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Bridgestone recently announced that it will make an additional $180 million investment in its passenger tire manufacturing facility in Wilson, North Carolina. The investment is in addition to the $164 million expansion announced in January 2016, making the company's total investment $344 million over the next 10 years.
The latest investment includes a new state-of-the-art rubber mixer, which is expected to add 16 jobs, as well as funding for innovative manufacturing processes and technologies at the Wilson facility. Groundbreaking for the new 50,000-square-foot building addition is expected in the spring of 2017, with production slated to start in the fall of 2018.
The multi-phase expansion will allow the plant to meet global demand for higher-rim-diameter tires, as well as improve quality and productivity while reducing costs. The project will add manufacturing space to accommodate new tire assembly machines, material handling systems, curing presses and associated equipment. The changes will increase plant capacity by 3,000 tires per day, bringing daily production to 35,000 tires by 2018.
"This total investment reflects Bridgestone's global commitment to meeting marketplace demands, increasing capacity and utilizing innovative manufacturing processes," said Michael Darr, Wilson plant manager. "These are investments not only in the customers of Bridgestone products but also in our local community and in our team members."
As Wilson County's single largest industrial employer, the Bridgestone plant is 2.5 million square feet and was last expanded in 1999. Since then, the plant's team has achieved numerous safety awards, including marking 2012 as the safest year in its history. In 2016, the plant received certification as a Rising Star facility from the North Carolina Department of Labor.
The plant also has been recognized for its environmental efforts, including three Green Factory Environmental Achievement recognitions at Honda's 22nd Annual Environmental, Safety and Ergonomics Symposium in 2014. In addition, it was the first tire plant to earn ISO 50001 certification and reach the Superior Energy Performance Mature Pathway certification.
For more information, visit www.bridgestone.com.