Bridgestone investing in US plant expansion
A planned expansion of a Bridgestone passenger car tyre plant in the USA will help the company respond to increasing global demand for higher rim size tyres, the company says. The Wilson manufacturing facility in North Carolina will be expanded as part of a five-year, US$164 million investment to meet market demands and to invest in newer and more efficient technology. Work on the multi-phase expansion of the 42-year-old facility is expected to commence in early 2016.
Phases one and two of the expansion project will require an investment of almost $100 million and focus on the addition of 167,000 square feet (approximately 15,500 square metres) of manufacturing space to accommodate new tyre assembly machines, materials handling systems, curing presses and associated equipment to increase plant capacity by 3,000 tyres per day, bringing daily production to 35,000 units by 2018. Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations says the new equipment also will allow the plant to respond to the aforementioned increase in demand for larger sizes as well as improve quality and productivity while reducing costs.
“Our production and manufacturing capabilities must evolve with our products to meet the changing needs of today’s consumers,” says Wilson plant manager Michael Darr. “Our investment in updated equipment and improved manufacturing processes and facilities reflects our focus on maintaining our global competitiveness, as well as our commitment to the Wilson community.”
The Wilson plant was last underwent an expansion in 1999, when 85,000 square feet was added to the facility.