RAYONG, Thailand—Bridgestone Corp. executives laid the cornerstone April 29 for the company's newest facility—a $615 million plant in Rayong for radial earthmoving tires that should start production by 2015.
The factory, to be built in Rayong's Amata City Industrial Estate, will have daily capacity of 85 metric tons, but that won't be reached until the first half of 2019, Bridgestone said. The plant will focus on tires up to 51-inch rim diameter.
The company defines tires up to 35-inch rim diameter as small to medium off-the-road tires, designed for mining, cranes, quarry, port and industrial and construction applications, while those in the 35- to 51-inch diameter category are for mining, quarry and construction vehicles.
The 9.36 million-sq.-.ft. plant will enable Bridgestone to respond to the increasing global demand for radial OTR tires, the Tokyo-based tire maker said in March 2012 when it first announced its intention to build the plant. The investment includes undisclosed funding for the production of steel cord used in radial OTR tires at an existing steel cord plant in Rayong.
Representatives from the industrial estate where the site is located attended the cornerstone-laying ceremony, along with construction company execitives.
Bridgestone representatives included Masaaki Tsuya, CEO and representative board member; and Shigeru Kaneko, managing director of Bridgestone Specialty Tire Manufacturing (Thailand) Co. Ltd., the company that will operate the new plant.
The ceremony included prayers for the success of the plant's building, Bridgestone said, after which the attendees put the cornerstone in place, giving their blessings for the company's ongoing prosperity.
The new plant will be Bridgestone's fourth for radial OTR tires when it comes on stream. The company did not comment on the plant's expected employment.
This will be Bridgestone's fourth tire plant in Thailand. Its others are in Chonburi (truck/bus tires), Nong Khae (passenger/light truck tires) and Ransit (passenger, truck, farm, OTR, industrial), along with a steel cord factory.