It's been a bad several weeks for off-the-road tire retread plants.
Bridgestone/Firestone Off-Road (BFOR) Tire Co. has closed its Conyers, Ga., OTR retread plant-less than two years after saying it intended to expand the operation-and Goodyear has shuttered three of its facilities in a move to consolidate operations while maintaining capacity.
BFOR declined to comment on the closing beyond saying it was focusing its efforts on new tires.
The closing leaves BFOR without OTR retread capacity in the U.S. Although Bridgestone/Firestone Canada operates two OTR retread plants, they are independent of BFOR.
At last report, in early 2000, the Conyers plant processed about 40,000 pounds of tread rubber a week, but that capacity was scheduled to double by 2001, according to information the firm released at that time.
The plant originally was established by Edwards Warren Tire Co. of Conyers, which sold it in 1996 to Fletcher's Cobre Tire Inc. In turn, Fletcher's sold the OTR and commercial tire business to Nashville, Tenn.-based Bridgstone/Firestone in 1998.
A spokeswoman for Goodyear told Tire Business the company closed its OTR retreading plant in Salem, Va., about a month ago, and that two other manufacturing facilities-in Delano, Pa., and Orlando, Fla.-will be shuttered likely by the end of March. However, she said the latter two plants have sales and service operations that will remain open.
She could not provide any figures on capacity for the plants in Salem, Delano and Orlando. Goodyear also plans to consolidate its Kansas City OTR retread plant with a nearby retreading facility.
The bigger picture behind the contraction, she explained, ``is we felt that our capacity was too spread out. We'll now concentrate our OTR retreading operations in the East and West.''
In the country's eastern region Goodyear will continue to operate an OTR retreading facility in Salisbury, N.C., and in the West a plant in Winona, Minn. She said the company also does some OTR retreading ``piecemeal'' in other locations.
``We're not taking capacity out,'' the spokeswoman said. ``We're just redistributing it.''