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More Bridgestone tires: Aiken plant expands

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Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC (BATO) announced that its Aiken County, S.C., plant will begin producing an additional 4,750 passenger and light truck tires per day beginning in the second quarter of 2013. The $135 million investment will create 122 full-time and contractor positions and expand the facility by 266,000 square feet in the main plant and mixing areas.

“With demand steadily increasing over the last couple of years, now is the right time to increase capacity to meet the needs of our customers,” said Larry Magee, president, Consumer Tire U.S. & Canada, BATO. “Aiken County is the right place to expand our manufacturing footprint, and we thank Gov. Haley, Secretary Hitt and the Aiken County officials who worked nonstop to create a business environment that makes this expansion and the jobs it will create a reality.”

Site preparation and construction will begin in the fourth quarter of 2011, and the manufacturing equipment will be installed in the third quarter of 2012. Construction is expected to be complete by the first quarter of 2013 with production commencing early in the second quarter of the same year.

The Aiken County facility, which began operations in 1998, earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) 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. (For more about Bridgestone’s LEED involvement, see Taking the green initiative.)

The Aiken County facility has also been recognized as an Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star site. VPP status is awarded to companies that have excellent safety and health management systems and injury rates that are below the industry’s national average. The Aiken County plant is one of only three tire plants in the country to receive the honor; the other two are BATO’s Warren County, Tenn., plant and the Bloomington, Ill., plant.

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