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Mitas plant to host Farmers Spring Tour

By Jean Caspers-Simmet

Date Modified: 03/28/2013 9:02 PM

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CHARLES CITY, Iowa —The Mitas Tires North America plant in Charles City has produced radial farm tires for the past year, and its owners want to show farmers and the general public the latest plant developments and its products.

The Mitas 2013 Farmers Spring Tour will be March 27 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the plant at 1200 Rove Avenue.

"We will have plant tours throughout the day, technical presentations about Mitas and its tires and a local dealer will be present to meet with farmers," said Pavel Charvat, Mitas Tires North America president, based in Charles City. "We will also have drawings for prizes."

Charvat said the firm looks forward to spring when farmers begin thinking about tires.

"With the drought last year, we are happy to see that there is snow and rain, and that the situation is getting better," Charvat said. "We are growing and glad to be in Charles City. We feel very supported, and we're very positive about our situation and the future."

Brian Wulff, production manager at the plant, farms near Charles City. He worked for a local retail tire dealer for eight years and then at Fox River MIlls in Osage for 17 years before coming to Mitas.

He and three other employees trained at the Mitas plant in Otrokovice, Czech Republic in 2011. They brought their knowledge back to Charles City to train workers here.

Wulff purchased four Mitas tires for one of his tractors last year.

"I wanted to use the product that we manufacture here," he said. "Mitas is a premium tire and we want the best for our equipment. It's designed well for clean out in moist soils, and it rides very smooth going down the road."

Wulff said that tractors in Europe are designed to be road driven at higher speeds.

"That goes to show there is a lot of attention to detail," Wulff said.

Since Europe is more densely populated, stringent noise restrictions must be met.

Shipment of Mitas premium tires made in Charles City started in June 2012, and customers include John Deere and Case IH. Wulff said that the plant has also shipped tires to Russia.

Last week Mitas passed its second ISO 9001 quality audit.

The Mitas plant employs about 180 workers and continues to add new staff, said Dianne Pool, Human Resources coordinator.

Mitas has nearly finished the investments for the first stage of the Charles City project, Charvat said. The plant is completing installation of a few more machines. The last three curing presses will be operating by fall. Total investment for stage one is nearly $60 million. Full production capacity of 13,500 metric tons of tires per year should be achieved yet this year, which is three years earlier than originally anticipated.

The plant makes all common agricultural tire sizes for tractors and combines and will eventually produce sizes of up to 54 inch diameter and 1,200 mm width.

The project has received support from the Iowa Economic Development Authority, Charles City Development Corporation, Floyd County and North Iowa Community College.

Since September, all Mitas-made premium tires delivered to U.S. farmers bear the Mitas brand name, Charvat said. These tires are based on Continental agricultural tires, which Mitas has made under license since 2004. Also made at the plant are the Mitas' value brand, Cultor. Both Mitas and Cultor are radial R1Ws, a little deeper tread depth vs. a standard radial tire, Wulff said.

The company has launched a new website for its farm tires and it also has a Facebook page.