Agricultural tire manufacturer Mitas (MEE-tahs) is now operating at full capacity at its Charles City plant.
The Czech-based company, one of the largest in Europe, purchased a former Winnebago Industries building in 2009 and invested $50-million to renovate it.
Mitas plant director Pavel Charvat says the factory is operating with two 12-hour shifts, seven days a week.
“The daily production level compared to November and December is similar but we added two days more, the weekend,” Charvat says. The company’s capacity is much more than what had been planned, he says, and they’re installing new machines.
Mitas makes tires for tractors, combines and other farm implements. One of Mitas’ largest customers is Quad Cites-based Deere and Company. Charvat says the company now employs nearly 200 people who are producing tires around the clock.
“We started with production 24 by 7,” he says. “We are following our original plans. We are following the milestones we’ve set up for the project and everything is going well, so far.”
The Iowa Department of Economic Development awarded the company more than $900-thousand to support 154 jobs, out of the almost-200 that have been created. Charvat says he expects to hire another 40 people by the end of 2013 to keep up with demand.
He says two dozen American workers spent several weeks at the company’s plants overseas and have returned to Iowa to train new employees.