Pirelli confirms Carlisle investment for eco tyre development
Pirelli has chosen its Carlisle plant as the research and development centre for a new range of eco tyres. The manufacturer said the experience and expertise at Pirelli Carlisle, operational since the 1960s, was a key factor in its decision to stage the development of the next generation of high technology Pirelli green tyres there. The company was recently awarded £2 million from the UK’s Regional Growth Fund, and since being selected as the recipient of the award, Pirelli has announced a further £11.4m investment in the eco tyres project together with a further £9m in new process machinery for volume production. It is estimated that the total investment will create 37 new jobs. On a recent visit to Pirelli’s Carlisle facility, Tyres & Accessories reported the company’s “100 per cent premium” strategy for the site, while also pointing to the likelihood of subsequent private investment implied by the Regional Growth Fund award’s terms. Now Pirelli has confirmed the increased investment to focus on green tyres in Carlisle.
The project will develop a range of low carbon emission car tyres using Pirelli “Green Performance” technologies. The new tyres will be designed both to consume less energy during the manufacturing process and to use less fuel during their lifespan on a vehicle. The new products will use innovative low rolling resistance and low weight technologies to reduce vehicle fuel consumption and emissions.
Trade and Investment minister, Lord Green said: “I warmly welcome the Pirelli Group’s plans for expanding in the UK. Pirelli’s investment reflects the UK’s strengths in engineering and manufacturing, especially our skill base and productivity, and our innovativeness and ability to turn cutting edge research into commercial revenues.”
In the latest iteration of its Industrial Plan, presented in November 2011, Pirelli set itself the goal of becoming the world’s leading premium tyre manufacture by 2015. In support of this plan, several key plants around the world, including Carlisle, have been selected to specialise in the research, development and the production of its premium range of tyres.
Each year, Pirelli invests seven per cent of its revenues from the premium segment in research and development to create products which improve safety for the benefit of people and the environment. The company says it is constantly pushing technological boundaries across the whole product range from its Formula One tyres through to the truck and motorbike divisions of the company’s portfolio.
Its “Green Performance” strategy is designed to produce tyres that increase performance; reduce braking distance; improve handling and grip in the wet; while also reducing rolling resistance and the weight of the tyre with benefits for the environment.
Pirelli says the core of its growth strategy focused on the premium segment is its consolidated capacity to innovate products and processes. Pirelli operates a research centre in Italy and eight application centres around the world, staffed by over 1,200 employees.