Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

BALLYMENA OPERATION KEEPS TYRE PRODUCTION TURNING

While Michelin designs, manufactures and sells tyres for every type of vehicle – including aircraft, cars, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, motorcycles and even the US space shuttle – its Ballymena operation is the only truck tyre manufacturer in Ireland.

Spread over 112 acres and employing more than 950 people, the factory has an annual capacity of 1.4m commercial vehicle tyres –sufficient to meet the replacement needs of every single truck, bus and coach in the UK.

Michelin's Ballymena factory produced its first tyre on December 3, 1969, and last year celebrated the production of its 30 millionth tyre in Ballymena.

From 1998 until 2011 the plant was controlled by Michelin's North America truck tyre operation when around 80% of the output was exported to North America, but since January 2012 the site has been transferred back to European control.

Michelin X InCity tyres made in Ballymena are being fitted to new red double-decker buses for London being built by Wrightbus just a few miles down the road.

Wrightbus has won a £200m contract to supply 600 of the new buses over the next three years. It is currently the only Michelin factory in the world to manufacture the latest 295/80 R 22.5 X MultiWay 3D XZE (steer) and XDE (drive) tyres.

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