Official Opening Of Pirelli North American HQ And MIRS Plant
Pirelli’s new North American HQ and first US MIRS tyre factory were officially opened this weekend in Rome, Georgia. The ribbon was cut by Roy E. Barnes, Governor of Georgia and Pirelli North American President and CEO Gaetano Mannino.
Various other local dignitaries attended the ceremony and Barnes paid tribute to the company for recognising the state’s “leadership and dedication to growing the automotive sector.” For his part, Mannino said that Georgia’s long history of automotive leadership was a key factor in choosing Rome for the new HQ.Although the plant has been operational since June, Governor Barnes had the honour of pressing the button to start up production module number 1 and, afterwards, he was presented with a new P Zero Nero, the first production tyre from the new facility, as a memento.
The Rome complex has an area of 400,000 square feet and will employ 300 people – 250 of which will be production workers – in three years’ time. Mannino said that MIRS technology demonstrates that Pirelli is in the forefront of tyre manufacturing, adding “Our new plant will make sure that Rome is recognised worldwide for high performance tyres.”Initially, there will be three MIRS modules at the plant, although Pirelli says that this number will “substantially increase” by 2003 and there is enough land available to house as many modules as needed to fulfil market needs.
The MIRS process is fully automatic and is extremely flexible, with as few as four tyres making an economic run, and with increased quality and conformity. The first 13 operatives at Rome were sent to Pirelli’s UK MIRS facility for training and Pirelli has additional MIRS factories in Italy and Germany, although the |Georgia plant will be the company’s largest, with production focused on SUV and high- and ultra high-performance tyres for both the OE and replacement markets.Talking of original equipment, Pirelli also said that it expects to announce new OE contracts for MIRS tyres with “more than one North American car maker” in the near future.