Economy Minister Nigel Dodds announced a £14million investment in innovative manufacturing techniques and staff training at Michelin in Ballymena today.
Michelin manufactures heavy bus and truck tyres at its site in Ballymena, primarily for export to North America and Europe. The investment will enable Michelin to maximise production efficiency through the introduction of state of the art manufacturing equipment alongside a targeted training programme for all staff.
Announcing the investment at the factory today, the Minister said: “If levels of productivity are to be increased in Northern Ireland, it is essential that local firms focus on adding greater value to their operations and increasing their export capability.
“With this significant investment, backed by Invest Northern Ireland, Michelin will place itself at the forefront of the market by making use of the latest technology and complementing this with tailored training right across its workforce.
“Michelin has been established in Ballymena for almost 40 years and this latest investment, coupled with a culture of innovation and embracing change, demonstrates the company’s continuing commitment to the area.”
Graham Whitehurst, Factory Manager of Michelin, Ballymena, said: “As the largest bus and truck tyre manufacturer in the UK, we are always aware of the need to continuously improve our performance in order to sustain our position in the global marketplace. This investment in both our infrastructure and staff will improve our capability even further and put us in a strong position to bid for new work packages on Michelin Group’s latest tyre innovations as they come to the market.”
The investment in machinery and equipment comprises 11 separate projects and involves installation of the latest automated production lines. Staff will be specially trained in the use of the new equipment in order to maximise product quality. Employees will also receive training in quality control and problem solving, whilst managers will learn more about performance management, coaching and leadership.
The training support offered by Invest NI as part of this project will be part funded through the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).