Bridgestone Americas recently celebrated the expansion of the company’s Bridgestone Bandag LLC manufacturing plant in Abilene, Texas with an official groundbreaking ceremony.
The 50,000-square-foot, $60 million expansion of the Abilene plant is aimed at the growing demand for the company’s tread rubber products, driven by the rapid growth of its retread business, according to the company.
The expansion includes an immediate increase in operational activity by running on six- and seven-day production schedules, as well as the construction of new mixing operations at the facility. The mixing operations are expected to be completed and in operation by January 2025.
The investment in the facility and the additional days of operations increase the plant’s output by 16%, furthering Bridgestone’s commitment to sustainable solutions, the company noted.
“Today is a significant day for all of us at the Abilene Bandag plant and across Bridgestone Americas, as we break ground on this important expansion that will allow us to grow our production capabilities to meet the needs of our customers,” said Billy Fralick, plant manager for the Abilene Plant. “We’d like to thank the Abilene community for its support over the last 52 years. We’re excited to begin this next chapter in our plant’s history.”
Fralick was joined at the event by several Bridgestone leaders, including Chris Daniel, executive director, Bandag Manufacturing, and Jason Roanhouse, vice president, Bandag North America Operations. Also in attendance at the event were Weldon Hurt, mayor of Abilene; Misty Mayo, president and CEO, Development Corporation of Abilene; and Shane Price, Abilene City Council member.
“Today we celebrate the growth and commitment of this plant and this community, with new investment and a physical expansion driven by growing demand for our products and, just as fundamentally, by this team’s commitment to delivering innovation and superior quality for our customers here and around the world,” said Chris Daniel, executive director, Bandag Manufacturing, Bridgestone Americas. “Our company and our Abilene team have a vital role to play in the transformation of mobility brought forth by a desire of building greener retreads, while helping maximize fuel efficiency for fleets.”
Retread tires not only provide fleets an economic benefit, but also are an environmentally responsible way to extend the life of tires in any fleet. Since 1957, Bandag has been responsible for keeping approximately 300 million tires out of the waste system, which helps reduce material emissions, water and energy use associated with the production of a new tire. The Bandag retreading process has also saved 4 billion gallons of oil since it began 50 years ago, according to the company.
The Bandag plant in Abilene, which celebrated 50 years of operations in 2021, continues to be a steady fixture in production of high-quality pre-cured truck tread, rubber cement and solvent packaging. Bridgestone’s investment will build upon the plant’s existing 200,000 square-foot blueprint and provide capacity needed for future production.