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Pirelli dedicates MIRS plant in Rome (Ga.)

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At the start of the year, Pirelli Tire North America was no longer a domestic tire manufacturer. That has changed.

Pirelli officially held a grand opening for its new tire manufacturing plant and headquarters complex in Rome, Ga., last Friday.

The company unofficially has been a domestic tire manufacturer again since June, when production at its 400,000-square-foot MIRS (Modular Integrated Robotized System) plant began. Pirelli closed its Hanford, Calif., plant last year.

But the facility is a long way from its 100% capacity goals: Only one module is up and running, and an estimated six to eight modules eventually will be manufacturing tires (its prototype facility in Milan, Italy, has six modules).

Each module will manufacture an estimated 125,000 tires a year.

The MIRS facility eventually will employ some 300 people, according to Gaetano "Guy" Mannino, Pirelli Tire North America's CEO and president.

In contrast to traditional, hand-fabricated tire production, each MIRS module employs a dedicated team of robots building tires in a continuous operation, says Pirelli. Distinct fabrication processes are reduced from 14 steps to three; a new tire can be turned out in three minutes.

In addition, MIRS requires only about one-fifth the space of conventional production, and uses one-third the energy, says Pirelli.

Georgia has a strong relationship with the automotive industry. Pirelli is one of seven automotive companies headquartered in Georgia.

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