TOKYO (April 5, 2010)—Bridgestone Corp. has begun work on a $310 million expansion of capacity for large OTR radial tires at its Kitakyushu, Japan, plant three months ahead of schedule in order to keep pace with rising demand for the products.
The project will add 50 metric tons of daily capacity at the one-year-old plant by the time the expansion comes on stream in the second half of 2012, Tokyo-based Bridgestone said.
Production of large and ultra-large off-the-road radial tires for construction and mining vehicles, which Bridgestone considers to be “strategic products,” began at Kitakyushu in June 2009. Bridgestone invested $300 million over two years in the plant, located in Fukuoku Province on Japan's Kyushu Island. That investment included raising capacity for steel tire cord at a plant in nearby Saga, Japan.
The factory was designed to produce at a rate of 30 tons per day, a capacity it's expected to achieve this summer. The expansion will more than double this to 80 tons, Bridgestone said. The plant, located on a 2.22 million-sq.-ft. plot of land, will employ 329 at full capacity in 2012.