COVINGTON, Ga. (Feb. 2)—Michelin Retread Technologies Inc. has brought on stream a second precure line at its Covington tread rubber plant, effectively doubling annual capacity to 2 million treads, and plans to add a third line next year, most likely at a new facility.
The expansion, for which no investment was disclosed, is being undertaken to support growth by MRTI's network of franchised retreaders, which could grow to 60 plants or more this year, according to Luc Minguet, chief operating officer of Michelin Americas Truck Tires.
The expansion project at Covington includes new technology for extruding the tread rubber with two different compounds—a wear- and traction-enhanced synthetic rubber tread layer and a natural rubber undertread optimized for cool running, Michelin said, claiming to be the only supplier in the industry offering co-extruded treads.
This is the first major expansion at the 93,000-sq.-ft. Covington factory, which opened in 1999 to support the then-new MRTI program.
The MRTI network grew by 10 operations last year to 50, operated by 29 retreaders in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Of the 50 plants, Michelin operates 14 itself via its Tire Centers L.L.C. subsidiary.