Tokyo (August 4, 2009) - Bridgestone Corporation (“Bridgestone”) today held the opening ceremony for its new Kitakyushu Plant. Production of large and ultralarge off-the-road radial tires for construction and mining vehicles (“large and ultralarge ORR tires”) began at the plant in June, ahead of its previously announced schedule. The Kitakyushu plant is the first new tire plant constructed by Bridgestone in Japan in 33 years.
More than 30 local government representatives and regional dignitaries attended the ceremony, including Fukuoka Prefectural Governor Wataru Aso and the Mayor of Kitakyushu City, Kenji Kitahashi. Representatives from Bridgestone included Chairman of the Board, CEO and President Shoshi Arakawa; Senior Vice President Osamu Inoue; and the Kitakyushu Plant Director, Yuichi Seki. “It is our great pleasure to open our first domestic plant in 33 years here in Fukuoka Prefecture, where Bridgestone began. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all those who helped make this day a reality, especially the people of Kitakushu City.”, stated Arakawa at the beginning of the ceremony.
Large and ultralarge ORR tires, which are one of Bridgestone's strategic products, utilize the Bridgestone Group's advanced technologies and have earned excellent reputations in their markets. Previously, Bridgestone manufactured large and ultralarge ORR tires at its Shimonoseki Plant, but it had been unable to meet the significant increase in demand that occurred in recent years. In response to this situation, and the expectation that in the medium-to-long term demand is expected to continue to grow, Bridgestone determined that the most appropriate way to meet the needs of its global customers was to construct the Kitakyushu Plant.
In addition to meeting the needs of Bridgestone's customers, the Kitakyushu Plant is intended to be a model for future Bridgestone factories by incorporating advanced environmental technologies, and by implementing designs and construction methods that minimize the plant's impact on the environment. The Plant will help conserve energy through the use of solar panels, and will reduce paper consumption by utilizing electronic paper, another product developed by Bridgestone. The factory also saves energy and resources by using natural light entering from the Plant's roof, thereby limiting the need to use lighting in the factory.
Going forward, Bridgestone remains committed to enhancing its lineup of strategic products, including large and ultralarge ORR tires, and will continue to identify ways to more effectively supply products that address the needs of its customers. In addition, Bridgestone will continue its commitment to the environment as well as its support of the local communities in which it has operations.
Location: 2-2-2, Hibiki-cho, Wakamatsu-ku, Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture
Products produced: large and ultralarge off-the-road radial tires for construction and mining vehicles
Plant director: Yuichi Seki
Date production began: June, 2009
Number of employees: 329 (planned by 2012)
Production capacity (volume of new rubber): 80 tons/day (scheduled by second half of 2012)
The opening ceremony for the new Kitakyushu Plant