SLATINA, Romania (Oct. 27) — Pirelli Tyre S.p.A. has begun production at its high-performance car tire plant in Slatina, which should turn out about 2 million units next year and 4.5 million in 2008.
The factory, built at a cost of $130 million, uses newly developed tire building machines made by Pirelli´s in-house machinery unit, CMP, and not the company's automated Modular Integrated Robotic System building technology.
The company has land and infrastructure capacity to build a second plant, bringing theoretical capacity to 9 million units per year at some later stage. Employment at start-up is 200 and should rise to 450 by year-end, to 800 in 2007 and to 1,000 during 2008, Pirelli said. About 90 percent of output will be exported.
The tires are all high- and ultra-high-performance, up to speed rating Y (300 kph), but the factory cannot be used for OE orders until the company has one year´s worth of quality and manufacturing data, said Maurizio Boiocchi, head of innovation at the company.
The new non-robotic machines, dubbed TRP-20 Plus, can make all tires, including run-flats, in rim sizes from 13- to 24-inch on a cycle time of around 2 minutes, yielding a capacity of 420 tires per day per machine for the most complex constructions, Pirelli said.
Change-over time for these units is short, and the system is designed to run at up to two size changes per day, if necessary.
Curing presses are supplied by the Indian firm Larsen & Toubro, while the factory currently has all raw materials shipped in; Pirelli is still building the mixing room, where four intermeshing mixing lines will be installed before the summer of 2007, according to Pirelli Tyre CEO Francesco Gori.
The plant is situated adjacent to a steel cord plant Pirelli built in Slatina in a joint venture with Continental A.G.