Apr 1, 2013 Graniteville, SC
Bridgestone Americas Unveils First Production Tire from Aiken County PSR/LTR Plant Expansion
Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations (Bridgestone Americas) Aiken County, S.C., today celebrated a significant milestone, as it begins production of an additional 12,750 passenger car radial tires (PSR) and light truck radial tires (LTR) per day. This $346 million investment by Bridgestone Americas creates almost 300 full-time jobs in Aiken County.
In July of 2011, the company announced the first phase of the PSR/LTR plant’s expansion, a $135 million investment designed to increase daily capacity by 4,750 tires. A supplemental expansion was announced in September 2011 to increase the plant’s tire production by an additional 8,000 tires per day. Together, the two projects have increased the plant’s square footage by 740,000 square feet – to 2.42 million square feet – and the result is a rated production capacity of 37,750 tires per day or approximately 13.4 million tires annually.
This capacity expansion at the existing Aiken County PSR/LTR plant is intended to meet growing demand in key market segments, including ultra-high performance and light truck/SUV tires. The addition of new, more advanced tire building machines provides the plant with an additional level of versatility and gives the plant even greater flexibility and speed in responding to shifts in market demand. Over the long term this versatility and flexibility will help the company address customer needs by improving the fill rates of these tires.
The Aiken County facility, which began operations in 1998, earned LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2009. LEED is awarded internationally to buildings for excellent energy and water efficiency, indoor environmental quality and resource stewardship. It is rarely awarded to existing manufacturing sites. The Aiken County plant is only one of two tire plants in the country to receive this honor; the other one is Bridgestone America’s Warren County, Tenn., plant.
The Aiken County facility has also been recognized as a Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star site. VPP Star is OSHA’s highest honor, and is awarded to plants that have excellent safety and health management systems and injury rates that are below the industry’s national average. Aiken County is one of three tire plants in the country to receive OSHA’s highest honor; the other two are BATO’s Warren County, Tenn., plant and the Bloomington, Ill., plant. In addition, the plant and its teammates are active in the community, supporting local organizations and activities through volunteerism, the Bridgestone Americas Trust Fund and plant contributions.