UNICOI, Tenn.-Specialty Tires of America Inc. expects to open its new bias-ply tire manufacturing facility, under construction in Unicoi, by the end of the year. The $30 million project should be fully operational early in 1997, according to Bill Simpson, vice president of engineering and facilities planning with Specialty's parent firm, Polymer Enterprises Inc.
Annual capacity at the plant is expected to reach 400,000 units, the Indiana, Pa.-based tire company said.
Specialty Tires manufactures bias-ply tires for niche markets, such as aviation, light truck, agricultural, material handling, mining and racing. It also supplies tires for antique and collector vehicles.
The company earlier said the Unicoi facility will focus on agricultural, off-road, light truck and industrial tires. Its only other plant, in Indiana, Pa., will handle the other products.
The Indiana plant, built in 1915, employs 300 and has an estimated capacity of 3,300 units per day.
Mr. Simpson said some equipment already is being installed at the Tennessee plant, but the firm will not move equipment from the Pennsylvania plant. Instead, it has purchased equipment to install at the Unicoi plant.
Mr. Simpson said 35 employees will be transferred permanently from Specialty Tires' Indiana, Pa., plant. In addition, an undisclosed number of employees at the Indiana plant will go to Tennessee to help bring the new 325,000-sq.-ft. facility on stream, Mr. Simpson said.
The hiring process will not begin until the end of the year, according to the vice president.
``The employees from our Indiana plant will be able to get things up and running,'' he said.