With a capability of producing more that 5,000 trailers annually, Great Dane, a manufacturer of dry van, refrigerated and platform trailers, began production on April 5 at its new plant in Statesboro, Georgia.

The plant will begin operating with one production line, and move to a second line and second shift later in the year. The plant will employ 400.

"This plant sets a new standard for cutting-edge manufacturing and efficiency. We are proud that it will serve as a model of the most technologically advanced, environmentally sound production practices in the world," said CEO Bill Crown.

Great Dane's plant encompasses 450,000-sq. ft., including office space and a 3,000-sq. ft. climate-controlled, noise-free customer preview center. This particular facility is dedicated to manufacturing the company's all-new Everest refrigerated trailers, the TL model reefer for truckload carriers and the CL model reefer built especially for the unique needs of multi-temp and foodservice operations, especially those in the Southeast. The company has been serving this market for nearly 75 years since pioneering the refrigerated trailer industry with the first wet ice bunker and gas engine and blower system for hauling produce over long distances.

Joining a network of seven other strategically located Great Dane manufacturing plants, the Statesboro facility incorporated technologies including the use of robotic welding, automated production processes, computer-controlled foaming operations and an optimized material handling system for quality and efficiency.

In accordance with the company's pledge to keep its environmental impact as low as possible, numerous green initiatives have been put in place, including energy-efficient lighting and the use of a building management system to automatically control lights, air quality and building temperature; programs to reduce water consumption; and the use of load monitors to ensure optimal energy consumption.