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Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations Plans Major Expansion At Its Wilson, North Carolina, Manufacturing Campus

Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations is expanding the company's passenger tire manufacturing facility in Wilson, North Carolina. The expansion is part of a five-year, $164 million investment to meet market demands and invest in newer, more efficient technology.

According to the firm, “the investment will improve the Wilson plant's global competitive position by adding capacity and more technologically advanced equipment. Phases one and two, which will total nearly $100 million, will focus on the addition of 167,000 square feet of manufacturing space to accommodate new tire assembly machines, materials handling systems, curing presses and associated equipment to increase plant capacity by 3,000 tires per day, bringing daily production to 35,000 by 2018. The new equipment also will allow the plant to respond to the increase in global demand for higher rim size tires, as well as improve quality and productivity while reducing costs.

"Our production and manufacturing capabilities must evolve with our products to meet the changing needs of today's consumers," said Michael Darr, Plant Manager, Wilson plant. "Our investment in updated equipment and improved manufacturing processes and facilities reflects our focus on maintaining our global competitiveness, as well as our commitment to the Wilson community."

The county's single largest industrial employer, the plant last underwent an expansion in 1999, when it added 85,000 square feet to the facility. The Wilson plant has been a leader in tire manufacturing innovation during its 42- year history, and currently manufactures 32,000 passenger tires a day, company officials said. It was the first Bridgestone tire manufacturing facility to produce run-flat tires, and in 2016, will begin producing the company's DriveGuard tires, the first full line of premium, all season replacement tires engineered to go up to 50 miles to safety after a puncture.

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