Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. has officially announced its upcoming Global Technical Center (GTC), a $35.5 million leading worldwide center of excellence for tire science and technology, advanced technology and innovation technology, that will ultimately employ 40 scientists and engineers, many of whom will be in highly specialized technical roles.
The GTC will be located in Cooper’s headquarters community of Findlay, Ohio, at the site of its existing North America Technical Center (NATC). The GTC is expected to be fully operational by the end of this year.
Cooper Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President Roy Armes and Vice President, Global Research and Development Chuck Yurkovich explained that the GTC will have a dedicated R&D team focused on exploring areas such as nanotechnology and new polymers and compounds.
The GTC, which is under the direct leadership of Cooper’s Global Technical Center Director Curt Selhorst, will support Cooper’s NATC as well as the regional technical centers of its subsidiaries including Cooper Tire Asia's Technical Center (ATC) in Kunshan, China and Cooper Tire Europe's Technical Center (ETC) in Melksham, England.
“Technology and innovation are critical in the tire industry,” Armes said.
“Technology drives the development of new products that deliver improved performance, environmental advantages and safety benefits for today’s drivers. At Cooper, we’ve seen how new products that resonate with our dealers and consumers can give our companies a competitive advantage, and with the GTC, we are building on our already strong capabilities to pursue the newest technologies to drive our business—and perhaps the tire industry as a whole -- into the future.”
Yurkovich added that advanced technologies developed at the GTC will be provided to the companies’ regional technology centers around the world for final product development and industrialization.
“Our focus is on developing ‘ready to use’ advanced technologies that help us expedite the product development cycle and allow Cooper to create innovations in Findlay and deploy them to meet regional customer and market needs around the world,” he said.
“We are able to develop and launch world-class products more rapidly each year, while continuing to place an emphasis on enhanced tire performance, lightweight tire materials, rolling resistance and fuel economy, wet and dry grip, and reduced tire and vehicle noise. The GTC will help Cooper and its subsidiaries around the world stay ahead of the curve in a very competitive tire industry.”
The State of Ohio has committed to supporting the project with a $2.8 million Third Frontier Industrial Research and Development Center Program (IRDCP) grant to be paid over the next several years as Cooper fulfills its GTC equipment, development and hiring goals.
David Mustine, Senior Managing Director of JobsOhio, who spoke at the event, said that Cooper’s decision to locate the GTC in Ohio demonstrates the power of public/private partnership.
“Cooper could have located the Global Technical Center anywhere in the world, and indeed heavily considered its options as the company already has technology capabilities across three continents,” Mustine said.
“We were committed to understanding and supporting the needs of this great Ohio company -- now in its 100th year -- as it continues to grow, create jobs and remain competitive in a truly global business."
Bob Ulrich was named Modern Tire Dealer editor in August 2000. He joined the magazine in 1985 as assistant editor, and has been responsible for gathering statistical information for MTD's "Facts Issue" since 1993.