State-of-the-art paint, finishing technologies enhance product quality, position facility to meet long-term goals.

AGCO will be equipping its Hesston, Kan., manufacturing facility with the latest finishing and paint technologies in a plant revitalization project slated for completion in 2013. The project, which involves an investment of more than $40 million dollars, will position the Hesston location to be a key contributor to the company's long-term strategic goal to be a leader in hay and harvesting equipment for the global market.

"This investment in technology will help us enhance the productivity and efficiency of the facility, provide our customers with the highest quality haying and harvesting equipment products possible and reduce the environmental impact of our painting and finishing processes while providing a better work environment for employees," explains Bob Crain, senior vice president and general manager for AGCO North America. "And in an era of outsourcing, it also is an investment that helps us keep jobs in the Heartland of America with highly productive employees who have a deep agricultural heritage and strong work ethic."

Ag equipment has been made in Hesston since 1947 and the existing paint system has been i n use since the early 1970s. Today, with nearly 1,200 employees, AGCO is the largest employer in Harvey County and much of the surrounding area. It is the North American manufacturing headquarters for Gleaner, Massey Ferguson and Challenger combines and Hesston by Massey Ferguson as well as Challenger haying equipment.

Investment in the state-of-the-art technologies for material delivery and finishing will result in a consistent, uniform, durable and thorough product finish which will help reduce corrosion to improve longevity of the final machines. The flexible system will be employed across the full offering of large square and round balers, small square balers, combines, grain headers, pull-type and self-propelled mower conditioners, windrower tractors and planters manufactured there.

"The top quality and experienced employee team in Hesston was a key reason AGCO committed to this large investment in our facility," says Bill Kaltenberg, vice president of operations at the Hesston facility. "They are extremely proud, professional and committed to building equipment with exceptional quality. It is these types of workers who ensure our customers receive products that meet or exceed their expectations. We have a team here who regularly pull off some pretty amazing things, and AGCO is proud to support them by bringing the latest technology here for them to use."

Additional aspects of the project include reconfiguring the two buildings currently housing paint systems for their separate use in welding and in assembling equipment.

square balers