Every year, ABC Companies sponsors a visit to the Van Hool factory and headquarters in Lier-Koningshooikt, Belgium, for ABC coach customers, ABC employees and other guests.
Van Hool is one of Europe’s largest independent manufacturers of integral coaches and buses. There are approximately 4,200 employees at the Lier-Koningshooikt site.
The company exports 80% of its production to more than 76 countries. In the more than 50 years that Van Hool has been in business, approximately 48,000 buses and coaches have been built. Nearly 6,000 Van Hool coaches and transit buses have been sold and delivered to the North American market.
In addition to bus and coach production, manufacturing is also an important part of the work done at the factory. Many segments of the coach and bus bodies come from sub-sections. Seats, electrical wiring harnesses and other products are constructed at on-site departments.
The most interesting center seen in the production process was the station where the sides, roof and floor sections joined in making a full body framework. This important station is capable of joining together five units a day.
The assembly line accommodates several models of buses and coaches, and they were seen in stages wherever they were in the production process. There were various coaches, low-floor city buses and standard- floor interurban buses in various production stations on the line. Painting is done in the factory, and all remaining components are installed prior to final inspection. The factory tour also included a look at the Van Hool industrial vehicle section.
Hosts Ron, Dane and Roman Cornell of ABC Companies were joined by partner representatives Amaya-Astron Seating, Caterpillar Inc., Caterpillar Financial Services and Wells Fargo Equipment Finance Inc., which shared in sponsoring hospitality events. BILL LUKE