Marangoni Tread North America Inc. has begun production of Ringtread spliceless precured tread rubber at its new plant in Madison and already is planning to expand production.
Marangoni invested $10 million to set up the 50,000-sq.-ft. plant and make other changes necessary to support its growing business, according to Bill Sweatman, president and CEO. He added that demand for Ringtread has tripled in the past two years and orders this year are 50- percent ahead of 2003.
Prior to setting up the plant in Madison, Marangoni Tread North America imported Ringtread tread rubber from plants in Italy and Brazil. The firm is a subsidiary of Italy's Marangoni S.p.A., which pioneered the spliceless Ringtread process 27 years ago in Europe.
``Marangoni's decision to invest in a U.S. manufacturing plant sends a powerful message to our dealers and fleet customers,'' said Bob Miner, vice president of sales.
There are 15 authorized Ringtread dealers in North America, producing more than 1,500 retreads a day, according to Marangoni.
``Outsourcing manufacturing outside the U.S. to reduce costs doesn't have to be the best solution for American companies,'' Mr. Sweatman said. ``We've chosen to redesign the manufacturing process not only to contain cost and improve quality but also to produce a superior product and be more responsive to our customers.''
Commercial scale production began in late April, and Mr. Sweatman said the company is ``even now making plans for expansion.'' He did not elaborate.
The Madison plant makes Ringtread rubber using Marangoni's proprietary ``Alpharing'' manufacturing process, which the company claims improves uniformity and is highly automated, totally integrated and environmentally friendly.