“The building is erected, and the installation of the machinery is in full flight,” said plant director Pasi Antinmaa.
Despite early delays, the construction has “caught up with the schedule” and Nokian expects to reach full capacity by 2021.
The project, which includes the construction of a new tire curing line, will boost the plant’s capacity for heavy tires to about 32,000 per year from 20,000 presently.
The next milestone, according Antinmaa, will be “the [installation of the] highly automated visual inspection and tire buffer storage in August, taking advantage of the scheduled annual maintenance break.”
The construction of the heavy tires R&D centre, dedicated to doubling the number of new products and speeding up the time-to-market, is also on track, according to Nokian.
“At the moment, the site is busy with installing hollow-core slabs, but plans for the installation of machinery are already well underway,” said Matti Kaunisto, development manager at Nokian Tyres.
Nokian expects the 3,500-square-metre R&D centre to be ready by the end of the year.
“The old facilities were hopelessly too small”, R&D director Kalle Kaivonen admits. “Now, the tire testing and production planning are better integrated.”
Nokian noted the centre will allow it keep pace with future mobility solutions such as driverless vehicles.
“Our biggest R&D stakes are in the agricultural segment, where it’s all about making the most out of existing farmland in a sustainable way,” Kaivonen added.
Nokian Heavy Tyres produces tires for a range of heavy work applications, including forestry, agriculture, mining and transportation.
The business represents about 11% of Nokian’s global sales, or roughly €175 million in revenue in fiscal 2017.