Dura Automotive Celebrates Grand Opening of Muscle Shoals High-Tech Manufacturing Site for EV Battery Enclosures

$75M investment powers third new factory for lightweight
EV battery structures in 18 months

New site to create more than 270 manufacturing jobs

Expansion in Alabama supports electric vehicle battery manufacturing

Muscle Shoals Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Carl Beckwith, CEO (Dura Automotive Systems)

Group Photo from Left to right: Zac Jackson – Vice President (MiddleGround Capital), Heather Klish – President & COO (Dura), Robert Aderholt – Congressman (Alabama), Governor Kay Ivey (Alabama), Paul Underwood – Plant Manager (Dura), Carl Beckwith – CEO (Dura), John Stewart – Co-founder (MiddleGround Capital), Caitlin Holland – President (Shoals Chamber), Mayor Mike Lockhart – (Muscle Shoals), Kevin Jackson – President (SEDA), Chris Charlton – Founder (The Charlton Group)  

— News — January 27, 2022

Auburn Hills, MI, USA January 27, 2022, Dura Automotive Systems celebrated the formal unveiling of its new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The most recent addition to a growing family of worldwide sites is home to Dura’s first lightweight structures investment in North America. The premier site is designed to support the rapid production of luxury electric vehicles planned throughout the next decade.

The high-tech manufacturing processes will utilize advanced robotics and proprietary forming and joining technologies to create lightweight structures used for electric vehicle (EV) battery systems. The 200,000 square foot facility is forecasted to employ more than 270 full-time workers at peak production with an estimated investment of $75 million.

“This milestone event celebrates our continued partnership with customers to accelerate the transition to electrified, high-performance vehicles,” said Carl Beckwith, Dura Chief Executive Officer. “On behalf of Dura and our investors, I extend appreciation to our employees, Mercedes-Benz, and the many individuals in the government and supply base that worked above and beyond to make this vision a reality. Your accomplishment adds yet another steppingstone along the path toward a zero-emission future.”

The world-class Muscle Shoals factory will supply lightweight aluminum EV battery enclosures to the Alabama-based Mercedes-Benz electric battery pack plant in Bibb County. The facility is the latest investment by Dura to support vehicle electrification. In 2020 Dura launched an advanced lightweight EV structural systems plant in the Czech Republic. In 2021 Dura opened its second site to manufacture EV battery enclosures in the Republic of North Macedonia.

“We are delighted to expand our European expertise in design and manufacturing of lightweight structural architectures to the North American market, right here in Muscle Shoals,” said Heather Klish, President and Chief Operating Officer for Dura. “Building a safe and inviting workplace for our employees and the community is a cornerstone of delivering a world-class product. I am pleased to unveil this state-of-the-art factory, featuring the latest in safety and environmental technologies.”

The Muscle Shoals factory boasts significant safety, efficiency, and environmentally clean processes. A symphony of more than 60 robots, trained and conducted by technical experts, is deployed throughout manufacturing. More than 500 light curtains, lasers, and proximity switches are active to ensure safety for personnel throughout the site. Extensive LED lighting throughout the building is controlled through motion activation to minimize energy consumption. Advanced water treatment systems fed by reverse osmosis processes reduce water consumption and protect the clean water supply.

“I am thrilled with the teamwork employed to build this impressive new facility and even more excited about the career opportunities it creates,” said Paul Underwood, Muscle Shoals Plant Manager. “This was a truly collaborative effort with local and global technology experts working hand-in-hand to bring to life an amazing site that will be the foundation for additional job creation in our community. I want to express my gratitude for the efforts of every team member for their contributions.”

Planning and construction of the new facility were completed in just eight months, leveraging the collaborative efforts of Dura technical teams, suppliers, and government officials. More than 300 contractor and supplier workers contributed to constructing the site, with more than 100 technicians, 110 factory personnel, and 50 corporate, customer, and government experts. The more than 500 team members joined together to overcome industry-wide supply chain challenges and ensure the project’s success.

Aluminum structures & eMobility

Aluminum structures have been prominent in European premium vehicles to reduce mass, improving performance and fuel economy. As the market shifts toward electrified vehicles, lightweight architectures play a significant role in dramatically extending vehicle range and recharge intervals. Electric vehicle battery systems are integrated within a structural enclosure, often integral to the chassis system. Dura produces lightweight aluminum battery enclosures, complete with integrated cooling systems. The modules are precision manufactured and sealed to safely encapsulate components of the battery, control systems, and monitoring electronics. Each battery tray design is custom engineered and manufactured specifically to an automaker’s performance objectives. The company has produced lightweight aluminum architectures for vehicles since 1990.

About DURA Automotive Systems

Dura Automotive Systems, a MiddleGround Capital Company, is a global automotive supplier specializing in the design, engineering, and manufacturing of solutions that drive the evolution of mobility. With a legacy comprising more than 100 years of inspired invention, the company is recognized by leading vehicle manufacturers as a preferred supplier partner for innovative, highly integrated mechatronic systems and lightweight structural solutions. Dura’s forward-thinking technology roadmap includes mechatronic driver control systems, including shift-by-wire and electronic actuators; lightweight structural body systems, including electric vehicle battery enclosures; and a portfolio of precision manufactured automotive products. Dura is headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA. Learn more at duraauto.com

Media Contact:
Sean McGuire