Goodyear has invested $77 million (c. €73.8m) into the opening of a new tyre manufacturing facility in Dudelange, Luxembourg.
The new facility is now operational and is a first of its kind for Goodyear, which it says will provide opportunities to learn, test and mature technology as production capability continues to increase.
It features a new process focused on small-batch production of large rim diameter ultra-high performance (UHP) and ultra-ultra-high performance (UUHP) tyres, which Goodyear says will enable it to produce tyres four times faster than a standard production cycle.
Developed by Goodyear engineers, the process anticipates and responds to increasing complexity in the tyre industry. The intensifying focus by original equipment manufacturers on large rim diameter tyres, as well as a vast variety of vehicle models and options available to consumers, creates a growing need to efficiently develop and produce premium UUHP tyres in small-batch quantities on-demand for replacement and original equipment customers.
“We needed to design this integrated product and process to deliver for the changing needs of the market. By doing so, we are enabling a new business model to serve our customers and consumers in this important and increasingly complex part of the market,” said Chris Helsel, senior vice president, global operations and chief technology officer. “The new process will give us a competitive advantage, targeting world-class quality and responsiveness.”
The new technology requires new skills, and so far, Goodyear says it has hired 90 associates to support the facility and in the coming months will recruit 20 additional electromechanical technicians. The tyre maker adds that it has also invested in training programs to enhance skills to enable current associates to perform new and innovative manufacturing processes.