South Carolina plant extends company leadership in large and ultra-large earthmoving tires for mining and aggregates applications
Bridgestone Americas recently announced the opening of its first giant off road radial tire plant. Based in Aiken County, South Carolina, the 1.5 million-square-foot manufacturing facility produces various off road radial tire products used to equip heavy haul trucks in mining and aggregates applications. The new off road radial tire plant strengthens Bridgestone’s ability to meet the needs of its global customer base in this key market segment.
Kazuhisa Nishigai, COO and Board Member of Bridgestone Corporation, and Gary Garfield, President and CEO of Bridgestone Americas, were joined at a grand opening ceremony by South Carolina State Senator Nikki Setzler; South Carolina State Representative Bill Clyburn; South Carolina State Representative Bill Hixon; South Carolina State Representative Bill Taylor; South Carolina State Representative Don Wells; Aiken County Council Chairman Ronnie Young; and Aiken, Edgefield and Saluda Counties Economic Development Partnership President & CEO Will Williams.
“Bridgestone has made significant investments in technology and training to ensure we are producing the world’s leading off road radial tires in North America,” said Nishigai. “We remain highly committed to our mining customers around the globe and will continue to make the right investments for this important segment of our business.”
In 2011, Bridgestone announced a planned $970 million investment to build the company’s first U.S.-based off road radial tire plant, as well as expand production capacity at Bridgestone’s steel cord manufacturing facilities in Clarksville, Tennessee, and Saga, Japan. The opening of Bridgestone’s new Aiken County Off Road Radial Tire Plant completes the largest portion of this planned investment. The Clarksville and Saga locations are suppliers of the Aiken County Off Road Radial Tire Plant, as steel cord is a key component used to build large and ultra-large off road radial tires.
“Engineering large and ultra-large mining tires is a highly technical process, and Bridgestone has a long tradition of being a leader in bringing these tires to market. The opening of a new off road radial tire plant in South Carolina is a strategic business decision that will give Bridgestone the capacity to build these tires domestically and improve our supply systems globally,” continued Garfield. “Long term, the mining segment will grow, and we are now better-positioned to respond more quickly, efficiently and reliably to the needs of our customers.”
Bridgestone’s Off Road Radial Tire Plant is the second tire manufacturing plant Bridgestone has built in Aiken County, South Carolina. The company has operated a passenger tire facility in Graniteville since 1998. Approximately 350 people now work at the new Aiken County Off Road Radial Tire Plant, and Bridgestone expects to create an additional 200 positions when the location reaches full production in the next two to three years. At present, there are approximately 2,000 people working at Bridgestone’s two tire plants in Aiken County.
“South Carolina and Bridgestone have a long and successful history of working together, and we are excited to celebrate this next chapter in our growing partnership,” said Nikki Haley, Governor of South Carolina. “Bridgestone is a great South Carolina company, employing thousands of our citizens and playing an active and positive role in their local community. We look forward to seeing the new ORR plant reach full production and bring even more jobs to Aiken County.”
The new Aiken County Off Road Radial Tire Plant was constructed with many sustainable features and materials in alignment with Bridgestone’s global commitment to the environment. The plant is built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver construction specifications. In addition, sustainable and advanced technologies from Firestone Building Products, a subsidiary of Bridgestone Americas, were used throughout the facility. The new plant relies on UltraPly™ TPO roofing, ISO 95+™ insulation, UnaFoam™ Insulated Metal Wall Panels, pavers and geomembrane for retention ponds and water harvesting areas.
Overview of the Bridgestone Aiken County Off Road Radial Tire Manufacturing Facility:
Trenton, S.C. 29847
Start of Construction September 2011
Start of Operations August 2014
Plant Size 1.5 million square feet
Site Area 550 acres
Employees 550 employees and contract workers at full operation
Bridgestone Commercial Solutions (BCS), a division of Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, introduced the new Bridgestone M799 mixed service radial at the Great American Truck Show in Dallas, TX. The M799 is Bridgestone’s answer to fleets looking for a tough, long-wearing tire for on highway service and occasional use on gravel roads and debris-filled job sites.
The computer designed all-steel casing of the M799 provides outstanding durability and retreadability. Casing-saving stone rejector platforms help prevent rocks from being trapped in the tread and drilling their way into the belts. In addition, thick ribs on both sidewalls protect the casings from cuts and abrasions.
“The design of the M799 makes it a great tire for on highway use, as well as offering the necessary grip for occasional off highway use. The M799 provides superior traction, wear and durability,” said Bert Jones, Manager, Product Marketing, TBR, Retread and OTR, Bridgestone Commercial Solutions.
The M799 has extra-deep cap and base tread compound to promote long, original tread life. The longwearing cap compound is engineered for the everyday abuse of on and off highway use, while the base compound helps shield the casing from damaging heat for enhanced retreadability. A tough, top steel belt fights flats by adding protection against road hazards.
The M799 comes in sizes 11R22.5, 11R24.5 and 12R22.5 are available.
JLG Industries, Inc., an Oshkosh Corporation company [NYSE:OSK] and a leading manufacturer of aerial work platforms and telescopic material handlers, recently announced an agreement with Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, Off Road Tire division for the exclusive supply of the Firestone DuraForce MH tires on JLG®, Lull® and SkyTrak® branded telehandlers.
“JLG and Bridgestone Americas Off Road collaborated to create the Firestone DuraForce MH that will set a new industry standard by increasing tire life up to 300%,” said Brian Boeckman, JLG Industries global director of product management for telehandlers. “The result is a tire that dramatically improves the cost of ownership for all three telehandler brands.”
The low profile tire design minimizes the opportunity for sidewall damage while the unique self-cleaning tread coupled with low ground bearing pressure optimizes performance in rough terrain conditions. Fewer tire and rim combinations mean fewer parts to stock and reduced inventory-carrying costs for JLG distribution.