DAF is to invest EUR 200 million in its cab plant in Westerlo, Belgium in order to be prepared for future production volumes as DAF further expands its success worldwide. DAF made the announcement today during a visit by Philippe Muyters, the Flemish Minister for Work, Economics, Innovation.
DAF opened its Westerlo plant in 1966, where – in addition to cabs – it has also manufactured its own axles since the early seventies. The current workforce of 2,800 employees produces axles and cabs for the heavy and medium duty trucks that come off the production lines in Eindhoven, The Netherlands and in Leyland, United Kingdom.
Thanks to its excellent trucks, first class services and a highly professional dealer network, DAF has become the second largest truck brand in Europe and the market leader in the important tractor segment. To further strengthen its leading position in Europe as well as in international markets beyond, DAF is creating completely new state of the art processes at the Westerlo plant.
With the EUR 200 million investment, production capacity of the cab plant increases by some 45% to 300 cabs per day in a 2-shift operation. This number will be in line with capacity of the new Cab Paint Factory, which was officially opened at the end of 2017, following an investment of EUR 100 million.
State-of-the-art Body-in-white process
For the ‘body-in-white’ assembly of the DAF CF and XF cabs, the existing 17,800 m2 Cab Body Welding factory will be expanded by 13,200 m2. The extension will feature a single-line lay-out with some 130 highly advanced robots and 135 fully automated welding guns, to provide world-class quality, efficiency and ergonomics.
Cab Trimming leading the way in ergonomics
The Cab Trimming plant (15,600 m2) will be expanded by 20,000 m2. The new facility will have multiple sections, including a main assembly line, a roof assembly line and door and cockpit sub-assembly lines. It will also include a highly advanced test and inspection department. In the main assembly line an advanced ‘skillet’-system will be applied for class-leading ergonomics, enabling employees to adapt working height to suit operations and individual preferences.
‘Investment for the future’
DAF president, Harry Wolters: “The new state-of-the-art cab body and cab trimming factories are required for DAF to further grow both inside and outside Europe. Upon completion, the new facilities will be the most modern of their kind, setting the benchmark in quality, efficiency and ergonomics. Above all, the investment of EUR 200 million once again illustrates DAF’s confidence in the future of its plant in Belgium.”
‘A textbook case of innovation, talent and passion’
Flemish minister for Work, the Economy and Innovation Philippe Muyters: “In our rapidly changing economy, companies that want to excel have no choice but to be innovative. But keeping our skills up-to-date and relevant is also key. DAF obviously has what it takes: a vision on sustainability, innovation and growth, combined with the commitment to transform not only their processes, but also their employees’ skills. I am proud to contribute to this textbook case of innovation, talent and passion.”
Construction of the new Body and Cab Trimming factories at the DAF Vlaanderen site has started. The Belgian construction company Cordeel has been contracted to realize the buildings, including new offices, meeting rooms and facilities for the employees. The body-in-white welding line will be supplied by VDL Steelweld from The Netherlands.