Thomas Built completes $12M plant expansion

HIGH POINT, N.C. — Thomas Built Buses (TBB) has finalized the installation of new equipment and infrastructure as part of its recently announced $12 million expansion.

Additionally, the company has made significant strides in increasing workforce. This will increase TBB’s production capabilities of the Saf-T-Liner C2 by more than 25%.

“For TBB, this investment was necessary to meet increasing demand for the popular Saf-T-Liner C2 bus,” said Caley Edgerly, president and CEO of Thomas Built Buses. “The investment of approximately $12 million proves our dedication and commitment to the community along with our commitment to producing the industry’s best bus.”

Completing this expansion and increasing the production capacity for the company’s flagship production facility was a top priority for Edgerly, who took over as president and CEO on March 1. Edgerly previously served as vice president of operations for TBB.

The expansion resulted in the hiring of more than 150 new employees, investments in new technologies, and streamlined manufacturing processes.

For example, the manufacturer employed robotics to weld joints to rails, with the intent to more efficiently exceed joint strength regulations, and cut the time it takes to paint each bus in half. The robotic technology for painting the buses also allows for a more controlled application of the paint and improves dry time. TBB also put in place chassis mounting stations, eliminating a bottleneck in the assembly process.

Additionally, to reach a 25% improvement in compressing cycle time, TBB also uses lean manufacturing technologies to improve production flow and put into practice ideas from employees on how to optimize their tasks in less time. Some of these were as simple as keeping tools closer to the employees, making them easier to reach when needed, thereby cutting time needed for each task, Edgerly explained.

Fueling the work on the expansion is Edgerly’s vision for TBB to “provide the best buses, for the best value, by the best people,” and part of achieving that is fostering a competitive spirit and a company culture that values authenticity and relationships.

“For nearly 100 years, High Point has been our home; the community is ingrained in the culture of who we are as a company,” Edgerly said. “We look forward to the next 100 years and a strong ongoing partnership with the High Point community.”

See original article by School Bus Fleet here.