By the end of 2023, Brennan said, the plant will have an increased passenger and light truck tire capacity of 12,000 units per day, up from 6,500. It will also increase TBR units to 2,300 a day from 1,600.
SRNA sources 15-20 percent of its units from Buffalo, and imports the rest from Brazil, China, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand and Turkey.
SRNA's supply of passenger and light tires from Thailand, where SRI operates the world's largest tire factory, is subject to antidumping duties of 14 percent.
Sumitomo has operated the Tonawanda factory since 2015 when Goodyear and SRI dissolved their 16-year-old business alliance. The plant was opened originally in 1923 by Dunlop Tyre Ltd. Prior to the formation of the Goodyear-SRI alliance in 1999, the plant was operated by Dunlop Tire Corp.
The project involves new construction and reconfiguration through the existing structure, which does pose some challenges for the old buildings. Brennan said they are "moving a lot of dirt to fit the new machines." While the project is still a few years away from completion, he said, the build out and addition of a number of new VMI machines will be completed by the end of the year.
"Remember, that factory has been producing for a long time. It's still the same building and some of that equipment has been there for a long time," Brennan said. "So, when you put in a VMI machine that can do 1,000 to 2,000 tires a day, compared to 300 a day, most every component you make has to be custom."
During the expansion, the plant is still producing Falken tires—along with one Dunlop OE fitment—and it is producing new Falken products, including three new TBR products.
Brennan said eight sizes of the new WildPeak H/T 02 heavy-duty light truck line, which includes several sizes aimed at last-mile delivery vans, will be produced at the plant in Buffalo by the end of the year with plans to ultimately build 30 sizes at the site.