GRI celebrated the grand opening of its world-class specialty tire manufacturing facility on Jan. 25 in Sri Lanka. The factory will produce radial agriculture tires for the first time in the country, effectively enhancing the Sri Lanka’s export portfolio.
Jegan Durairatnam, managing director and CEO of the Commercial Bank of Sri Lanka, was at the opening as a Chief Guest, and honored the occasion by hoisting the national flag alongside Haris Premeratne, GRI’s chairman, and Prabhash Subasinghe, managing director of GRI.
The factory opening was attended by visitors from more than 35 countries.
As GRI opens the doors for specialty tire manufacturing in Sri Lanka, it also will add new items to the country’s export portfolio. This new factory will produce approximately 70 percent agriculture tire products and the remaining output will consist of pneumatic construction tires and forklift tires. GRI’s plant will produce the full spectrum of tires used in offroad applications.
With an investment of more than $40 million, GRI’s tire plant is a first in many respects, according to the company. It is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and many of the machines are the first of their kind to be commissioned in Sri Lanka. The team at GRI says it has utilized some of the most advanced technologies available with globally recognized machines that allow for an increased degree of precision, lower operator dependency and much greater automation. These factors continue to drive GRI forward and will result in enhanced consistency, higher quality, greater efficiency, reduced cycle times and wastage, according to the company.
The new factory also is completely self-sufficient and is certified by ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2004. GRI’s commitment to sustainability is evident throughout in its 1.2-Megawatt solar panels, biomass boilers and fully recyclable waste and water management systems.
GRI solid tires are now used by OEMs and replacement forklifts all over the world. GRI also is one of the largest producers of solid excavator tires. It also produces tires for port trailers, airport baggage handlers and skid steers.
GRI says it aims to bring even more ambitious and exponential innovation programs to fruition in the future. “In an ever-changing, complex and uncertain world, we rise to the challenge. We understand the importance and implications of major technological shifts in our industry – the prevalence of [the Internet of Things], the opportunity that machine learning or artificial intelligence, augmented reality and virtual reality can provide in making better decisions. We are now well into establishing an innovation lab that will harness many of these technologies to drive our business forward. This new frontier is something that I am deeply interested and passionate about,” said Subasinghe.