What goes on inside the DMR?

I was among a hand-picked group of truck industry editors that had the opportunity to tour Detroit Diesel Remanufacturing's DMR (Design, Manufacture and Remanufacture) operation in Hibbing, Minn.

Detroit Diesel Remanufacturing (Detroit Reman) is the leader in the remanufacture of products - including engines, axles, water and oil pumps, transmissions, electronics, turbochargers, fuel injectors, cylinder heads and diesel particulate filters, for on- and off-highway power systems.

Its facility specializes in the remanufacture of a complete line of electronic and mechatronic components under various brands, including the Detroit Genuine Parts brand for Daimler Truck North America's on-highway market. The current product portfolio includes new and remanufactured engine controllers, transmission controllers, vehicle controllers, turbo actuators, EGR actuators, variable pressure output devices, intake throttle controllers, instrument clusters and audio amplifiers.

My two firsts

Hibbing is located about 85 miles northwest of Duluth, Minn., within the Iron Range - a region with multiple distinct bands of iron ore in the northeastern section of the state. I was surprised to learn that Hibbing is the boyhood home of Bob Dylan, birthplace of baseball great Roger Maris and where Greyhound Bus Lines was founded.

In addition to it being my first time to Hibbing, it was the first time I had been through an electronics plant of any kind. Among the many things I found particularly interesting was that static electricity and its companion electrostatic discharge - the release of static electricity when two objects come into contact - could so adversely impact the manufacture and remanufacture of modern electronic components.

Prior to the tour, were given a special anti-static smock to wear which would discharge any static we would build up. Plus, we were instructed to stay, at a minimum, 12" away from all workers and work stations.

The highly-skilled DMR workers are an enthusiastic bunch and everyone seemed to enjoy their work. Combined, the plant's workers have more than 400 years of experience.

Unlike truck and vehicle components plants, the DMR plant is quiet. There are no presses or lathes or other typical heavy industrial manufacturing equipment.

A star spotting

While on the tour of DMR, I thought I spotted professional wrestler Hulk Hogan at the DDEC (Detroit Diesel Electronic Control) engine control module manufacturing station. I quickly headed toward him for a photo and autograph.

Turns out it was a "smaller, glasses-wearing, out-out-of-shape Hulk Hogan," as DMR employee Steve Poirier described himself.

In my next blog, I'll share my experiences with taking a gun to the board at the DMR plant.