Toyo, Sumitomo restart production in earthquake affected areas
More than a week after the Japan earthquake caused widespread power outages and disruption to manufacturing in parts of the main island of Honshu, Toyo Tires and Sumitomo Rubber have recommenced production at factories located in affected areas.
The manufacture of passenger car and light commercial vehicle tyres at Sumitomo’s Shirakawa factory in Fukushima Prefecture started up with “limited sizes” on March 22. Sumitomo says it expects to begin truck and bus tyre production by the end of the week. The 604,000 square metre Shirakawa facility has a monthly production capacity of 10,350 tons, however the tyre maker states “production quantity will be increased gradually, depending on power supply, distribution, material procurement and other circumstances.”
Limited production at Toyo’s Sendai facility in Miyagi Prefecture recommenced on March 23. The return to operation was made possible by the gradual restoration of electricity to the region and only involved some of the facility’s production lines, however the tyre maker expects other production lines will re-open “in turn” and production will increase over time. Toyo says it is “working toward achieving full regular operations as soon as possible.” The company’s Fukushima Rubber Co. Ltd. facility resumed partial production on March 21 and full production will be reinstated product-by-product.