NOKIA, Finland—Nokian Tyres is building a research and development center dedicated to heavy commercial tires at its headquarters facility in Nokia.
The new R&D Center, spanning roughly 38,000 square feet, is being built as part of and to support an ongoing $82 million investment in heavy commercial tire production at the Nokia factory. The project will boost the plant's capacity for heavy tires to about 32,000 metric tons per year from 20,000, and will create up to 50 new jobs, Nokian said in December 2017.
Nokian Heavy Tyres R&D Manager Kalle Kaivonen called this the "most remarkable investment" in the product development of heavy tires in the company's 120-year history.
"Everything is well on schedule," Nokian Heavy Tyres Plant Director Pasi Antinmaa said. "The first stage of production plant expansion is complete, and the second part will be ready in April 2019. In Summer 2019 we will start the installation of new machinery."
Nokian Heavy Tyres Development Manager Matti Kaunisto said the new facility will allow Nokian to triple the number of tires it can test and test more variables to serve OEM clients with the highest standards.
Making the entire lifecycle of the tire more ecologically centered will be a high priority of the new R&D center, Nokian said.
Nokian Heavy Tyres produces tires for a range of heavy work applications, including forestry, agriculture, mining and transportation. The business represents about 11 percent of Nokian's global sales, or roughly $200 million in revenue in fiscal 2017.
Nokian noted the center will allow it keep pace with future mobility solutions such as driverless vehicles.
"Unmanned tractors will be working among us in the future, and those machines need premium tires as well as comprehensive data of those tires to make steering safe and accurate," Kaunisto said.