QUINCY, Ill. (May 18) — Titan International Inc.'s board of directors has approved funding to add production capacity for 57- and 63-inch radial low-profile off-the-road (OTR) mining tires using Titan's proprietary technology for 15-degree wheels.
The undisclosed funding will allow Titan to produce as many as an estimated 6,000 giant radial OTR tires a year at the Bryan, Ohio, plant it acquired from Continental Tire North America Inc. last year. That level of production would generate up to $240 million in sales, according to Titan Chairman and CEO Maurice Taylor Jr.
The expansion will create 100 to 150 new jobs in Bryan and an undertermined number at Titan's wheel plants in Saltville, W.Va., and Quincy.
Titan did not disclose the value of the project, but Taylor said it will be the company's single largest capital investment ever and one the company should be able to recoup within four years.
Titan expects to produce its first 63-inch radial tire in the first quarter of 2008 and be in start-up production by the end of the second quarter.
"We are very excited about this newest venture since there are only two manufacturers in the world that produce 63-inch radial tiresùMichelin and Bridgestone," Taylor said.
"Titan has assembled a great team, and we believe that we have a better way to produce these giant tires," he added. "We believe radial tires perform better on 15-degree wheels, which is what cars and trucks now utilize. Titan has developed these wheels and we plan to produce our new tires on a 72.5-inch 15-degree wheel at the same time as we produce 63-inch radial tires."
The added sales volume would benefit the bottom line markedly since the new tiresùto be marketed using Titan's LSW, or "low sidewall," identificationùare expected to be higher margin products, Titan said.
The approved funding also will allow Titan to build the world's largest 24-foot bull wheel, a specialized wheel used to test tires, at the Quincy headquarters. The bull wheel will have the capacity to load tires up to 300,000 pounds and run them at speeds up to 42 miles per hour.