Bridgestone on track with rubber-product expansions
20 Sep 2023
Hose, air springs and tracks projects part of restructuring programme within 'diversified products' unit
Tokyo – Bridgestone Corp. is progressing expansions of its hose, air springs and tracks operations under a restructuring of its diversified products business, initiated under its 2021-2023 business plan.
In an update issued in August, Bridgestone said it is increasing production capacity for air springs for electric vehicles in the US, hydraulic hose in Asia, and rubber tracks in Europe.
The projects, it said, included an investment in new production capacity for hydraulic hose using in construction machinery, at its manufacturing site in Thailand. (ERJ report).
As previously disclosed, the expansion project at the Bridgestone NCR Co. Ltd subsidiary is intended to raise 'global capacity' by 30% from first quarter 2026.
First production from the Yen4.9 billion investment project is slated to come on stream by mid-2025.
In the air springs segment, Bridgestone said it focusd on supporting the ongoing “shift to EVs”, through expanding its air spring operations in the US.
The US air spring business, it noted, "leverages innovative technologies to develop and manufacture air springs which support improved electricity consumption and battery protection for EVs.”
The Japanese group unveiled a $51-million (€42 million) investment as its site in Williamsburg, Kentucky in 2021 in respnse to increasing demand from EV manufacturers (ERJ report).
Firestone Airide air suspensions are designed to help improve the handling and comfort of heavier electric vehicles and can help improve range by lowering the vehicle positioning.
Bridgestone's latest strategy update did not provide further details about the expansion of rubber track capacity in Europe.
The restructuring programme introduced in the mid-term business plan aims to streamline the portfolio of Bridgestone's diversified products business to sharply focus on areas where it can leverage its "core competencies".
As a result, the group exited the conveyor belt, antivibration rubber and its US building materials businesses in 2021.