A new global engineering and manufacturing firm serving the heavy-duty trucking industry has opened its executive offices in central Alabama and will expand North American manufacturing operations later this year. Axle Brake Technology, Corp. (ABT), in Hayneville, AL, will provide heavy-duty axles and a complete line of axle and brake components to original equipment truck and trailer manufacturers and the aftermarket.

While opening new manufacturing facilities appears to be contrary to general trends of manufacturing going "offshore", ABT executive management sees significant opportunities for innovation and success from an area which is rapidly becoming a global center for vehicle and component manufacturing.

"We see a lot of opportunity for us to start fresh without having some of the old assumptions about how the industry sources its systems and components," said Rod Richardson, CEO/President of ABT. "Our Asian manufacturing operations are already meeting today's global quality and price targets, and we'll extend that knowledge into our new distribution and manufacturing facilities in or around the Central Alabama Enterprise and Renewal Zone."

According to Richardson, opening the manufacturing operation in or around the Central Alabama Enterprise and Renewal Zone is one key to ABT's long-term vision. The other is ABT's ability to apply innovative design, engineering, and manufacturing concepts. "Our choice of location is highly strategic," said Richardson, "Hyundai Manufacturing will be starting up its first North American automotive plant in the Central Alabama Enterprise and Renewal zone and this will accelerate the steady flow of global vehicle manufacturing facilities either opened or planned within a close proximity of our North American plant. Through that growth, we see plenty of opportunity for ABT to apply some new thinking on how component manufacturing is established and organized."

The company is building a North American management team that understands both the challenges and needs of its customer base in a highly competitive market.

In an industry with strict and continually tougher quality and component acquisition cost demands, ABT's new North American plant will be quality certified. "All our Asian plants are already certified in meeting global quality standards," according to Rod Richardson. "Utilizing QS or ISO 9000 and the new TS 1646 standard, we're ready to get the new North American plant in production as rapidly as possible."

ABT's product line will include heavy-duty axles and brake components for Class 6, 7 and 8 trucks and trailers for original equipment manufacturers and the aftermarket. These components include heavy-duty axles, automatic slack adjusters, custom forgings, S-cams, brake shoes, brake kits and other heavy-duty truck and trailer associated componentry.

ABT executive offices are located in Hayneville, Alabama. ABT has three "state-of-the art" manufacturing facilities located in various key Asian markets, with a fourth under construction. Current ABT warehousing facilities located in North Carolina will soon be augmented by the new North American central distribution, warehousing, and manufacturing facility in or around the Central Alabama Renewal and Enterprise Zone.