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Continental to expand NC brake caliper plant

Keywords: Tags  Continental AG, U.S. plant, Henderson, N.C., expansion, brake calipers, Jeff Scott, production increase Corinna Petry

CHICAGO — Continental AG will invest more than $35 million in its Henderson, N.C., factory, which makes brake calipers for passenger cars and light trucks, to meet rising demand.

The Hanover, Germany-based parts supplier said the investment will include the construction of about 88,000 square feet of production and warehouse space and the installation of new production equipment.

"We will increase our current volume, improve our manufacturing processes and prepare for future production demand," plant manager Jeff Scott said in a statement July 31.

The Henderson plant produced 7 million calipers in 2012 and is on track to make 9 million calipers this year. That trend is expected to continue beyond 2014 as Continental landed supply contracts with five new vehicle platform customers, which it supports from Henderson.

"Since 2009, Henderson has been challenged with a 34-percent year-over-year increase in demand for our products," Scott said. "We currently equip 60,000 vehicles with our calipers each week and have nearly doubled our work force over the past three years."

The plant will also team with Continental’s Rheinböllen, Germany, facility to launch a new electro-mechanical caliper with integrated parking brake.

The new product requires an assembly process that "relies heavily on robotics, integrated work cells and high-tech programming," Scott said, which creates an opportunity to "improve our manufacturing processes and demonstrate the technical competence and adaptability of our employees."

Continental expects to hire 40 new workers over the next five years. The plant has 600 employees.

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