Marangoni Tread North America Inc. has broken ground in Madison on its first U.S. tread rubber plant, which will make spliceless Ringtread precure tire tread used in commercial truck tire retreading.
The new plant is expected to be in production by the second quarter of 2004, said Bill Sweatman, president and CEO of Marangoni Tread North America. The 50,000-sq.-ft. facility, which is part of a $10 million investment in expanding the Ringtread business, also will serve as Marangoni Tread's North America headquarters.
``We have had such tremendous success with the Ringtread, and demand is growing rapidly,'' Mr. Sweatman said. ``We've actually tripled our business in the last two years, so this additional capacity will be much needed as we continue to grow and expand our business.''
Marangoni said its exclusive Ringtread system is used by more than 300 independent commercial truck tire retreaders worldwide, including 12 in the U.S. and two in Canada.
The company chose Madison, near Nashville, Tenn., for its first U.S. factory ``because of its proximity to our primary market, since two-thirds of truck tire retreading is done east of the Mississippi River, and Tennessee, as a distribution point, has many advantages for us,'' Mr. Sweatman said.
The company said the addition of manufacturing capacity in the U.S. is part of a longer-term global development plan that includes expansion of products, programs and manufacturing. The operation, in a new industrial park in Madison, is expected to employ 25 at start-up.
Marangoni has been at its current headquarters in Nashville-the former Pirelli Armstrong Tire Co. plant-since 2002, when it moved there from Walnut Creek, Calif.
The firm said as long ago as 1998 it was evaluating building a plant to make its proprietary Ringtread circular tread rubber in the U.S. The company said at the time it was looking at sites in Alabama and Georgia.
The company said its U.S. dealer network is to grow by two in the next few months, but it did not identify the retreaders. The company has offered Ringtread license arrangements to independent commercial retreaders in the U.S. since 1998.