NASHVILLE, Tenn.-Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. will spend an undisclosed amount to upgrade its Akron technical center. The center develops technology and new tires for original equipment and replacement customers throughout the Western Hemisphere, providing both to 12 of the company's tire plants in North and South America. It also makes Firestone-brand racing tires.
BFS said the expenditure will focus on three main areas: expanding race tire production; advanced prototype tire production; and vehicle analysis/tire performance test systems.
Following a successful return to Indycar racing last year, demand for Firestone racing tires has increased. BFS said expanding race tire production facilities and adding equipment will enable it to meet the additional demand.
A new component to the Akron center will be an Advanced Tire Pilot Plant. The prototype plant will manufacture advanced products including electric vehicle tires and recycled tire technology.
Currently, most of this work is done at BFS' tire plant in Wilson, N.C. The Advanced Tire Pilot Plant will supplement the Wilson facility's technological efforts.
Although the Akron plant will be upgraded, a company spokesman said BFS won't physically expand the unit but will add about 50 workers to the tech center's roster of 565.