Graniteville, SC - During an event attended by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Bridgestone Americas Inc., a subsidiary of Bridgestone Corporation, announced the construction of a new 1.5-million-square-foot off-road radial tire (ORR) manufacturing facility on a greenfield site in Aiken County, SC. Bridgestone Americas also announced an additional 474,000-square-foot expansion of the existing passenger (PSR) and light truck (LTR) tire plant in Aiken County, SC. The company previously announced a 266,000-square-foot expansion of this plant in July of this year. When fully completed, these three projects will total a $1.2-billion investment and will increase Bridgestone Americas' workforce in Aiken County by more than 850 jobs (direct and contractor positions).
Bridgestone Off-Road Radial Tire Plant
"The announcement of this greenfield off-road radial tire plant is a major strategic investment by the global Bridgestone Group to enhance its supply systems, improve its sourcing flexibility and further strengthen the Bridgestone Group's position as the global leader in the off-road radial tire segment," said Gary Garfield, vice president and senior officer, Bridgestone Corporation, and CEO and President, Bridgestone Americas.
Demand for off-road radial tires is steadily increasing as the need for mineral resources grows due to rapid economic expansion across the globe. The construction of this new ORR plant is consistent with the company's global sourcing strategy and will strengthen the ability of the global Bridgestone Group to cement its leadership position in this important market segment.
The new ORR manufacturing facility will be located at a greenfield site in the Sage Mill Industrial Park in Aiken County. Previously, large and ultra-large ORR tires had been produced exclusively at Bridgestone Corporation's Shimonoseki and Kitakyushu plants located in Japan. Bridgestone believes that it can more effectively respond to customer needs and growing global demand, however, by installing ORR production technologies developed in Japan in the new U.S. plant resulting in further supply systems improvements. In addition, by establishing production bases outside Japan, the Bridgestone Group will have multiple options for possible further future expansions, improving its ability to rapidly respond to changes in the operating environment and customer requirements.
The plant will be built with a focus on the environment. The company plans to achieve LEED Construction Certification by incorporating state-of-the-art technology in its facility and equipment design.
Timeline and key facts for the new ORR plant construction and start-up:
- Manufacturing equipment for the first phase of the plant will be installed starting in the fourth quarter of 2012.
- The first production tire is scheduled to be produced by the end of the first quarter of 2014 with a target date of full phase one production by the end of 2015.
- The first phase of the project will initially create more than 330 full-time and contractor jobs.
- The project is expected to result in approximately 550 new full-time and contractor jobs when fully completed (planned for 2020).
Expansion of Existing Aiken County PSR/LTR Plant