Michelin to Cut Some, Upgrade Other Operations at Stoke Facility
The Michelin factory at Stoke on Trent is to cease its calendaring operations, and investment in the plant over the next few years will be directed towards retreading operations. According to a Michelin spokeswoman, the production of calendered steelcord, which currently supplies the company’s factory in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, will end in March 2008. Approximately 40 jobs will be lost as a result; Michelin is seeking voluntary redundancies, and will attempt to place those who wish to remain with the tyremaker in other suitable roles. The remaining 1,300 jobs at the Stoke on Trent factory are secure, added Michelin, and the Ballymena plant will be supplied from other Michelin facilities.
The Stoke site seems likely, however, to benefit from an upgrade to its Remix retreading operations. Michelin reports that plans are afoot to invest in a “multi-million” pound programme that will provide the technology required to retread tyres incorporating Michelin Durable Technologies. Research into the proposal will be carried out next year and implementation of the upgrade will begin in 2009, with a 5-year timeframe slated for its completion.
The retreading upgrade, including new production equipment and the introduction of low-emission solvents into the manufacturing process, will in part be funded from sources outside the Michelin Group.