ERJ staff report (TB)
Charles City, Iowa - Mitas Tires North America Inc. has christened production at its Charles City radial farm tyre plant just 18 months after breaking ground on the $52 million project.
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, Charles City Mayor James Erb and Mitas officials Tomas Nemec and Oldrich Slemr cut the ceremonial ribbon today on the converted Winnebago RV assembly plant to mark the beginning of serial production of tyres. The plant began trial production in January.
The factory opens with 76 full-time employees recruited locally, and by 2013 that number will triple to 237, Mitas said.
The plant makes all common agricultural tyre sizes and eventually will produce sizes of up to 54-inch rim diameter and 1,200 mm width. The last curing press will be installed by mid-2013.
During the ceremony Mr. Nemec, chairman of Mitas' Czech parent company CGS a.s., confirmed the company's plans to accelerate the pace of investment at the plant so as to reach the rated annual capacity of 13,500 metric tons by year-end 2013, three years earlier than announced originally.
â€œThe American farmer will benefit from increased competition,â€ Mr. Nemec said, noting Mitas is just the third producer of radial agricultural tyres in the U.S.
â€œGood tractor tyres are worth their weight in gold,â€ said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in a video message played during the ceremony. â€œA quality product is exactly what we need,â€ he added.
The plant received its ISO 9001 accreditation in March, and the National Safety Council has awarded it Gold-level Recognition for Incident Rate Excellence during 2011.
The project has received support from the Iowa Economic Development Authority, Charles City Development Corporation, Floyd County and North Iowa Community College, Mitas said.
From Tire Business (A Crain publication)
Press release from Mitas