Since July 2010, Mitas has been working toward opening its first manufacturing facility in the U.S. The factory is in Charles City, Iowa, and has undergone remodeling from a Winnebago Industries building to radial tire production for the agricultural market.
"Our first milestone will be the production of the first tires before Christmas," explains Vladimir Dusanek, U.S. project director, Charles City plant. "Regular production will start by April."
The company announced that its total investment in the facility will total more than $51 million. Company leaders say that of the larger sized ag tires, 70% of the company’s production will be sourced from the Charles City factory.
In 2004, Mitas acquired the Continental tire brand. The tires made in Charles City will be marked as "Mitas AC" brand and sold through Continental premium dealers.
"When the acquisition occurred, Mitas had its own ag tire line," says Neil Rayson, president Mitas Tires North America. "We have the rights to use the Continental name for several years, but we went to all of our distributors, explained the decision to move forward only with the Mitas brand and they agreed with our decision. It provides clarity for the customer in that our brand name will be same as company name."
Worldwide, Mitas has three manufacturing centers in Czech Republic and one in Serbia, 3,000 employees, and tires sales in 95 countries. CGS Holding which owns Mitas has 5,000 employees.
"We are building our first tire production facility outside of Europe—it’s a huge watershed for us," says Rayson. "By December, eleven core employees will have been trained in the Czech Republic."
Mitas originally picked Charles City Iowa because its proximity to OEM companies such as Case IH. At farm shows this fall a Case IH Magnum 315 was on display with Mitas AC 85 480/80R50 and 380/80R38 tires, sizes planned to be produced at Charles City. Mitas also has partnerships with John Deere, New Holland, Claas and AGCO.
Mitas also has its own in-house testing facility for research and development. In 2009, the company unveiled its Silent Speed Tire. This product reduced cab noise by 50% when traveling at 31 mph on asphalt. The design prevents the "booming noise effect," caused in ordinary tractor tires by the tire lugs. Between the speeds of 25 to 37.5 mph a critical frequency range of 110 to 120 hertz develops, and this results in a sharp increase in noise that the drive perceives as a loud droning sound. The lugs transmit the impulse to the tractor cab. That causes the cab air to be stimulated from the vibrations and frequencies. This booming noise is generated by the rear axle tires irrespective of the tractor model.