Goodyear to build on-demand tyre manufacturing plant
13 September 2017
Author: Daniel Puddicombe
Tyre giant Goodyear has announced it will build a new facility that can make tyres on demand.
Called Mercury, the process features highly automated workstations that produce tyres in small batches as and when they are required.
The new building, due to open in 2019, is located next to the firm's tyre proving ground in Luxembourg. The company claims it is investing £58 million in the new centre and estimates it will produce 500,000 tyres a year.
Goodyear says it has been testing the technology over the last five years, with the firm adding that the name is a reference to the mythical god of trade and travel.
It is expected that the new process could save fleets time compared with today's process.
"Through the small batch flexibility, we can cycle the portfolio faster to ensure availability of these lower volume units," a Goodyear spokeswoman told BusinessCar. "This also means that our larger production facilities, such as the facility in Luxembourg, can focus more heavily on producing tyres that are in higher demand, without having to swap moulds to create higher-end tyres. As a result, fleet managers using higher-end tyres may see an improvement in the speed at which they are able to acquire Goodyear tyres."
"Mercury addresses the increasing complexity in the tyre industry as the number of vehicle models and options available to consumers continues to proliferate," said Richard Kramer, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Goodyear. "It gives us the capability to increase our speed and flexibility to meet the growing demand for small volumes of high-margin, premium Goodyear tyres and to deliver them to customers on demand, faster than ever."
He added: "Mercury will advance our connected business model, which aligns all of our assets - from the production floor to consumers who choose Goodyear online and at retail," he added. "It will complement our existing high-volume facilities and give us a true competitive advantage."