Bridgestone to install BIRD technology in new Mexican plant

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Bridgestone Americas Holding Inc. (BSAH), the U.S.-based subsidiary of Bridgestone Corp., has announced that the first installation of the company's new BIRD production system outside Japan would be at a new plant to be constructed in the state of Nuevo Leon, Mexico.

The plant will have a production capacity of about 8,000 tires per day and expects to employ about 200 people, the company says. Investment in the plant is expected to total approximately $220 million.

The facility will be located in the city of Monterrey and will produce high performance, ultra-high performance and large rim diameter passenger and light truck tires, primarily for the North American tire market.

Site work on the plant, which will be a subsidiary of BSAH, is expected to begin in the near future, with operations targeted to begin in July 2007.

The name "BIRD" is an acronym for Bridgestone Innovative and Rational Development. The first full production installation of the BIRD system occurred earlier this year at Bridgestone Corp.’s Hikone plant in Japan.

The BIRD production system completely automates all stages of tire manufacturing, from the initial processing of materials to final inspection of the finished product,m the company says. In addition to its ability to fully automate the tire production process, BIRD is also capable of producing several different types and sizes of tires simultaneously, allowing for great flexibility and the ability to be responsive to customer needs.

Once completed, the new facility will be the 49th tire plant in the global Bridgestone Group of companies, and the third such plant located in Mexico. The two existing plants are located in Mexico City and Cuernavaca.

The new plant is representative of the Bridgestone Group’s commitment to building a global sourcing network that can respond quickly and flexibly to the continuing growth in world demand for automotive tires, the company reports.

The Bridgestone Group of companies reports it is "expanding production capacity around the world to more effectively service this growth in demand and it is committed to building plants as necessary to support its global sourcing strategy and fulfill the needs of its customers."

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