I had the good fortune to get a behind-the-scenes look at Goodyear’s Danville, VA, plant - the largest Goodyear truck, bus and airplane tire production plant in North America.
It is a massive facility, spread out over 710 acres.
Before I was taken on a tour of the plant, I had to remove my watch and rings, and put on safety goggles and a fluorescent green safety vest. Had I not been wearing leather shoes, I would have had to put on work boots.Safety is paramount at the plant, Dave Cumbo, the plant’s production manager and my tour guide, told me.
As he escorted me through the facility, I couldn’t help but notice a true beehive of activity.
I watched the choreography of the plant’s truck tire production as we walked from the beginnings of a tire - a process where raw rubber is mixed, to the last step - the curing step. This is where “green” tires are placed inside a mold and inflated to press it against the mold, forming the tread and the tire identification information on the sidewall.
Cumbo also took me through the automated tire storage area and the shipping department.
Additionally, I had the chance to see where Goodyear’s DuraSeal tires are made. I came to find out that Goodyear now has DuraSeal Technology for its wide-base tires.
DuraSeal is the world’s first built-in tire sealant for commercial truck tires that instantly seals tread punctures. It seals up to 1/4-inch tread punctures with a yellow, gel-like compound.
One of the many interesting things I found out about the Danville plant is that 100 percent of the tires produced are both visually inspected and X-rayed to ensure a quality product. Some 70 percent of all truck tires are checked for balance.
To say the least, my tour through the Danville, VA, plant - which has produced more produced more than 100 million tires since it began operation in November 1966 - was a real eye-opener.