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New Sumitomo Tire Plant in Thailand to Produce Falken Tires

(Akron/Tire Review) More than 40 attendees – including tire dealers and journalists – were invited by Falken Tire Corp. to tour its parent company’s new Sumitomo Rubber (Thailand) Co. (SRT) tire plant in Rayong, Thailand, southeast of Bangkok.

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Established in May 2005 at the Amata City Industrial Estate, the factory officially began production in December 2006.

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The plant features the “Sun Production System” (also known as the Taiyo Production System), billed by Sumitomo officials as a breakthrough in automated tire manufacturing. Three components of the Sun System – jointless process, computer control and process coupling system – result in a rounder, more uniform tire, according to Yutaka Kuroda, president of SRT.

Initially, the Thai plant will produce only 14- through 18-inch Falken Ziex ZE-912 tires, but other brands and sizes may be manufactured in the future, said Kuroda. Ninety-five percent of the tires built at the factory will be exported to the U.S.

The plant currently produces 3,000 tires per day, but that number will rise to 4,000 per day by the end of May, added Kuroda. “By the end of 2007, our target is 12,000 tires per day,” he said.

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SRT is currently planning the construction of a second plant at the Amata City Industrial Estate. This second plant, which is slated to begin construction in November 2007, will produce tires for passenger cars, vans and four-wheel-drive vehicles.

The company has set a target of producing more than 100,000 tires per day at the two Thai plants combined by 2010.

More details will follow in an upcoming issue of Tire Review.

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