million sq.-ft.  of space. Certain components, including blocks, cams and cranks are also built here and shipped to the company’s Huntsville, Alabama big bore engine plant.

Nash said one of the greatest advantages of the revamped Melrose Park facility is the ability to work on engines and vehicles concurrently under one roof.


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