TONAWANDA, N.Y.—Sumitomo Rubber Industries Inc. plans to significantly upgrade the company's Tonawanda tire manufacturing facility, where it also will expand capacity two-fold and add new machinery.
It will invest about $87 million in the project, according to Tim Noe, senior vice president of manufacturing. The target date for completing the entire project is slated for the latter part of 2019.
Over the next three years, capacity at the factory will be expanded to 10,000 passenger and light truck radial tires per day from the present 5,000. The firm's aim is to expand overall sales and improve its logistics in North America by increasing the proportion of locally produced tires, it said.
Sumitomo's plant in Tonawanda, located near Buffalo, spans about 2 million square feet, Noe said, and while all the necessary equipment needed for the expansion has been identified, “the review of the footprint continues to be under evaluation. We expect that no major building projects will be required at this time.” However, some minor extensions may be required, he indicated.
More than 1,200 are employed at the plant, many represented by United Steelworkers Local 135L, but that number could change once the Japan-based tire maker upgrades the complex and begins increasing capacity.