AMATA CITY, Thailand—Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. has inaugurated production of radial agricultural tires at its newest factory, the $126 million dedicated plant in Amata City in Thailand's Rayong Province.
Speaking at the plant's opening ceremony April 22, Ikuji Ikeda, SRI president said the plant is an integral part of Sumitomo's “Vision 2020” growth strategy and will contribute to reducing world hunger by helping to develop Thailand's agricultural capabilities.
The 1.4 million-sq.-ft. plant is rated at 800 metric tons, or 50,000 tires, a month, a level the company hopes to achieve by the end of 2017. The company did not say what the plant's employment is now or is expected to be at full capacity.
Besides tires for agricultural equipment, the plant will produce rubber crawlers for combines—used in harvesting rice throughout Southeast Asia—and solid tires for forklifts, SRI said. The company said it has developed proprietary technology, called the “spiral method,” for making steel-cord-reinforced rubber crawlers with “superior durability” and low vibration.
Sumitomo broke ground on the plant, its first production site for agricultural tires outside of Japan, in August 2012. It is located on land adjacent to SRI's 7-year-old passenger tire plant in Amatai City Industrial Estate in Rayong.