Universal Trailer Corporation Opens Manufacturing Center In Bristol, Indiana
According to company officials, the $25 million-plus, 200,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility represents over two years of innovation adapted from the automotive industry to produce lighter and more durable Wells Cargo and Haulmark performance-grade cargo trailers.
The new facility, 31 miles east of South Bend, will employ over 200 new associates in an environment with modern lighting, shop floor break rooms and numerous other amenities. This represents a significant reinvestment in the business demonstrating Universal Trailer's strong commitment to the industry, its customers and employees, company officails said.
Located on 43 acres in Elkhart County, Indiana, the facility also features several important trailer industry firsts, such as Universal Trailer's proprietary construction material, intelligent robotic welding for square and true frames; HSLA (high-strength, low-alloy) roll formed steel, double-flanged cross members to minimize road vibrations; frames dripped in paint providing advanced anti-corrosion protection; and automotive fastener technology for perfectly aligned trailer chassis, walls and roof. All of this means that Universal Trailer will now deliver trailers with three times the life expectancy of many competitors.
Employees from Universal Trailer Corp.'s new Bristol based facility assemble Haulmark and Wells Cargo commercial cargo trailers. Trailers will be produced as complete trailer frame kits, which will then be shipped off to Universal Trailer's four cargo trailer facilities around the country for further assembly and customization. To verify its new materials, semi-automated production and sophisticated fastening methods, Universal Trailer implemented rigorous research, testing and on-the-road trailer quality assurance for over a year.
"The modular production process enables us to continue to scale to meet global market demands, producing twice as many Haulmark and Wells Cargo trailers per week vs. the traditional production methods used, all the while keeping our quality high," said Terry Carlson, CEO of Universal Trailer. "The new plant also takes our employees' experience into account with an open, modern architecture and internal windows to the show floor throughout the facility. Needless to say, it's also great for the local Elkhart County economy with 35 new hires and plans to hire an additional 175 full-time and part-time employees over the next 18 months."
"Our customers demand the very best and we strive to deliver. The status quo is not good enough, so we embarked on a mission to create a more durable trailer that can go anywhere and withstand the test of time," added Jeff Howes, Vice President of Marketing Universal Trailer. "Not only did we redesign our cargo trailers, we incorporated the latest in automotive engineering and manufacturing techniques to make the Haulmark and Wells Cargo trailer frames truly unique in the industry. We feel that we have set a new industry benchmark with a world-class trailer that is built strong for the ages in a manufacturing facility with reduced emissions and lower carbon footprint."
"This new plant is a significant milestone for Universal Trailer and represents the future of lean, responsible manufacturing in a facility designed from the ground up with the employee in mind," added Carlson. "No one was pushing us to do this, but we have a culture of innovation and excellence that compelled us to do even better for our valued customers and dealer partners. We're proud of this new plant as another symbol of our commitment to excellence in everything we do."
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