By Brad Dawson, ERJ Staff
Greenville, South Carolina- Michelin North America Inc. plans to expand steel cord production at its Tuscaloosa, Alabama, plant and make it the main supplier of the material to its tyre factories in North America. The Tuscaloosa plant makes tyres, but a separate unit also makes the steelcord.
The reported $13 million project includes modifying existing equipment and adding new machinery at the site, a Michelin spokeswoman said. The company does not intend to expand the area of the factory.
The company expects to have added about 12 jobs in conjunction with the expansion by the time it is completed in 2010, the spokeswoman said. Fewer than 2 percent of the plant's employees work in the steel cord production area.
The steel cord calendering operation in Tuscaloosa eventually will serve nine passenger and light truck tyre plants in North America. The cord made there can be used in any of Michelin's radial tyres.
The project-approved Sept. 18 by the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority along with tax abatements-isn't expected to affect tyre production at the plant, the spokeswoman said.
Hourly workers at the Tuscaloosa plant are represented by the United Steelworkers union, but they are not involved in the approval of funds for capital projects, she said. However, the company keeps the union â€œwell-informed on the business results and decisions,â€ she said.
In other news from Tuscaloosa, the plant ended a two-week shutdown because of markets and supply factors there the week of Oct. 5. The company's tyre factory in Opelika closed during the same period.
The two facilities combined employ about 1900.
From Rubber & Plastics News (A Crain publication)