Dayton, Tennessee – Nokian Tyres plc has commissioned production at its Dayton passenger/light truck tire factory two years after breaking ground on the $360 million (€330 million) project.
Nokian Tyres CEO Hille Korhonen and other Nokian executives attended the opening ceremony for the factory, the company's third overall and first outside of Europe, on 2 Oct.
Calling the opening a "key milestone" in Nokian's growth journey, Korhonen noted the Dayton factory will provide the impetus for her company's ambitious growth strategy — to double sales volume in North America by 2023.
For the time being, the factory is producing the company's enTyre touring and WRG4 all-weather tires on a trial basis, with commercial-scale production set for early 2020.
These tires are being evaluated in Nokian facilities in Europe and elsewhere for their quality and consistency before the plant is certified for commercial-scale production.
The factory, for now, has about 100 employees — many of whom were trained at the company's plant in Vsevolozhsk, Russia — but employment is expected to ramp up to about 400 at full capacity, officials said.
In recognition of the partnership Nokian is forging with the region and local communities, the company disclosed it plans to establish a "Road to Sustainable Success" initiative that will support efforts to foster education in the region and reward students who achieve academic success.
Described as “one of the most advanced tire production facilities in the industry”, the 830,000-sq.-ft. plant features manufacturing equipment from companies such as Comerio Ercole, VMI Group, HF Mixing Group, Herbert Maschinenbau, Steelastic Co. LLC and in-plant logistics from Cimcorp Oy.
While the factory uses the latest and greatest hardware and software, Nokian Chairman Petteri Wallden noted in his comments that it's "peopleware" that differentiates this plant from others.
Nokian officials also stressed the new plant will operate under strict sustainability standards to minimise waste and emissions.
Solar panels capable of generating 3 megawatts of electricity will be installed in the parking lot, and the company will recycle excess materials that result from production.