The first transmission remanufactured was a front-wheel drive GM 4T65E. It was the culmination of a well planned and dedicated strategy that took place since the announcement to acquire the 220,000 square foot building in April.
“It’s been an incredible accomplishment,” said John Schroeder, JASPER 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.”
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. This allows each POD to become “specialized” and enables JASPER to produce a quality product more efficiently.
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,” said Schroeder. “It’s been successfully used at our Crawford County, Indiana, 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,” said Schroeder. “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 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,” said Schroeder. “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.”
An added benefit to Power Drive is it will give JASPER 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% of our available space in this initial move,” said Schroeder. “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, he added.”
Power Drive is JASPER’s 5th remanufacturing facility, joining Wernsing Road and Jasper West, both in Jasper, Indiana, Crawford County, Indiana, and Willow Springs, Missouri. As space is vacated at the Wernsing Road Facility, JASPER’s Engine Division will begin their expansion projects.