Bridgestone Americas opened its first giant off-road radial tire plant. Based in Aiken County, S.C., the 1.5-million-sq.-ft. manufacturing facility produces various off-road radial tire products used to equip heavy haul trucks in mining and aggregates applications. The new plant strengthens Bridgestone’s ability to meet the needs of its global customer base in this key segment, according to the company.
Kazuhisa Nishigai, COO, Bridgestone Corp., and Gary Garfield, president and CEO of Bridgestone Americas, gathered with regional dignitaries and several hundred others to commemorate the grand opening ceremony.
“Bridgestone has made significant investments in technology and training to ensure we are producing the world’s leading off-road radial tires 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 $970 million investment to build the company’s first U.S.-based off-road radial tire plant, as well as expand production capacity at Bridgestone’s steel cord manufacturing facilities in Clarksville, Tenn., and Saga, Japan. The opening of the Aiken County Off-road Radial Tire Plant completes the largest portion of this planned investment.
“Engineering large and ultra-large mining tires is a highly technical process, and Bridgestone has a long tradition of being a leader in bringing these tires to market. The opening of a new off-road radial tire plant in South Carolina is a strategic business decision that will give Bridgestone the capacity to build these tires domestically and improve our supply systems globally,” Garfield said. “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 tire manufacturing plant Bridgestone has built in Aiken County, S.C. The company has operated a passenger tire facility in Graniteville since 1998.