Tokyo (October 22, 2010) – Bridgestone Corporation today announced plans to expand production capacity of its Kitakyushu Plant to address the continuing increases in global demand for large and ultra-large off-the-road radial tires used on construction and mining vehicles (“large and ultra-large ORR tires”). Also announced today, Bridgestone will expand production of steel cord used in large and ultra-large ORR tires manufactured at its Saga Plant. The total investment for both expansions will be approximately ¥24 billion, and production is scheduled to begin from January 2013. Production capacity at the Kitakyushu Plant is scheduled to increase to 130 tons per day when the expansion is completed in the second half of 2013.
Large and ultra-large Bridgestone brand ORR tires are designed and built using the latest state-of-the art technologies, and because of their high level of performance have an excellent reputation throughout the industry. Due to increasing global demand for mineral resources, requirements for large and ultra-large ORR tires are expected to continue in the medium-to-long term. Because of the growth we saw in the market, Bridgestone initiated a 2nd phase expansion of production capacity at the Kitakyushu Plant in April 2010, following on from its start-up of operations at the plant in June of 2009. Bridgestone is now implementing a 3rd phase expansion of production in order to meet the growing needs of its customers.
In addition to meeting the global needs of Bridgestone’s customers, the Kitakyushu Plant will be the environmental model for future Bridgestone factories by incorporating designs and construction methods that minimize the plant's impact on the environment. The Plant will help conserve energy by using solar panels, making use of natural light in the factory thereby limiting the need for electric lighting and reducing paper consumption by using an electronic paper product developed by Bridgestone.
Bridgestone is committed to enhancing its lineup of strategic products, including large and ultra-large ORR tires, and will continue efforts to ensure a supply of high-quality products that satisfy the needs of our customers.
Key facts about the Kitakyushu Plant
1. Location: 2-2-2, Hibiki-cho, Wakamatsu-ku, Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture
2. Products produced: large and ultra-large off-the-road radial tires for construction and mining vehicles
3. Plant director: Akio Oobayashi
4. Start of production: June 2009
5. Number of employees: 253 (as of June 2010)
6. Production capacity (volume of new rubber): Approximately 80 tons/day*
(*scheduled capacity by second half of 2012)
Key facts about the Saga Plant
1. Location: 2100, Tsutsumi, Kamimine-cho, Miyaki-gun, Saga Prefecture
2. Products produced: Steel cord
3. Plant director: Yoshiaki Yamada
4. Start of production: March 1982
5. Number of employees: 470 (as of June 2010)
6. Production capacity: Approximately 240 tons/day (as of June 2010)