The Bridgestone tyre manufacturing plant in Bari, Italy, celebrated 50 years of operations with an open day for employees and more than 700 attendees on May 1.
During a ceremony, also attended by local management and Mr. Ryutaro Ishii, Senior Vice President Manufacturing Bridgestone Europe, the company presented awards to long-serving employees and at the same time celebrated 2.5 million work hours with “zero accidents” at the plant.
During his speech, Mr. Ishii emphasized the challenging current economic conditions in Europe. “In a context such as the present, it is essential that each one of us focuses totally on our daily work” said Mr. Ishii. “It is vital for us to be able to produce the best tyres in Europe at competitive cost.”
Commenting on the plant’s outstanding safety record, Mr. Raúl Bluhn, Managing Director Bridgestone Bari, said: “In addition to marking the historical milestone of 50 years of operations, it is appropriate to celebrate 2.5 million work hours without injury. Fourteen months of work with zero accidents is an historical record for the plant – a record that could not be achieved without the relentless focus of all employees on safety standards.”
The Bari plant came under Bridgestone control in 1988, following the company’s worldwide acquisition of Firestone. The first radial tyre under the Bridgestone brand was produced in 1991. After obtaining ISO 9002 certification in 1993, the plant moved to a 7-day per week production cycle in 1994. The plant received ISO / TS 16949 certification in 2003, built a new warehouse for raw materials in 2010 and obtained BMW approval for the supply of Run-Flat Technology tyres in 2011. Bridgestone has continually updated equipment and technology in the plant, and expanded production capacity, most recently in 2009-10 with the installation of new equipment to allow the production of Ultra High Performance & Run-Flat Technology tyres.
Today, the Bridgestone Bari plant employs 1,000 people and produces 20,000 passenger car tyres a day for the original equipment and replacement markets in Europe. The unit is an integral part of Bridgestone Europe’s manufacturing capability which consists of 8 tyre production facilities located in France, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Spain.