WABCO Holdings Inc. is localizing production of its air disc brakes (ADBs) for commercial vehicles for the very first time in the U.S. at a new facility located in North Charleston, SC.

The 145,000 sq.-ft. facility will employ 230 and represents a $20 million investment, according to the company. WABCO said it is “relocating” current production to this new factory, which represents an increase of its manufacturing footprint by more than 60%.

Jon Morrison, president of the Americas for WABCO, told Fleet Owner that “localizing” production of its ADBs in the U.S. will allow the company not only to “tune” its ADB products better for North American fleets but help reduce costs as well.

“Fleets get the value proposition of better braking with ADBs,” he explained, noting that they help reduce stopping distance by 10% versus traditional drum brakes while almost completely eliminating brake fade. In addition, ADBs extend service intervals up to two times versus drum brakes and are engineered with 25% fewer parts, Morrison pointed out.

“The key part now is delivering a better ROI [return on investment] for them,” he said. “Right now we’re aiming at a two-year ROI but we’d like to get that down into the 18 month range. That will better fit the [truck] trade cycle of fleets.”

Morrison also noted that truck OEMs themselves are becoming more accepting of ADB technology, with Peterbilt Motors Co. making them standard equipment in 2011 followed by Kenworth Truck Co. in 2013.

Both Peterbilt and Kenworth are subsidiaries of the Paccar Corp.

“We are excited to expand our manufacturing capabilities in the U.S. to be closer to our customers in the region,” added Jacques Esculier, WABCO’s chairman and CEO, in a statement. “By localizing the production of ADBs in the region we demonstrate our commitment to advancing safety and shaping the future of the transportation industry … paving the way to higher automation of commercial vehicles and platooning, both of which rely heavily on superior braking performance.”