Paccar credits MX engine plant milestone to workforce, advanced tooling

Kenworth Truck and Peterbilt Motors parent Paccar Inc. concluded 2020 recognizing its Columbus, Miss. engine operation for “10 years of manufacturing excellence and a strong commitment to its community,” as indicated in delivery of 250,000-plus MX-11 and MX-13 units over the decade.

Paccar Chief Executive Officer Preston Feight credits the Columbus plant’s “excellent employees and advanced manufacturing capabilities” with creating “a great environment for building the industry’s best engines.”

Planning for the plant started in 2006 when a Paccar team of Kenworth, Peterbilt and (European sister) DAF managers and engineers was tasked with laying the groundwork for an advanced factory. It chose Columbus due to proximity to important transportation logistics networks, talented people, and the ability to partner with nearby educational institutions that complement the workforce.

Construction of the $400 million facility began in 2007. Innovative factory design and industry-leading operations have resulted in honors for manufacturing performance and environmental impact over the last decade—among them zero-waste-to-landfill, ISO 14000 environmental management and ISO 9001-TS quality management certifications. Additional outlays for factory enhancements and production capacity have positioned the plant to meet engine demand toward 2030.

Paccar established close ties with Mississippi State University, Mississippi University for Women and East Mississippi Community College to help develop a strong local pool of highly skilled employees. The relationships continue to flourish and provide mutual benefit, company officials note. Not only does the engine factory hire or offer internships to associates from surrounding colleges, employees can also earn training certifications and degrees to enhance their knowledge and skillsets.

The manufacturer designed the MX-11 and MX-13 engines to achieve “unparalleled quality, efficiency and durability.” Each unit carries a design life of one million miles, providing customers with a significant uptime boost. MX engine blocks are made from compacted graphite iron (CGI), a material 75 percent stronger and 20 percent lighter than gray iron. CGI offers greater strength and temperature resistance than traditional metals, allowing the block to maintain excellent structural integrity while expanding and contracting. Paccar is the first diesel engine manufacturer to use the lightweight material in both the head and block portions.

“The level of commitment engine factory employees have toward their work and community is something that resonates within the Peterbilt family and our customers,” says Peterbilt General Manager and Paccar Vice President Jason Skoog.

“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,” adds Kenworth Truck General Manager and Paccar Vice President Kevin Baney.