Trelleborg AB chose Spartanburg, S.C., as the site of its first North American facility devoted to making premium radial tires for agricultural machinery. The company officially dedicated the 430,000-square-foot facility on Jan. 27, 2016.
“This facility creates a growth platform for us in the U.S. to improve the services to our customers. It opens the door to the largest agriculture market in the world, North America, from coast to coast,” Ulf Berghult, chief financial officer of Trelleborg AB, told original equipment manafucturers, tire dealers, and media attending the event.
Radialization is growing in the North American market, according to Paolo Pompei, president of agricultural and forestry tires at Trelleborg Wheel Systems SpA. “There’s still plenty of room for development. We cannot be absent from a key market in the world.”
Trelleborg says the plant is the most automated in the entire ag tire industry. Although it has been producing tires since November 2015, the odor of rubber in the air was barely noticeable. Robotic machinery just feet away hummed in the background as executives addressed their guests. Trelleborg says the factory's automation will enable it to guarantee the highest standard of production to customers.
“North America is the largest agricultural market in the world and it is highly attractive for us. Demand for extra-large agricultural tires, where Trelleborg is a market leader, is growing in the region. Although we already sell our products in the U.S. and Canada, local production offers considerably more favorable conditions, thus enhancing our competitiveness,” says Pompei.
“We are now located in a modern facility in a prime location with state-of-the-art equipment designed according to the latest Trelleborg technology standards. This means we will be able to capitalize on existing partnership agreements with major original equipment manufacturers and distributors, while facilitating the transfer of technology from one part of the world to another.”
The plant represents a $50 million investment and is expected to create around 150 jobs by 2018. All manufacturing equipment will gradually be installed by 2018.
Trelleborg customers can organize factory visits to see the Spartanburg facility firsthand. Trelleborg also plans more outreach to customers beyond the new factory as part of a sales and marketing program in North America. The goal is not so much to make customers aware of the brand but to make them aware of the value behind the brand, Pompei told MTD.
“This is an industry where customers want to see and experience the value of Trelleborg. So there will be a lot of in terms of meeting customers, doing field demonstrations, talking to them, and giving them the ability to measure the difference and the value of Trelleborg versus our competitors. That is our marketing plan. Of course, we will use the traditional marketing tools, we will use social media, we will use common press. We will use all these kind of tools, but meeting customers is going to be one of the key areas of success of our project in the market.”