GALTEN, Denmark (May 8, 2014) — STARCO Europe A/S is expanding its solid rubber tire plant in Sri Lanka, to help meet rising demand for its Tusker and Unicorn forklift tire lines.
STARCO did not disclose the scale of expansion or investment, but said the project is designed to increase production flexibility and capacity at the plant opened just two years ago with an original capacity of 80,000 tires annually.
The investment will be for a rubber compound mixing line, the addition of which will enable STARCO Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd. to enhance the repeatability of its rubber compounds. That should in turn yield reduced costs and improved delivery service, the company said.
Designing and manufacturing tires for various forklift applications and loadings requires “precisely engineered” rubber compound formulas, STARCO said.
At the same time, the factory is being reconfigured along LEAN continuous improvement guidelines to achieve a more efficient and logical workflow with the goal of reducing manual handling of the product.
STARCO opened the plant in 2012 after an investment of about $4.4 million. The factory employs 120.
Galten-based STARCO—Scandinavian Tyre & Wheel Co.—is predominantly a producer of industrial steel wheels, with manufacturing in Croatia, Switzerland, China and the United Kingdom. Sales last year exceeded $195 million.
The firm, originally called P. Ejlersgaard A/S, dates to 1961. It started as a producer of casters and small steel rims. From early on, the company contracted out the production of small industrial tires to Sweden’s Värnamo’s Gummifabrik and Viskafors—companies later acquired by Trelleborg A.B.