BADALGAMA, Sri Lanka—Global Rubber Industries Pvt. Ltd. has broken ground on the second phase of its $100 million specialty tire factory in Badalgama, a project that will quadruple capacity to 100 metric tons per day.
Due to be completed by December, the Phase II project will focus on agriculture tires, with a large share of output dedicated for "advanced" radials, the company said, while nearly doubling the 3-year-old plant's physical size to more than 240,000 square feet.
"GRI's expansion and increase in our production capacity, in such a short time frame, is (in response to) demand for our GRI branded products in recent years," GRI Managing Director Prabhash Subasinghe said at a groundbreaking ceremony on Jan. 15.
"We are well-positioned to carve a niche for Sri Lankan specialty tires in the world market," Subasinghe added.
The expansion will allow GRI to make agricultural tires with rim diameters up to 60 inches, up from 50 inches currently, according to Ananda Caldera, executive director.
The added investment will include 22 tire building machines and 36 curing presses, Caldera said.
The Phase II expansion will double employment to around 500, including jobs in production, engineering, quality assurance, advanced technology and R&D, the company said. The plant's capacity in units will grow to 750,000 tires per year.
The new facility will incorporate GRI's solar panel initiative and generate 2.5 megawatts of power. The factory will continue to use biomass boilers instead of furnace oil boilers while manufacturing will generate no airborne emissions or liquid disposal.
GRI said it will conduct a carbon footprint analysis and work to offset any environmental impact.
In 2020, GRI also commenced construction of a rubber mixing facility in the Mirigama export processing zone in Sri Lanka.
GRI inaugurated production at the Badalgama factory in January 2018. The plant has capacity for agricultural and pneumatic construction tires and forklift tires used in off-road applications.
Founded in 2002, GRI is a prominent producer of solid tires for various applications such as forklifts, excavators, trailers, airport baggage handlers, skid steers, etc. Its U.S. sales office is headquartered in Indianapolis.