AKRON (Oct. 28, 2009)—Goodyear plans to add capacity for 63-inch radial OTR tires at its Topeka, Kan., plant by late 2010 to meet growing demand for the product, used in earthmoving and mining equipment.
Goodyear is spending an undisclosed amount to add the capacity at Topeka, where production is expected to start during the fourth quarter of 2010. The tires to be produced will cover a range of sizes and tread depths, including 59/80R63 and 53/80R63 and E3 and E4 tread depths, Goodyear said.
“This is a long-term strategic decision that reflects Goodyear's commitment to deliver products for OTR customers' changing demands,” said John Cavanaugh, vice president of Goodyear's off-highway tire business. He called the 63-inch radial a “natural extension” of the company's full OTR lineup, which has included 57-inch radial tires for nearly 20 years.
Demand for 63-inch sizes has exceeded supply globally for some time, Goodyear said, and this demand remains strong, even during the economic slowdown, because of the economic advantages these tires deliver to customers in longer run hours and less downtime.
Cavanaugh said designing a 63-inch tire was a “collaborative effort involving multi-discipline teams” that leveraged Goodyear's design technologies and experience in materials development, process improvements and manufacturing enhancements.
Goodyear will join fellow tire makers Bridgestone Corp., Michelin and Titan International Corp. as major companies producing 63-inch OTR radials. In addition, Eurotire Inc. plans to start making them next year at its plant in Romania, and a handful of Chinese companies list them among their product offerings.