MOUNT VERNON, Ill.-Continental Tire North America Inc. is moving quickly on its plan to restructure and modernize its Mount Vernon passenger and truck tire plant.
The company broke ground on an addition to house a $17.8 million tandem mixer at the factory Feb. 17 and said construction will begin in the next few months.
The addition, located adjacent to an existing mixing building, and mixer are part of a $60 million to $70 million capital investment program aimed at updating the non-union Mount Vernon factory.
Conti´s mixer will increase efficiency and productivity by conserving manpower, saving time and doubling production through high-quality proprietary technology, a spokeswoman said. It´s the only mixer of its kind in the U.S., she said.
The firm will have the capability of mixing about 1 million pounds of rubber a day, far surpassing existing capabilities.
"While many U.S. manufacturers are focusing their capital investment dollars overseas, (Conti) is making a substantial investment in this innovative technology to assure the long-term success of the Mount Vernon facility," President and CEO Alan Hippe said.
In mid-January, the company unveiled a plan to upgrade the Mount Union tire plant to improve its efficiency and increase productivity. Included in the project-in addition to the new facility and mixer-are a combination of capital improvements and the restructuring of tire operations at the facility.
The company decided to cut wages for hourly employees at the non-union site by 10 percent, and require them to now share in health care costs. Conti noted salaried employees have had their pay reduced in recent years and already make health insurance contributions.
Hippe said that both moves are being made to bring overall manufacturing costs at the factory in line with global competition.