QINGDAO, China — Qingdao Doublestar Tire Co. Ltd. plans to bring a highly automated "smart" car tire plant — dubbed the "Industry 4.0" high-performance green tire plant — on stream shortly, the company disclosed Dec. 21.
The Qingdao-based tire maker declined to provide further details — including a specific start-up date — but indicated that it had completed trial production and optimization phases on the $131 million project.
Construction started in 2016 on the 6 million unit/year-rated facility, located at Doublestar's manufacturing complex site in Qingdao.
The is expected to generate $22 million in earnings annually on $315 million in sales when in full operation, according to Doublestar, which last year acquired a controlling stake in South Korea's Kumho Tire Co. Inc.
Doublestar has a second smart factory in the works as well. Last March it disclosed plans to relocate its Doublestar Dongfeng Tire subsidiary in Shiyan, China, and upgrade it to a "smart" factory in a $220 million, 18-month project.
The new plant, with planned annual capacity of 1.5 million truck/bus and 5 million passenger tires, is being built on a 3.23 million-sq.-ft. site in the Zhangwan District Industrial Park in Shiyan, Hubei Province.