Wilson, North Carolina – Bridgestone Americas Inc. said it will make an additional $180 million (€170 million) investment to its facility in Wilson, bringing its total investment to $344 million during the next 10 years.
The company said in a 9 Jan news release that this investment is in addition to the $164 million previously announced one year ago. The investment includes a new rubber mixer, expected to add 16 jobs, and funding for innovative manufacturing processes and technology.
Ground-breaking for the 50,000-sq.-ft. facility to house the next mixer is projected for the spring, with production slated for fall of 2018. The plant currently spans 2.5 million square feet and was last expanded in 1999, adding 85,000 square feet to the facility.
Bridgestone said the multi-phase expansion will allow the plant to meet global demand for higher rim diameter tires, improve quality and productivity, and reduce costs. The project is adding manufacturing space to accommodate new tire assembly machines, materials handling systems, curing presses and associated equipment to increase plant capacity by 3,000 tires per day.
It will bring daily production to 35,000 tires by 2018. The facility currently produces 32,000 passenger tires a day and was the first Bridgestone facility to produce run-flat tires. The company said it began producing its DriveGuard run-flat tires in 2016.
"This total investment reflects Bridgestone's global commitment to meeting marketplace demands, increasing capacity and utilizing innovative manufacturing processes," Plant Manager Michael Darr said in a statement. "These are investments not only in the customers of Bridgestone products but also in our local community and in our team members."
Bridgestone Tires Americas is the US subsidiary of Japan-based Bridgestone Corp.