Grand opening held for Bridgestone’s US giant tyre plant
Bridgestone Americas has opened its giant off-road radial tyre facility in Aiken County, South Carolina. Kazuhisa Nishigai, COO and board Member of Bridgestone Corporation, and Gary Garfield, president and CEO of Bridgestone Americas, were joined at a grand opening ceremony for the 140,000 square metre (1.5 million square feet) plant by state and local dignitaries.
“Bridgestone has made significant investments in technology and training to ensure we are producing the world’s leading off road radial tyres in North America,” said Nishigai. “We remain highly committed to our mining customers around the globe and will continue to make the right investments for this important segment of our business.”
In 2011, Bridgestone announced a planned US$970 million investment to build the company’s first off road radial tyre plant in the USA, as well as expand production capacity at Bridgestone’s steel cord manufacturing facilities in Clarksville, Tennessee, and Saga, Japan. The opening of the new Aiken County Off Road Radial Tire Plant completes the largest portion of this planned investment. The Clarksville and Saga locations both supply the facility, which produces tyres used to equip heavy haul trucks in mining and aggregates applications.
“Engineering large and ultra-large mining tyres is a highly technical process, and Bridgestone has a long tradition of being a leader in bringing these tyres to market,” said Gary Garfield. “The opening of a new off road radial tyre plant in South Carolina is a strategic business decision that will give Bridgestone the capacity to build these tyres domestically and improve our supply systems globally. Long term, the mining segment will grow, and we are now better-positioned to respond more quickly, efficiently and reliably to the needs of our customers.”
Bridgestone’s Off Road Radial Tire Plant is the second tyre manufacturing facility Bridgestone has built in Aiken County, South Carolina. The company has operated a passenger tyre plant in Graniteville since 1998. Approximately 350 people now work at the Aiken County Off Road Radial Tire Plant, and Bridgestone expects to create an additional 200 positions when the location reaches full production in the next two to three years. At present, there are approximately 2,000 people working at Bridgestone’s two tyre plants in Aiken County.