BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Bridgestone Americas Inc. is investing $12 million to expand off-the-road tire production at its plant in Bloomington, adding multiple sizes and patterns for 29-, 33- and 35-inch OTR tires.
Currently, the tires are manufactured in Japan.
The investment is the largest at the plant, which produces OTR tires for mining and construction applications, since Bridgestone's $48 million expansion of radial and giant loader tires in 2011 and 2014.
Bridgestone said it would increase the workforce there by 30 to accommodate the expansion.
Bridget Neal, president, off-the-road tires, Bridgestone Americas, said the tire maker is committed to fulfilling the needs of the OTR segment.
"The addition of the three tire sizes to the Bloomington production line, combined with our Aiken County, S.C., off-road tire plant, allows us to support North American customers with regional supply of our key products."
Bridgestone said the Bloomington plant has won numerous awards and recognitions, including Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Voluntary Protection Program Star Safety Certification, U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association's Safety and Health Improvement Award, and Illinois American Legion Employer of the Year for Hiring of Veterans.
"This investment is about increasing our flexibility to produce high-quality radial or bias tires — whatever our customers demand," said Monty Greutman, plant manager at Bloomington.
"It will allow us to deliver on our global commitment to develop innovative new products that will meet our customers' needs, but it wouldn't be possible without the outstanding teammates we have here today— some of whom have worked here for decades."
Last month, Bridgestone Corp. announced that it was investing $28 million in its Puente San Miguel, Spain, factory to support the launch of a line of 24-inch radial truck tires suited for on- and off-road applications.
That move, Bridgestone said, will give "a significant boost" to the site in north Spain, where it will be able to make agricultural and truck tires at the same time. The investment will include purchase of new machinery and infrastructure in order to upgrade overall plant efficiency.