GREENVILLE, S.C. (Oct. 23, 2008) — Michelin North America Inc. plans to expand steel cord production at its Tusca¬loosa, Ala., plant and make it the main supplier of the material to its tire factories in North America.
The reported $13 million project includes modifying existing equipment and adding new machinery at the site, a Michelin spokeswoman said. No square-footage expansion is planned.
The company expects to have added about 12 jobs in conjunction with the expansion by the time it is completed in 2010, the spokeswoman said. Fewer than 2 percent of the plant's employees work in the steel cord production area.
The steel cord calendering operation in Tuscaloosa eventually will serve nine passenger and light truck tire plants in North America. The cord made there can be used in any of Michelin's radial tires.
The project—approved Sept. 18 by the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority along with tax abatements—isn't expected to affect tire production at the plant, the spokeswoman said.
Hourly workers at the Tuscaloosa plant are represented by the United Steelworkers union, but they are not involved in the approval of funds for capital projects, she said. However, the company keeps the union “well-informed on the business results and decisions,” she said.
In other news from Tuscaloosa, the plant ended a two-week shutdown because of markets and supply factors there the week of Oct. 5. The company's tire factory in Opelika closed during the same period.
The two facilities combined employ about 1,900.