Jegan Durairatnam, CEO of the Commercial Bank of Sri Lanka, starts the first machine at GRI’s new plant in Sri Lanka.
Global Rubber Industries (GRI) celebrated the grand opening last week of its specialty tire manufacturing facility in Sri Lanka, which will produce radial agricultural tires for the first time in the country.
Visitors from over 35 countries attended the grand opening, including Jegan Durairatnam, managing director and CEO of the Commercial Bank of Sri Lanka, GRI Chairman Haris Premeratne and GRI’s managing director, Prabhash Subasinghe. The opening marked a new item that would be added to Sri Lanka’s export portfolio.
“Today I see in front of me my dream being realized – the first ever state of the art Radial Agricultural tire manufacturing plant in Sri Lanka,” Subasinghe said. “I can proudly say, we have arrived.”
The $40 million plant houses state-of-the-art technology and is sustainable, featuring 1.2-Megawatt solar panels, biomass boilers and fully recyclable waste and water management systems. In a nod to the company’s green mindset, GRI planted 50 trees within the facility of the factory with attendees at the ceremony.
“In an ever-changing, complex and uncertain world, we rise to the challenge,” Subasinghe said at the ceremony. “We understand the importance and implications of major technological shifts in our industry – the prevalence of IOT [Internet of Things], the opportunity that machine learning or AI [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.”
While 70% of the factory’s production will consist of agricultural tires, the factory will also produce pneumatic construction tires and forklift tires.
GRI’s began in 2002 with a vision “to be a leading industrial tire producer in the world” and has grown to serve over 50 countries. The company’s solid tires are now used by OEMs and replacement forklifts all over the world. The tiremaker is also the largest producer of solid excavator tires and produces port trailers, airport baggage handlers and skid steers.