When PACCAR Inc. (NASDAQ: PCAR) looked at possible locations for a new engine plant 14 years ago, it settled on Columbus, Mississippi, because it is close to key transportation logistics networks and a potential talent pool at nearby colleges and universities.
The state-of-the-art plant recently marked its 10th anniversary. More than 250,000 MX-11 and MX-13 engines used in Kenworth, Peterbilt and DAF trucks have been built there.
The $400 million facility sends no waste to landfills and lists ISO 14000 environmental management and ISO 9001-TS quality management certifications among its accomplishments. Additional investments position the plant to meet demand over the next decade, PACCAR said in a press release.
Close ties with Mississippi State University, Mississippi University for Women and East Mississippi Community College develop a pool of highly skilled employees through internships and jobs.
“The level of commitment PACCAR engine factory employees have toward their work and their community is something that really resonates within the Peterbilt family and our customers,” Jason Skoog, Peterbilt general manager, said in the release.
The MX engine is designed to last 1 million miles. Its block is made from compacted graphite iron (CGI), which is 75% stronger and 20% lighter than gray iron. CGI is also more temperature resistant than traditional metals, allowing the block to maintain structural integrity while expanding and contracting.
PACCAR claims to be the first diesel engine manufacturer to use lightweight CGI in both the engine head and block.
“The factory has played a major role in Kenworth’s growth by providing fuel-efficient engines for our customers throughout the U.S. and Canada,” said Kevin Baney, Kenworth general manager.