AKRON (May 13, 2002)—Goodyear plans to double capacity for “UniCircle” spliceless tread rubber at its Social Circle, Ga., tread rubber plant to keep up with increased demand in North America for its distinctive truck tire retreading system.
Goodyear will acquire six additional compression presses—at a cost of about $500,000 per press—before the fourth quarter to produce treads for its UniCircle retread system.
“The investment will allow us to keep pace with the tremendous growth of our UniCircle process,” said Armond Boyes, general manager for Goodyear's Next-Tred operations, in a press release. The expansion will allow Goodyear to add at least one new design—the G139 spread axle—along with expanding output of the current size range of UniCircle products.
Goodyear also makes UniCircle treads by injection molding at its Akron technical center.
Goodyear and Ultima Next-Tred products include matching treads for many of the firm's most popular medium truck tires. They are manufactured at 171 Goodyear-certified retread plants—including 61 operated by its own Wingfoot Commercial Tire Systems L.L.C. venture—and distributed by more than 700 of the company's Truckwise and independent dealers throughout North America.
Fifty-two of these plants have UniCircle processing capacity.
The company, which debuted the UniCircle system in 1991, has added a new UniCircle 2002 applicator, which it claims offers a more uniform product, ease of operation and build-time comparable with typical precure builders. The fully computerized automatic builder is self-centering and self-aligning, and applies specially designed tread “with perfect tension, to ensure a precise fit that hugs the sidewalls for better adhesion to the tire casing,” Goodyear said. The new applicator also features an improved stitching mechanism that first attaches the center of the tread, then works toward the shoulder of the tire.
The expansion in Social Circle will add about 40 jobs. A cooperative effort between Goodyear and the state of Georgia will provide training support for the company's UniCircle Retread System to new and current employees.