NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 9, 2006) — Bridgestone/Firestone celebrated the manufacture of its 50 millionth tire at its Aiken County, S.C., plant with the announcement of a $17 million capital investment in the facility.
“We are committed to improving the soil conditions for businesses in South Carolina so companies like Bridgestone/Firestone can thrive and grow,” said South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford at the event. “This is all a part of continuing to build on our efforts to make the state more attractive to businesses as well as focusing on raising income levels for all South Carolinians.”
BFS will add a fourth rubber mixer to the plant—located in Graniteville, S.C.—and modify five existing tire-building machines so they can produce large-rim diameter tires on the factory's high-tech production line. The modifications to the tire assembly systems will increase the plant's ability to meet the market demand for world-class tires with larger rim sizes, BFS said. The tire maker's total investment in the Aiken County plant now stands at roughly $477 million.
“I am honored to be here to celebrate this milestone with the great team at our Aiken County facility,” said Mark Emkes, chairman and CEO of Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc. “This multi-million dollar investment is an exciting step for our company. It is also evidence of our strong commitment to the Aiken County community and our promise to continue to improve quality, processes and systems in order to meet the needs of our consumers.”
The Aiken County facility, which makes both radial passenger and light truck tires, began operations in 1999 and currently employs 923. In November, the plant celebrated 2 million hours worked without a “lost time” injury and has been recognized as an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) STAR (Safety Through Accountability and Recognition) facility for its outstanding safety and health management.