Continental has added a pre-cured tread (PCT) manufacturing facility to its existing campus in Mount Vernon, Illinois. The new plant, which began start-up production in January, will produce tread rubber for the ContiTread premium retread line. It is expected to be fully operational by the end of the first quarter of 2018.
Advanced manufacturing processes maximize safety for plant personnel and quality of the pre-cured tread rubber. A specialized cooling tower helps to stabilize the tread compound more quickly, and robotic assistance on the tread press helps prevent distortion of the product for more consistent filling of the mold. In addition, the production line features a prototype technology that provides more consistent texture in large-lug tread patterns.
“Continental is investing in the latest advances in retread manufacturing technology to ensure our pre-cured tread rubber is the best on the market, and that our people have a safe and ergonomically efficient workspace,” said John Barnes, Continental’s head of ContiLifeCycle retreading for the Americas. “As a technology company, we’re always looking to see what’s next on the horizon, whether that is for manufacturing or fleet solutions like digital tire monitoring. We want to deliver the best value to our customers by capitalizing on the latest innovations in the industry.”
As part of Continental’s commitment to the quality of its retread rubber, each new tread pattern produced in the start-up phase must be meticulously measured and reviewed by the company’s R&D team. Each pattern requires over 150 points of measurement to be submitted for approval, before it can be released into the market.
Added Catherine Loss, Continental’s head of retread worldwide, “When designing the new PCT plant, we focused on utilizing lessons learned from our existing plant in Morelia, Mexico, to optimize the layout and flow of the plant, and our long years of manufacturing experience in the main Mount Vernon plant to ensure reliability and repeatability in the production.”
The first tread patterns being produced at the facility will be ContiTread HDL EcoPlus, ContiTread HDL and ContiTread HDR1.
“Our PCT products use many of the same rubber compounds as our new tires. Having our rubber mixed only yards away at our Mount Vernon plant, one of the largest mixing facilities in North America, is a great advantage,” said Paul Williams, Continental’s executive vice president of commercial vehicle tires in the Americas region.
“Producing ContiTread retread rubber in the heartland of the United States allows us to be closer to our customers and make products available even faster to our ContiLifeCycle retread partners,” Williams continued. “Combined with our new truck tire plant in Clinton, Mississippi, which is expected to start production next year, we are continuing to invest in US production.”
March 1, 2018