Bridgestone Firestone North America has closed its south-eastern distribution centre in Georgia in anticipation of the opening of a new warehouse in Jacksonville, Florida. The new facility is twice as big as its Georgia counterpart, which held up to 480,000 tyres and employed 100.
Local news sources have reported that three of the Georgia warehouse’s employees applied for jobs at the new facility, but were told that “they wouldn’t be a good fit” in Florida. Meanwhile a manager at the original plant reportedly moved his office to Florida without telling anybody.
An inauguration celebration has been held for Columbian Chemicals’ latest carbon black manufacturing facility. Work on the new plant, located in Camaçari Pole, a chemical complex in Brazil’s Bahia state, began in September 2005, and the company notes this operation at Camaçari Pole incorporates the latest environmental and energy conservation technologies. The US$75 million facility has a production capability of 75,000 tonnes, which can be expanded as the market develops; two tyre factories using the end product operate in the region, one belonging to Bridgestone/Firestone and the other to Continental.
Globally, the use of ‘pneumatic tyre – aerial access platforms & telehandlers’ is growing, as are the heights and reaches of their telescopic booms. Consequently, the risk of a tyre blowout or puncture poses not only a serious safety risk, but also a costly and unnecessary interruption to operational efficiency. But fear not…
Zeus Tyre Filling Systems says it now offers a solution to these problem, a solution that is both ‘proven and green’. Such hazards and interruptions can be avoided through having the tyres on such aerial access equipment completely filled with the company’s Polyfill Material – a component urethane compound, or its new, next generation Triofill tyre filling material, a component (rubber and urethane) compound.
An opportunity for tyre outlets offering a mobile fitting and repair service beckons. According to Elizabeth Dainton, research development manager for the Royal Automobile Club Foundation, car use contributes significantly to wellbeing in old age, and the number of older drivers on our roads is set to mushroom during the next decade.
(Cumberland News) All 1,000 workers at the closure-hit Pirelli tyre factory in Carlisle have been asked to take unpaid leave because bosses believe it is in the plant’s best long-term interests.
Production at Pirelli is due to resume tomorrow after a shutdown. Managers issued the appeal to workers on Tuesday, two days before engineers confirmed that the two boilers, which had triggered the shutdown, eight days ago have now been declared safe.
The factory has stood idle since workers discovered a crack in the main boiler at the Carlisle site last Thursday. Since then workers have been asked to stay away as engineers carried out cleaning and made vital safety checks on the boiler, as well as the one at the firm’s sister plant in Burton, where the factory is also at a standstill.
Production at both plants is expected to resume tomorrow.
But there has been concern among some workers after their bosses wrote to them, setting out a series of options for covering the cost of the eight-day closure.
A union agreement gives workers the option of taking 75% of their basic pay. But the letter tells them that Pirelli has now agreed to give them three options:
Accounting for their time off work by using up paid holiday entitlement;
taking the last week’s time off as unpaid leave; or continuing to be paid but repaying the firm by putting in the requisite extra hours by the end of next year.
The letter says that despite the collective deal to give workers “lay-off” pay at 75% of basic rates, minus overtime and shift premium, “..it must be stressed that the options listed, in agreement with the trade unions, are in the best-long term interests of the factory. Please let your administrator know which option you have chosen.”
The letter concludes by thanking employees for their co-operation at this difficult time and promises to keep everyone informed at the relevant times.
The closure has halted the production of thousands of tyres at the plant, which normally operates around the clock all year.
Some workers contacted The Cumberland News this week, saying that they feared they may lose money as a result of problems which were not of their making.
Alan McGuckin, regional industrial organiser for the Unite union, which represents the bulk of Pirelli workers, said the union had not agreed to support the alternative options in the letter.
He said: “We acknowledge that there are alternatives people can be given, but we don’t have recommendations. What we do have is an agreement covering 75 per cent of minimum earnings levels in exceptional circumstances like this. Workers are entitled to what is in the agreement.”
One worker who contacted The Cumberland News said it was unfair that workers should lose out. “This isn’t our fault,” he said.
Another employee said: “People are worried this is a smokescreen for more job cuts.”
The closure came a few weeks after it emerged that bosses want to shed 60 manufacturing posts at the plant because foreign competition has resulted in lost orders and sales. It is hoped compulsory job losses can be avoided.
A Pirelli spokeswoman said yesterday: “Both boilers involved have passed an inspection and production will resume at the weekend.”
She said workers should contact the factory to confirm shift arrangements. The spokeswoman said the company would not discuss the arrangements for dealing with workers pay during the shutdown period.
In 2005, senior Pirelli managers unveiled plans for a giant wind turbine, which they said was crucial to the factory’s long-term success as it strove to cut energy costs.
Planning permission was granted and managers have said that while there is doubt over whether the city is windy enough the 120m turbine is still part of Pirelli’s plans for the future. (Tire Review/Akron)
Rema Tip Top has introduced a new product that may well prove to be an invaluable tool for workshops dealing with ATV customers. Known as the Tip Top Quad Set, the new item can be painlessly retrofitted to all tyre changers featuring a clamping table, and is suitable for all Butler tyre changers. The Tip Top Quad Set, reports Rema Tip Top, allows for the effortless changing of quad bike or mini motorcycle tyres. In fact, the kit will service all pneumatic tyres from 4 to 10 inches, providing a potential extra stream of income in what is proving to be an ever-popular market.
Italian Wheel Designer Finichi has released its latest design. The Firenze features an ‘aggressive’ split spoke design and deep stainless steel lip that contrasts with the spokes, which can be specified in black or, for those wanting a look more in keeping with OEM fitments, hypersilver. The pseudo split-rim bolts, says Finichi, add a final finishing flourish.
When Brazilian based retreading materials supplier Borrachas Vipal boosted its European market presence in 2005 with the opening of its first distribution centre, the company’s goal was to be one of the largest suppliers of tyre retreading and repair material on the continent, a brand recognised for the quality of its products. Vipal Europe believes this goal has been, three years later, well and truly reached, and confirmation of the company’s ever-stronger position in Europe can be witnessed through the establishment of a third distribution centre in the region.
Following a week of uncertainty for Pirelli’s workers in Burton and Carlisle, Pirelli’s management at the two facilities has stated that they are hopeful that work will restart over this weekend.
The faulty boiler at the Carlisle facility meant that both sites needed to be cleared by inspectors before workers could return to the factories. Local press organisations have now confirmed that the managers have announced that both boilers have passed safety inspections and that the company would be contacting workers to notify them of individual shift arrangements.
Bridgestone/Firestone and the U.S. EPA are joining forces to recognize companies committed to reducing the use of lead wheel weights.
Later today, EPA Assistant Administrator Susan Parker Bodine will join IndyCar Series drivers and Bridgestone/Firestone representatives to honor those that have joined the National Lead-Free Wheel Weight Initiative, which targets a significant reduction of lead wheel weights by the end of 2011.
The ceremonies are being held in conjunction with the IndyCar series event at Belle Island near Detroit, set for this weekend. (Tire Review/Akron)
Apollo Tyres will begin its search for possible new sites for its European factory at the start of September. According to the company’s public relations agent in Hungary, sites both in Hungary and Slovakia will be considered.
The site assessment process is expected to take several months, the agent said. Meanwhile, twenty-seven Hungarian towns have voiced an interest in hosting the tyre manufacturing facility. The trade promotion organisation International Trade and Development Hungary has forwarded information on a number of sites to the tyremaker’s Hungarian agency, and the level of direct contact it is receiving from local governments in Slovakia is increasing.
Plans for a second Michelin factory in Mexico have been shelved due to a decline in North American tyre sales. The manufacturer announced on August 29 its intention to “adjust” production capacity in the region, bringing the proposed facility in Guanajuato state, as announced August 2007, out of step with the company’s current direction. This second factory was to produce tyres primarily for the North American market.
The planned reverse takeover transaction between Amtel-Vredestein and Sibur Holding, which would see the former company purchase all issued and outstanding shares Sibur Russian Tyres before the latter purchases the resultant enlarged company, has been approved during Amtel-Vredestein’s Extraordinary General Meeting of Shareholders.
Specifically, Amtel-Vredestein reports the following approved resolutions:
Following growing concerns amongst workers about the temporary closures of Pirelli’s plants in Burton and Carlisle – amid safety concerns over the buildings’ boilers – the Italian manufacturer has advised staff to contact their supervisors between 10am and 4pm tomorrow.
Fears have grown that the 60 job cuts announced for the Carlisle plant last month could be followed up with more bad news when the two sites failed to reopen swiftly after the inspection of the boilers. Pirelli has stressed the importance of the safety of its workers throughout the temporary closure. A spokesman said today, “Following inspection of the affected boilers, a thorough cleaning process is underway. If all aspects of this process are successful, then we will be able to give further clarification on when the plant will resume production.”
Workers look likely to find out tomorrow whether more bad news is to follow.
Indian tyre manufacturer MRF is preparing to unveil its latest development, becoming the first company in the field from the country to produce an aviation tyre for defence aircraft.
News sources report that MRF chairman and managing director K.K. Mammen stated on Thursday that, “The company’s tyre for Chetak helicopter has got the airworthiness certificate and negotiations are on for rolling out tyres for other defence aircraft.” Mammen also expressed the company’s hope that the government would partly fund the initiative, saying that the company would look to make aviation tyres at its Arokkonam facility near Chennai.