Bridgestone is planning to invest $250 million by 2018 to improve its corporate R&D facility in Japan. As a part of this plan, the company will relocate the passenger radial and light truck tyre production from Tokyo to other facilities in Japan.
A representative from Bridgestone told the R&D upgrade will involve consolidating all research offices and laboratories, including biotechnology and raw material development, at Kodaira City complex in Tokyo. Apart from this, Bridgestone will be investing $125 million through 2020 to redesign the production lines at its Hikone plant in Japan. The redesigning will include shift towards information technology and automation with the help of cutting-edge technology and equipment.
The company said that this initiative is a part of its mid-term management plan and that it should “create value through continuous innovations”. However, Bridgestone didn’t mention if any other R&D facility in Japan will be consolidated at Kodaira or how many employees will be affected by this move. The construction is planned to begin in 2017 with successive operations commencement at these facilities in 2018.
The company said that current employment number is 462 at the 55-year-old Tokyo plant and it intends to continue producing aircraft tyres at this facility. This initiative will also involve manufacturing, testing/evaluation and business design in additional to the fundamental research.
To improve the manufacturing process, the company will conduct R&D on the production lines and integrate advanced information technologies and production technologies that will help in realising new concept products. The company also plans to collaborate with universities and other outside institutions and serve as communication base for pilot experimental projects.