Little more than a year after Great Dane broke ground on its new refrigerated trailer plant in Statesboro, GA, the facility is open for production. “We are thrilled to finally open the doors of our brand new production facility here in Statesboro,” Great Dane president & CEO Bill Crown said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony this week.
“This building reflects the diligence and focus of countless individuals over the past two years, working together toward this day in some of the most difficult economic times we can remember,” he continued. “Just as Great Dane has set the standard for excellence with our products over the past century, this plant sets a new standard for cutting-edge manufacturing and efficiency. We are proud that it will serve as a model of the most technologically advanced, environmentally sound production practices in the world.”
Great Dane said the state-of-the-art plant covers 450,000 sq ft., including office space and a 3,000 sq ft, climate-controlled, noise-free customer preview center. This particular facility is dedicated to manufacturing the company’s new line of Everest refrigerated trailers: the TL model for truckload carriers and the CL model for multi-temp and foodservice operations, especially those in the Southeast.
Joining a network of seven other strategically located Great Dane manufacturing plants, the Statesboro facility was designed and built to be the most modern and efficient in the world, according to the trailer builder.
Great Dane said “breakthrough technologies” incorporated include the use of robotic welding, automated production processes, computer-controlled foaming operations and an optimized material handling system for quality and efficiency.
In accordance with Great Dane’s pledge to keep its environmental impact as low as possible, numerous green initiatives have been put in place, at the plant, including energy-efficient lighting and the use of a building management system to automatically control lights, air quality and building temperature; programs to reduce water consumption; and the use of load monitors to ensure optimal energy consumption.
Also notable about the plant is its location on 118 acres in Bulloch County, just 50 miles from the company’s headquarters in Savannah, GA. The location was selected for a variety of reasons, including its economy. As the state unemployment rate hovers above 9%, said Great Dane, the plant “will bring more than 400 greatly needed jobs to the area.”
The Statesboro plant will begin operating with one production line, with a second line and second shift to start up later in the year. At full capacity, the new facility will be able to produce more than 5,000 trailers annually, according to Great Dane.