New Toyo plant to meet ‘vigorous’ Chinese demand
Toyo’s new tyre plant in China’s Jiangsu Province is officially open. On 8 December Toyo Tire & Rubber held a ceremony to mark the entry of the Toyo Tire (Zhangjiagang) Co. Ltd. passenger car and light truck tyre factory into the company’s global manufacturing network.
More than 400 people attended the ceremony, including Zhangjiagang city and regional officials, key customers and senior Toyo management. During the proceedings, company president and CEO Kenji Nakakura addressed the guests and stated: “Despite the challenges brought on by the East Japan earthquake, the Toyo Tires Group pressed forward with the construction of this factory as planned. So it is that we have arrived at this auspicious day. Though we are the newest tyre company to open a factory in China, we will attain the manufacturing of high-quality goods like no other firm but Toyo Tires can. From here, the next chapter in Toyo Tires’ history will begin, and we will grow and flourish.”
The tyre maker comments that demand for passenger and light truck replacement tyres in China is forecasted to double by 2015. Thus, the company has positioned Toyo Tire (Zhangjiagang) to be its key manufacturing point for passenger and light truck tyres in China. Toyo shares that the new plant state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment and is primed to produce approximately two million tyres per year; this output will go towards meeting China’s “vigorous” future demand. Looking forward, the company intends to “judiciously monitor and evaluate the market environment” both in China and globally in order to identify where it needs to strengthen its manufacturing presence.
The tyre maker states that Toyo Tire (Zhangjiagang) operates according to the concept of “resource saving, high product quality, high productivity, eliminating the requirement for complex technical skill.” Toyo explains these four concept components as follows:
Resource saving: The new factory is designed for minimum energy consumption. Due to its use of state-of-the-art tyre manufacturing technology and other energy saving measures, the plant consumes 30 per cent less energy in comparison to Toyo’s tyre factories in Japan.
High product quality: The Toyo Tire (Zhangjiagang) factory is designed to manufacture high performance tyres and elements of Toyo’s A.T.O.M. production methods, which are already in use in Japan and the US, have been adopted within the plant. These methods, Toyo elaborates, minimise inconsistencies in tyre product quality through trace management during the production processes and the use of automated tyre inspection devices.
High productivity: By employing elements of A.T.O.M., Toyo says the plant has been able to reduce production lead time and the number of steps involved in the production process – thereby enabling the factory to manufacture with higher efficiency and productivity.
Eliminating the requirement for complex technical skills: Toyo says the new factory “creates a work environment which is gentle to the workers and fosters ease of work.” In order to produce high quality tyres “without demanding complex technical skills from workers,” Toyo has endeavoured to automate production processes and apply IT technology in the tyre manufacturing process as much as possible.
Upon inaugurating the new China plant, Toyo notes that work is currently underway on its facility in Malaysia, which is expected to enter operation in April 2013.