WOODRUFF, S.C. — Michelin North America Inc. has put into operation a 3 million-sq.-ft. distribution center in Woodruff that the tire maker claims is capable of processing over 200,000 tires a day.
The $270 million, five-building complex, under construction since November 2016, is capable of warehousing up to 4 million tires, Michelin said.
Thanks to a proprietary automated tire handling system — which includes 16 robots and 29 cranes — the facility is designed to handle up to 120 trucks per day, operating 24/7. The system uses barcodes, scanners, RFID chips and computers, making the facility a paper-free site.
The center is near Woodruff, a community of near 4,500 located about 17 miles southwest of Spartanburg, near the intersection of South Carolina Highways 101 and 417, a few miles south of I-85, with convenient access to I-385 and I-26, Michelin said.
The facility, which Michelin said it its largest warehouse globally, is part of Michelin's national distribution network serving customers throughout the U.S. Southeast. As such, it is not an integrated part of the National Tire Wholesale distribution joint venture Michelin formed last year with Sumitomo Corp. of America/TBC Corp.
The location puts it close to critical transportation hubs, such as the South Carolina Inland Port (rail) and the Port of Charleston, as well as to its seven tire plants in upstate South Carolina.
The warehouse complex sits on a 247-acre parcel of land, of which 20 percent is protected wetlands; Michelin said it is working to protect the flora and fauna that populate these wetlands.
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for the buildings for meeting the North American standard for high quality environmental buildings created by the U.S. Green Building Council is pending, Michelin said.
Forklifts used in the center are powered by hydrogen, a "reliable and efficient alternative" to regular fuel that is emission-free, Michelin said.