Joe Gardyasz is the Business Record’s Manufacturing & Logistics beat reporter.Have an idea or tip?  (515) 661-6084 or joegardyasz@bpcdm.comTwitter: @JoeGardyasz
Joe Gardyasz is the Business Record’s Manufacturing & Logistics beat reporter.

Have an idea or tip?  (515) 661-6084 or

Twitter: @JoeGardyasz

New foreign trade zone approved for Central Iowa

The Greater Des Moines Partnership in September received approval for a new type of foreign trade zone (FTZ) that development officials said will provide a more flexible tool for Central Iowa companies seeking to expand international trade.

The newly formed Iowa Foreign Trade Zone encompasses 29 counties within a 50-mile radius around Des Moines. The “alternative site framework” will allow companies to quickly establish usage-driven duty-free zones to respond to foreign direct investment opportunities, said David Maahs, the Partnership’s executive vice president for economic development.

“This will enable them to better compete globally, expanding their market and growing their companies’ sales and work force,” he said.

Duty-free treatment is accorded items that are processed in FTZs and then re-exported, and duty payment is deferred on items until they are brought out of the FTZ for sale in the U.S. market. Read full story

Bridgestone announces additional investment in Des Moines plant

Bridgestone Americas Inc. announced in June that it plans to make a second investment in its Des Moines operation to maintain its competitive position in the agricultural tire industry.

In March 2010, Bridgestone initially invested $77 million in the Des Moines plant, and it now plans to invest an additional $74 million.

With an increased demand for agricultural tires, the investment in its Des Moines factory will allow it to expand tire building and curing as well as purchase more equipment, according to a release. Improvements to the factory, which employs 1,673 people, are expected to be completed sometime in 2013. Read full story

Photo above, Greg Halford, plant manager of Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations’ Des Moines factory, stands in front of some of the plant’s tire presses.

Deere begins expansion project in Ankeny

Work began in 2012 on a new 300,000-square-foot assembly building at the John Deere Des Moines Works in Ankeny. When it’s completed in the spring of 2013, it will be the world’s most technologically advanced agricultural sprayer manufacturing facility, said John Teeple, the factory’s manager.

“It’s going to be a leap forward for advanced manufacturing at the Des Moines Works,” he said.

Deere’s 455-acre campus in Ankeny serves as a hub for the majority of the cotton harvesting equipment made by the company, as well as a production facility for a broad array of crop-care equipment. Global demand for agricultural equipment is driving unprecedented production needs.

“We’re bursting at the seams here,” said Teeple, a 16-year Deere employee who spent the first 12 years of his career at the company’s Waterloo tractor plant. “We’re doing everything we can to produce as many machines as possible with the infrastructure, assets and head count we have today. For the past two years, we’ve been in chasing-growth mode, which is exciting.” Read full story