BFS to introduce self-sealing tire NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. has developed a self-sealing tire—the Firestone FT70c with UNI-T and "Sealix"—that is said to "heal" itself after sustaining a tread puncture up to three-sixteenths of an inch in diameter.
Sealix, "a patented polymer material," is spiral-layered onto the interior of the tire by a robotic applicator, creating a uniform coating and preserving a smooth ride, BFS said.
The Sealix material creates a seal around an object that punctures the tire and seals the wound when the object is removed, BFS said.
The tire, which BFS plans to introduce in select test markets in March, comes with a 70,000-mile limited treadwear warranty and a two-year Sealix Pledge warranty providing free replacement if the tire fails to repair a tread-area puncture three-sixteenths of an inch or smaller.
The Firestone FT70c with UNI-T and Sealix carries an S speed rating and will be available initially in 19 60- to 75-series sizes to fit 14-, 15- and 16-inch rims.
CGT to import Euzkadi brand
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Continental General Tire Inc. will begin marketing the Euzkadi brand in the U.S. starting in mid-2000, though which lines and sizes have yet to be determined.
Euzkadi tires are made in Mexico by the former Hulera Euzkadi, which Continental A.G. acquired in 1988 and has since renamed Continental Tire de Mexico S.A. de C.V. The company makes passenger, light truck, medium truck and farm tires at plants in San Luis Potosi and Guadalajara, Mexico.
With annual sales over $300 million, Continental Tire de Mexico claims market leadership in Mexico.
Goodyear closing two foreign plants
AKRON—Goodyear has closed its 69year-old tire plant outside Buenos Aires, Argentina, and is closing a 35-year-old tire plant in Cisterna di Latina, Italy. Both plants primarily produced radial passenger tires, with capacities of 9,000 and 17,000 units per day, respectively.
The closings are considered part of Goodyear's global rationalization plan announced in conjunction with its purchase of Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd.'s European and North American operations.
In Argentina, Pneumaticos Goodyear S.A. ended tire production in October, just a month after cutting the workforce in half to 350, blaming the effects of the continuing economic slump throughout South America.
The Latina plant—Goodyear's only tire plant in Italy and its smallest in Europe prior to the Sumitomo acquisitions—has been the subject of shutdown rumors for more than three years, and Goodyear had been reducing the size of the plant for more than a year.
In the meantime, Goodyear has built up passenger tire capacity at joint-venture plants in Slovenia and Poland, where labor rates are a fraction of those in western Europe.
BFS to expand new S.C. tire plant
GRANITEVILLE, S.C.—As expected, Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. has announced plans to invest an additional $24.5 million to expand rubber mixing capacity at its recently opened light truck and passenger tire plant in Aiken County, S.C.
The expansion will involve the addition of more than 250,000 square feet to the 1.7 million-sq.-ft. plant, which was built at a cost of about $435 million and celebrated its grand opening Nov. 11. A new mixer also will be installed, BFS said.
At the time of the grand opening, plant officials said the facility's mixing capacity could supply only about half the plant's needs and that an expansion was being planned.
The plant originally had been designed as primarily a passenger tire plant, but by the time production began, the product mix had been shifted in favor of light truck tires, which use more rubber in their manufacture.
Construction of the expansion was to begin the week of Dec. 27th, BFS said, and should be completed by mid-2001.
Workers approve contract with CGT
BRYAN, Ohio—Members of USWA Local 890 at Continental General Tire Inc.'s off-the-road and industrial tire plant in Bryan ratified a new seven-year contract Dec. 6, making it the third and final U.S. bargaining unit to approve pacts with the Charlotte, N.C.-based tire maker since September.
Conti General now can expect labor stability into 2006.
The Bryan contract has the same basic economic elements as those approved by union workers at Conti General's passenger/light truck tire plants in Charlotte and Mayfield, Ky.
The new agreement includes increases in wages, pensions and cost-of-living allowances, as well as the implementation of a four-crew, 12-hour, seven-day work schedule.
The long-term contract allows Conti General to continue to invest in radial OTR tire equipment at the facility, said Michael Polovick, human resource director.
"We are industry leaders in the off-the-road bias tire market," Mr. Polovick said. "Now.|.|.|we are positioning ourselves to be industry leaders in the off-the-road radial tire market as well," he said.
Cheng Shin opens U.S. tech center
NORCROSS, Ga.—Cheng Shin Rubber USA Inc., distributor of Maxxis-brand tires in North America, has opened the Maxxis Tech Center USA in Norcross.
The 10,400-sq.-ft. structure formerly was a tech center for Cabot Corp., a maker of carbon black and reinforcing agents for tires.
Cheng Shin closed the deal for the building Nov. 1 and moved in Dec. 1, said Bin Chung, technical director at the new operation. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
"In order to meet market needs here (in North America)," Mr. Chung said, "we have to continue looking for new materials—in terms of rubber and new technologies."
The new tech center is a few miles away from Cheng Shin's North American headquarters in Suwanee, Ga., northeast of Atlanta.
Mr. Chung said the tech center will help the company "penetrate the market more, and (we) also want to be involved in OE (original equipment) business." Cheng Shin received its first North American OE auto fitment in late 1999, when it landed a contract to provide spare tires for the Ford Taurus.
Cheng Shin Rubber USA is a subsidiary of Taiwan's Cheng Shin Rubber Co. Ltd., maker of the Maxxis brand and the world's 14th-largest tire maker.