DES MOINES, Iowa (June 8, 2012)—Bridgestone Americas Inc. is nearly doubling the size of an investment to expand capacity at its Des Moines agricultural tire plant to $151 million through 2013.
The investment will be used to enhance the core manufacturing areas of tire building, curing and support equipment, Bridgestone said, and will allow the company to meet the growing demand for Firestone-brand radial farm tires both domestically and abroad.
The $74 million investment complements $77 million the company committed in April 2010 and will allow Bridgestone to increase its market position and develop advanced solutions, said Ken Allen, president, agricultural tire, U.S. & Canada Commercial Tire Sales.
The company said the project will double capacity at the plant with capacity for larger diameter radials especially affected.
Plant capacity is listed at 12,100 units a day of farm, forestry and construction equipment tires. Employment stands at 1,673, up from a few years ago but the company did not say how many more jobs might be created by the expansion.
Hourly workers are represented by United Steelworkers Union Local 310L.
Bridgestone said the investment is in reaction to the farming industry's demanding larger and wider tires that also minimize ground compaction for larger and more efficient farm equipment.
This year marks the 80th anniversary of Harvey Firestone's introduction of pneumatic tires for agricultural use.