Last month, Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) welcomed members of the press as it cut the ribbon on its $100 million expansion program at its Shippensburg, Pa., facility. In addition to the official opening of a new headquarters building for the Americas, the event also marked the start of wheel loader production at the company’s North American base in Shippensburg.
Joining Volvo CE President Pat Olney in the inauguration ceremony were United States Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Alan Walker and Swedish Ambassador to the United States Jonas Hafstrˆm, along with 1,000 employees and many other distinguished guests.
The investment affirms Volvo CE’s long-term confidence in the North American market and consolidates its North American operations onto one site. The opening of the new building also marks the successful relocation of the sales office from Asheville, N.C., to Shippensburg.
“This should serve as a very clear signal that Volvo CE is committed to this market and in a better position than ever before to offer our customers products that are made by Americans, for Americans,” said Olney. “Longer term, building machines closer to our customers will have a positive impact for U.S.-based suppliers, who will gain more business; for customers, who will enjoy shorter lead times; and for Volvo CE, which will be less exposed to currency swings.”
Ramping Up Local Production
Wheel loader production will initially start for the L60-L90 range of loaders. “These machines are in high demand in North America. It’s easier to start up production of smaller machines and work our way up,” said Sean Glennon, Vice President of Operations at the Shippensburg facility. “The investment we make in these smaller models will allow us to eventually launch into the bigger machines and meet a wider scope of customer needs.”
Localized production will also help the company become more flexible and responsive to its customers in the region. As part of the same investment, Volvo CE will also open a world-class customer center in the area in the first quarter of 2014.
The new Americas headquarters serves both the North and Latin American business of Volvo Construction Equipment. Additionally, the site’s global technology center employs around 200 people and provides development expertise to the wider Volvo business.
The Shippensburg facility has been committed to producing quality construction equipment for nearly 40 years. Volvo CE acquired the business from Ingersoll Rand in April 2007. A $30 million, 200,000-sq ft expansion was completed in June 2010 and included a new assembly hall and materials building. The office expansion, which opened in March, adds an additional 36,000 sq ft and two smaller production buildings, which open in April this year, will provide a further 37,000 sq ft, bringing the total size of the expanded facility to 650,000 sq ft.
Today, the site employs more than 1,000 employees from nearly 20 countries, together working in operations, technology, sales and marketing and customer support.
In addition to wheel loaders, the Shippensburg facility also makes more than 50 models of road machinery, including soil and asphalt compactors, motor graders, pavers, screeds and milling machines. Operations include welding, large machining, paint and assembly.
John Deere Produces 250,000th Backhoe
The John Deere Construction and Forestry Division recently marked a production milestone with the completion of its 250,000th backhoe loader at the Dubuque Works factory in Dubuque, Iowa. The model 310SK backhoe loader was purchased by Phoenix-based NPL Construction Co., who took delivery of the machine at a special ceremony at the factory.
“Backhoes have been our bread and butter since the first model rolled off the line over 40 years ago,” said Byron Taylor, Plant Manager at the John Deere Dubuque Works. “Our employees, many of which have had a hand in backhoe assembly since the beginning, are proud to meet this milestone.”
John Deere Worldwide Construction and Forestry President, Michael J. Mack, joined employees and NPL Construction Co., at the Dubuque Works factory to celebrate the 250,000th milestone.
“The piece of equipment we are recognizing today is only a single representation of the long line of backhoe models that have evolved right here in this factory,” said Mack. “It is a testament to the innovation and quality engineering we at John Deere pride ourselves in thanks to insight and input from stakeholders at every stage of the supply chain, from engineer, to line worker, to customer.”
The John Deere 310SK backhoe loader, part of the K-Series, is the latest of more than 50 different backhoe models that have been produced at the Dubuque Works factory since 1971.
The 310SK is part of the K-Series backhoe loader line introduced in 2012. Powered by a certified Tier 4 Interim/ Stage III B John Deere PowerTech engine, the 310SK comes equipped with a five-speed powershift transmission that allows top speeds of 25 mph, with an alternative to upgrade to the smooth and efficient AutoShift option. The single loader lever with integrated electrohydraulic auxiliary control provides productivity and physical operator comfort, while standard features such as JDLink and Service ADVISOR Remote provide peace of mind.
NPL Construction Co., a nationally recognized leader in energy distribution construction, has worked with John Deere for more than a decade and will be adding the 250,000th backhoe to its fleet. As NPLís preferred supplier, Deere was able to help develop a strategic sourcing approach that allows them to maintain and allocate fleets from coast to coast across the United States.
“A good supplier is a quiet supplier, but a great supplier is one who inspires change,” said Jim Kane, President and CEO at NPL Construction Co. “Deere”s commitment to innovation has kept us ahead of the competition. Their speed not only in delivery of equipment, but in keeping up with marketplace demand is unparalleled.”
ASCE Gives America’s Infrastructure a D+ on its 2013 Report Card
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) just released its 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, a comprehensive assessment of the nation’s infrastructure across 16 sectors. Updated once every four years, this year’s Report Card found that America’s cumulative GPA for infrastructure rose slightly to a D+ from a D in 2009. The Report Card estimates total investment needs at $3.6 trillion by 2020 across all 16 sectors, leaving a funding shortfall of $1.6 trillion based on current funding levels.
The grades in 2013 range from a high of B- for solid waste infrastructure to a low of D- for inland waterways and levees. None of the categories received a lower grade than in 2009. However, near-failing grades continue to be seen in numerous sectors that are crucial to the economy and Americans’ quality of life.
Encouraging trends were found in sectors where focused investments were made. Six sectors (solid waste, drinking water, wastewater, roads, bridges and rail) each experienced incremental improvements since the last assessment. America’s rail sector saw the largest improvement, moving from a C- to a C+.
The grades by sector include: Dams (D), Drinking Water (D), Hazardous Waste (D), Levees (D-), Solid Waste (B-), Wastewater (D), Aviation (D), Bridges (C+), Inland Waterways (D-), Ports (C), Rail (C+), Roads (D), Transit (D), Public Parks and Recreation (C-), Schools (D) and Energy (D+).
To compare, the 2010 Ohio Infrastructure Report Card grades included: Aviation (C-), Bridges (B-), Dams (C), Drinking Water (D+), Electricity (C+), Parks and Recreation (C-), Rail (C), Roads (D), Schools (C), Transit (D) and Wastewater (C-).
Key trends driving improvements included: renewed efforts in cities and states to address deficient roads, bridges, drinking water and wastewater systems; private investment for efficiency and connectivity brought improvements in the nation’s railways, ports and energy grid; and several categories benefited from short-term boosts in federal funding.
“A D+ is simply unacceptable for anyone serious about strengthening our nation’s economy; however, the 2013 Report Card shows that this problem can be solved. If we want to create jobs, increase trade and assure the safety of our children, then infrastructure investment is the answer,” said ASCE President Gregory E. DiLoreto, P.E.
“We must commit today to investing in modern, efficient infrastructure systems to position the U.S. for economic prosperity,” added DiLoreto. “Infrastructure can either be the engine for long-term economic growth and employment, or, it can jeopardize our nation’s standing if poor roads, deficient bridges and failing waterways continue to hurt our economy.”
For the first time, the Report Card for America’s Infrastructure features state specific data and rankings. Also for the first time, the Report Card is available as a digital application that includes videos, state-by-state data and other multimedia tools. Available for download from iTunes and Google Play, the app is supported across all major platforms and devices.
It is also accessible online at www.infrastructurereportcard.org, and is supported across all major platforms and devices. Using a simple A to F school report card format, the Report Card provides a comprehensive assessment of current infrastructure conditions and needs, both assigning grades and making recommendations for how to raise them. An Advisory Council of leading civil engineers appointed by ASCE assigns the grades according to the following eight criteria: capacity, condition, funding, future need, operation and maintenance, public safety, resilience and innovation. Since 1998, the grades have been near failing, averaging only Ds, due to delayed maintenance and underinvestment across most categories.