Yokohama Rubber Expands in China
Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. plans to open another Chinese passenger-tire plant in April with annual capacity expected to reach 6 million units by the end of 2017.
The $259 million (26.5 billion yen) facility is adjacent to a Yokohama factory in Suzhou that makes about 340,000 truck and bus tires per year. The Japanese company also produces passenger vehicle tires in Hangzhou at an annual rate of some 5.1 million units.
The new Suzhou plant will boost Yokohama's tiremaking capacity in China 20% to more than 6.8 million units by the end of 2014.
Most of the new facility's output with be aftermarket eco-tires marketed under the BluEarth brand, according to the company.
Although the term “continuous improvement” is generally associated with another company, Honda is certainly pursuing that approach, as is evidenced by the Accord, which is now in its ninth generation.
Here's an overview of the study of assembly plant productivity that gets the undivided attention of all automakers: "The Harbour Report." Although the Big Three companies are getting better, they still have a way to go. But given the levels of competition, better won't be good enough for some plants, it seems.
By James Gaffney, Product Engineer, Precision Grinding and Patrick D. Redington, Manager, Precision Grinding Business Unit, Norton Company (Worcester, MA)