LAKEWOOD, N.Y. — Independent engine maker Cummins Inc. is boosting its annual rate of investment in its 40-year-old Jamestown Engine Plant here by more than 50%, with the goal of hitting 500 engines a day, most of them ISX15s.
As part of the 40th anniversary celebration for JEP, the company’s home for heavy-duty truck engines, executives said they will spend more than $30 million a year, this year through 2016, up from $19.3 million in 2013.
“We’ve been investing here heavily,” said Dave Crompton, president of the company’s engine business since July. “We’ve been investing on capacity for the last 18 to 24 months, and we feel good about our footprint now,” he said.
Cummins holds a plurality market share for North American heavy-duty truck engines, but it recently fell below 40% to 39% for the first half of this year. Daimler Trucks North America is No. 2 at 26.8%, according to WardsAuto.com.
Once a metal-fabrication facility for large filing cabinets, Cummins started JEP in August 1974, the same month Richard Nixon resigned the presidency. Cummins still ran most of its production out of its headquarters city, Columbus, Indiana, but needed a place to make components.
Five years later, the company made its first engine there, a 10-liter model. In 2002 and 2003 the company consolidated its heavy-duty production at JEP, a 1 million-square-foot facility that employs about 1,500 — more than any other private employer in Chautauqua County, New York.
Even with truck makers’ in-house engines gaining market share, the Jamestown Engine Plant makes more heavy-duty truck engines — 10 liters or larger — than any other factory in North America.
Engine blocks come to JEP from foundries in China, Mexico and South Africa and get turned into 12- and 15-liter truck engines.
The ISX15 is the company’s best seller for diesel truck engines, with most of them going to Kenworth Trucks, Navistar International and Peterbilt Motors. While the ISX12 has lost ground to the truck maker’s in-house models, JEP also is home to the Cummins Westport ISX12 G, a natural-gas power plant, which Crompton said is of growing importance for Cummins.
Plant manager Mike Abbate said he ships finished engines to customers via truckload carriers, with each trailer holding about 12 engines.