ABILENE, Texas — Bridgestone Americas Inc. is planning a $60 million, 50,000-sq.-ft. expansion of its Bridgestone Bandag L.L.C. tread rubber manufacturing plant in Abilene, aimed at meeting the rapidly growing retread business.
The expansion, set to be complete by January 2025, includes an immediate increase in operations — the plant will run on six and seven-day production schedules — as well as new mixing operations at the facility.
The expansion and extra days of operation will increase the plant's output by 16%, "furthering Bridgestone's commitment to sustainable solutions," the company said.
The expansion will boost capacity needed for future production. Bridgestone plans to add 25 full-time jobs to the facility, which currently employs about 200 people.
The 200,000 sq.-ft. Abilene tread rubber plant celebrated 50 years of operations in 2021 and "continues to be a steady fixture in production of high-quality pre-cured truck tread, rubber cement and solvent packaging."
Bandag customers use the product in their facilities to produce retreaded tires.
"Today we celebrate the growth and commitment of this plant and this community, with new investment and a physical expansion driven by growing demand for our products and, just as fundamentally, by this team's commitment to delivering innovation and superior quality for our customers here and around the world," Barry Owens, senior vice president, Bridgestone Americas Manufacturing Group, said.
"Our company and our Abilene team have a vital role to play in the transformation of mobility brought forth by a desire of building greener retreads, while helping maximize fuel efficiency for fleets."
Retread tires offer fleets both economic and sustainability benefits by extending the life of tires, Bridgestone said.
The Abilene facility is one of four tread rubber plants Bridgestone Bandag operates in North America. The others are in Chino, Calif., Griffin, Ga., and Oxford. N.C.
Since 1957, Bandag has been responsible for keeping about 300 million tires out of the waste system — reducing the material emissions, water and energy needed to produce a new tire — and the retreading process also has saved 4 billion gallons of oil since it began 50 years ago, Bridgestone said.
The Abilene plant expansion supports Bridgestone's E8 Commitment — eight Bridgestone-like values starting with the letter "E" to realize a sustainable society — particularly the company's "efficiency," "ecology" and "energy" commitments.
Nashville, Tenn.-based Bridgestone Americas earlier this month announced a a $550 million expansion of its flagship truck and bus radial tire plant in Warren County, Tenn.