JASPER, Ind. (Sept. 15, 2014) — Jasper Engines & Transmissions officially began transmission production today at its drivetrain remanufacturing facility.
The first transmission remanufactured comes only months after the company announced in April it planned to purchase the 220,000-square foot former Kimball International building on Power Drive on the city’s southeast side.
“It’s been an incredible accomplishment,” said John Schroeder, the company’s vice president of Drivetrain Remanufacturing. “It’s been a team approach, including Associates from all of the departments within the Transmission Division and other support groups.”
Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP has continued to work closely with Jasper Engines & Transmissions through the development of the stand-alone Power Drive facility. "We are excited to see our client's dream come true as the first transmissions begin to be re-manufactured at Jasper Engine's newest remanufacturing facility," said firm partner William J. Kaiser, Jr. The firm assisted and supported Jasper Engines & Transmissions in connection with the expansion of its manufacturing operations, as announced in April.
Jasper remanufactures transmissions in work areas called PODs, in which a transmission goes from a core to a finished product. Each POD has specific transmission families it remanufactures, allowing each POD to become “specialized.” A total of 14 PODS are planned for the Power Drive facility.
Higher-volume transmissions will be remanufactured in what is called a Mega-POD.
“These combine two (or more) PODS into one for shorter cycle times and greater efficiency,” Schroeder said. “It’s been successfully used at our Crawford County facility for many years, and we want to integrate this with three of our high-volume transmissions at Power Drive.”
One change in the remanufacturing process at Power Drive is how transmissions are dynamometer tested.
“Groups of three to four PODS, or one Mega-POD, will have their own dynamometer, instead of sending a transmission to a separate test area,” Schroeder said. “This will allow for immediate feedback to associates building their respective unit, so issues can be addressed in real time.”
A long-term goal for the building on Power Drive is to begin all new transmission product launches from the new facility.
“Once our New Product Group releases a transmission for remanufacturing, we’re only going to release it to the Power Drive location,” Schroeder said. “Once we’ve achieved the volume to support that unit for the customers, then we can either move its remanufacturing to a customary POD, or we can move it to one of our satellite locations, either Crawford County or Willow Springs (in Missouri).”
An added benefit to the expansion at Power Drive is it will give Jasper Engines a tremendous amount of growth capacity that could not be achieved with the Engine and Drivetrain Divisions sharing one building.
“At Power Drive, we’ll only use about 60 percent of our available space in this initial move,” Schroeder said. “There will be many improvements, but the main focus at Power Drive will be laying out space in a method that works for the now and for the future.”
Power Drive is Jasper’s fifth remanufacturing facility, joining Wernsing Road and Jasper West, Crawford County and Willow Springs. As space is vacated at the Wernsing Road Facility, the company’s Engine Division will begin its expansion projects.
Photo/Jasper Engines & Transmissions
This story originally appeared in The Dubois County Herald, a Jasper Herald Company publication.