Rising demand prompts further capacity boost for Bridgestone OTR plant
Production capacity of large and ultra-large off the road radials at Bridgestone’s Kitakyushu plant in Japan is to increase in order to meet growing global demand for these products. The tyre maker announced on 16 February that capacity will rise by 20 tons a day to approximately 165 tons in the first half of 2014. Alongside this increase, Bridgestone intends to increase production capacity at its Saga plant, which produces the radial steel cord used in large and ultra-large OTR tyres. As of December 2011 the Saga plant manufactured around 270 tons of steel cord a day; the size of the announced capacity increase was not disclosed in Bridgestone’s 16 February announcement. Approximately 4.7 billion yen (£38.2 million) will be invested in the two projects.
Demand for Bridgestone’s large and ultra-large OTR tyres is expected to be strong over the medium to long term due to rising mining production around the world. Prior to this current expansion announcement, Bridgestone had already committed itself to a third phase expansion of the Kitakyushu plant, and this will enter service in the second half of 2012. The company is also building a new large and ultra-large OTR tyre facility in the US; this plant is expected to begin tyre production in the first half of 2014. Bridgestone says that, moving forward, it will build a production system that can continually respond rapidly to changes in market demand trends and supply customers with world-class quality products on a timely basis.