NASHVILLE, Tenn., May 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (BSA) today announced the groundbreaking of its Biorubber Process Research Center, a research and development project in Mesa, Ariz., to investigate the use of the Guayule plant as an alternative natural rubber source. The invitation-only groundbreaking ceremony will take place on May 16 and will feature key leaders from Bridgestone and the local community, including the Honorable Scott Smith, Mayor of Mesa.
"We're thrilled to see our months of planning and hard work come to fruition with next week's groundbreaking," said Bill Niaura, BSA's director of new business development. "This significant research investment in the Biorubber Process Research Center marries Bridgestone's commitment to innovation and its environmental stewardship. Our new, remarkable facility will enable us to work to develop an additional domestic and sustainable source of rubber for our products."
In conjunction with the announcement, Bridgestone released three renderings of the new Biorubber Process Research Center. The center was designed by Wadsworth, Ohio-based architectural firm, Louis Perry and Associates. Contracting firm Howard S. Wright will be managing construction from its Scottsdale, Ariz., location. Newly released renderings are available for viewing and download from the Bridgestone Americas media site.
Once completed, the center will be home to a staff of 40 researchers and technicians. The 10-acre site will include an 8,400-square-foot office/lab building, a four-platform, 3,500-square-foot shrub prep building and a 3,100-square-foot mechanical and electrical building. The first rubber samples for tire evaluations are expected in mid-2015.
"We are pleased that a company with the history and reputation of Bridgestone has chosen Mesa for this very important research and development operation," Mayor Scott Smith said. "This is the kind of company and type of jobs we strive to have here in Mesa because of the positive impact they have on our community."
Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC, a BSA subsidiary, is executing the project in collaboration with Bridgestone Corporation. Bridgestone Corporation is providing the funding and strategic insights for the project, while the Bridgestone Americas team is responsible for operating the pilot farm and process research facility. The Bridgestone Americas team also will leverage the resources of its Bridgestone Americas Center for Research and Technology and Bridgestone's Americas Technical Center to provide technical and research expertise.
Guayule (pronounced Why-u-lee) is a perennial shrub native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. The plant produces natural rubber in its bark and roots. Natural rubber from Guayule has almost identical qualities to that harvested from the Hevea tree, which currently is the primary source for the natural rubber used in tire production.
Members of the press who would like media credentials for the event can contact Bridgestone Americas Corporate and Community Relations at: 877-201-2373.
Downloadable photos of Guayule from the USDA available: http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/graphics/photos/feb09/k1559-3.htm
About Bridgestone Corporation: Bridgestone Corporation (BSJ), headquartered in Tokyo, is the world's largest tire and rubber company. In addition to tires for use in a wide variety of applications, it also manufactures a broad range of diversified products, which include industrial rubber and chemical products and sporting goods. Its products are sold in over 150 nations and territories around the world.
About Bridgestone Americas, Inc.: Nashville, Tenn.-based Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (BSAM) is the U.S. subsidiary of Bridgestone Corporation, the world's largest tire and rubber company. BSAM and its subsidiaries develop, manufacture and market a wide range of Bridgestone, Firestone and associate brand tires to address the needs of a broad range of customers, including consumers, automotive and commercial vehicle original equipment manufacturers, and those in the agricultural, forestry and mining industries. The companies are also engaged in retreading operations throughout the Western Hemisphere and produce air springs, roofing materials, and industrial fibers and textiles. The BSAM family of companies also operates the world's largest chain of automotive tire and service centers. Guided by its One Team, One Planet message, the company is dedicated to achieving a positive environmental impact in all of the communities it calls home.
About Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations: Nashville, Tenn.-based Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations (BATO) is a business unit of Bridgestone Americas, Inc., whose parent company, Bridgestone Corporation, is the world's largest tire and rubber company. Reporting into the BATO business unit are the company's Latin American tire operations; the U.S. and Canadian consumer tire businesses; the U.S. and Canadian commercial tire businesses; and Bridgestone Retail Operations, LLC, which operates the largest network of company-owned automotive service providers in the world. BATO develops, manufactures and markets Bridgestone, Firestone and associate brand tires. The business unit is focused on retail, wholesale and original equipment markets, supplying passenger, light truck, commercial vehicle, off road, motorcycle, agricultural and other tires, as well as retreads, to its customers in the Americas.
SOURCE Bridgestone Americas, Inc.