By Gary Quackenbush, Special to the Business Journal
‘We’ve built the utility industry’s first green-focused assembly facility’
DIXON – Altec Industries Inc. plans to officially open its newly constructed $5.5 million Green Fleet utility vehicle final assembly plant this month, pending receipt of an occupancy permit. The facility is collocated with the company’s west coast service center at 1450 North First Street in Dixon.
More than 300 employees, guests and fleet partners attended the ribbon-cutting on April 24 to commemorate the completion of the structure.
The construction cycle took 269 days from ground breaking on July 28, 2011 to completion in April 2012.
“We’ve built the utility industry’s first green-focused assembly facility” said Lee Styslinger III, Altec chairman and CEO. “This plant will be a focus for our Green Fleet products, which includes plug-in electric and all-electric utility vehicles. Altec is committed to sustainability in the products we build as well as in the facilities that build them.”
The 42,40- square-foot facility is more than 25 percent larger than the previous structure, giving Altec the capacity to increase production of its Green Fleet product line by 50 percent over 2011 totals. The company now expects to assemble up to 600 commercial utility vehicles a year, compared with an average annual output of approximately 350 previously.
Congressman John Garamendi, representing California’s 10th District, said his focus is on job creation and “Make It America” initiatives that keep manufacturing in the U.S.
“These green vehicles — made by Altec, made in Dixon and made in America – are a major step forward in greening our economy and are evidence that we can make things locally,” he said at the ribbon cutting.
He said the U.S. spends some $130 billion a year protecting the flow of oil from the Gulf. “Out of this factory will come solutions for reducing energy consumption along with opportunities for the local economy to stabilize itself.”
With this new plant, company officials estimate that 100 new jobs will be added by July 2012. More jobs could be added based on production growth and the expanded use of Green Fleet equipment in California and surrounding regions.
The general contractor for the project was Spanda Industrial of Sacramento, supported by key sub-contractors Elite Electric and Western Engineering.
“This building exceeds Title 24 energy and lighting codes established by the California Energy Commission,” said David Payne, Altec Facility Manager.
Light harvesting prismatic skylights and high output ballasts with T-8 lighting fixtures were installed. Walls are fully insulated and the structure has a cool roof. Building components include locally produced recycled materials. High-efficiency climate controls also helped Altec exceed Title 24 requirements.
An extensive recycling program for metals and other materials has also been implemented.
Based on energy-saving features, Altec expects that its usage will be reduced by 15 to 20 percent over current demands.
“We plan to utilize more disciplined Kaizen manufacturing techniques and advanced structured flow assembly methods. This will give us a lean production model to help eliminate waste, improve productivity, and achieve sustained continual improvement in targeted activities and processes,” Mr. Payne said.
The company specializes in assembling custom truck bodies for the electric utility, telecommunications and contractor markets, as well as for public sector organizations such as the Defense Logistics Agency, the General Services Administration, Homeland Security and other Federal agencies.
Altec will use this facility to expand development and production of its Green Fleet product line using electric, hybrid and compressed natural gas in medium-duty drive train power systems.
Utility partner PG&E is assisting Altec with field evaluations of green truck vehicles to provide feedback and to ensure design integrity.
Des Bell, senior vice president, safety and shared services, with PG&E said his firm is moving away from oil-based fuels to LNG and all electric plug-in hybrids as part of its Green Fleet Initiative.
PG&E has cut its use of diesel and gas by 3.4 million gallons over 10 years, avoiding 6,000 tons of CO2 emissions. This is equivalent to planting 2,000 trees a year for 15 years.
The company has 300 battery- powered vehicles and plans to double this number in three years.
Altec also received significant guidance and support from PG&E and Southern California Edison (SCE) in the development of the new building.
Using Altec’s Jobsite Energy Management System (JEMS), trucks rely on batteries to power cranes and buckets, eliminating noise and greenhouse gases. Some 30 percent of fuel consumption comes from idling vehicles.
Sandy Person, president of the Solano Economic Development Corporation, said: “Altec’s expansion and 100+ new green manufacturing jobs is a powerful message and a huge WIN for Dixon, Solano County, and California. We are committed to building on its success in developing more opportunities and partnerships that help grow our budding energy cluster.”
Dixon Mayor Jack Batchelor also thanked Altec for being part of a public-private partnership involving the city, county and the company. “It’s a great day for Dixon and local economic development.”
Altec Industries, Inc., with world headquarters in Birmingham, Ala. is a leading equipment and service provider with 23 technical support service centers in North America, including those located in 20 states and three Canadian Provinces.
The company’s products and services are distributed in more than 100 countries. For more information, go to www.altec.com.