Bridgestone to invest in two new Thai tire factories
Japan’s Bridgestone Corporation said last week it will invest over $150 million to build two new manufacturing facilities in Thailand to produce radial tires for aircraft, an investment that supports the broadening of Thailand’s aviation and aerospace sectors, one of the 10 key industries that are the focus of Thailand 4.0, the national strategy to create a more innovative and advanced economy and society.
The announcement follows the recent news that United States-based Goodyear will also expand production of aircraft tires in Thailand. Goodyear said in early September that it will invest $162 million to boost capacity for radial aircraft tires at its car and truck tire plant in Pathum Thani, just north of Bangkok. The investment will be disbursed between now and 2018.
Aerospace and aviation are integral to Thailand 4.0 as they represent a high-technology industry with research and development that produces benefits for many other industries and sectors of society. In addition, it complements travel and tourism, another Thai strength as the Kingdom is an aviation and air transport hub in the region. In support of that, Thai Airways is planning to build an advanced aircraft maintenance and repair center on Thailand’s Eastern Seaboard, the country’s industrial heartland.
Bridgestone said that its two new plants will be built and producing aircraft tires by 2019. Nonetheless, the company has not yet released details on where the plants will be located, or their sizes or capacities. The Japanese firm alreadyhas four tire plants in Thailand: a passenger/light truck tire plant in Nong Khae; a multi-product plant in Rangsit; a radial truck tire plant in Chonburi; and an earthmover tire plant in Amata City industrial estate in Chonburi.
Together, the four plants employ more than 5,000 Thai workers and produce more than 56,000 tires each day.Bridgestone manufactures radial aircraft tires at its main plant in Japan, while also maintaining plants to retread tires in China, Belgium and the United States.
The company recently announced plans to increase capacity for radial aircraft tires at its 85-year-old plant in Kurume, Japan, to meet what it believes is projected “strong medium-to-long-term global demand” for radial aircraft tires.
Bridgestone was ranked as the world’s largest manufacturer of all types of tires in 2015, slightly ahead of Michelin. It is one of the top-five global producers of radial aircraft tires along with Goodyear, Michelin, Dunlop, Yokohama Rubber and Sentury Group from China.
Photo courtesy of www.bridgestone.com