Continental has installed the first piece of equipment at its new manufacturing plant in Rayong, Thailand.
The calendering machine is not only the first system to be implemented, but at almost 100m in length, it is also one of the largest machines in the factory. Civil works and the machine installation process at the facility are proceeding according to schedule with production on target to begin in 2019.
At a celebratory ceremony the system, which weights more than 13 tons, was lifted into place by a crane and screwed tight by guests. Company executives and members of the local community performed a special ‘switch-on’, which created a series of lighting effects, making the main drive unit of the calendering machine visible.
Continental has invested €250m (approximately Bt9.75bn) in the first phase, which will have an annual capacity of four million tires. The site is big enough to expand capacity in future up to 25 million tires a year.
“The investment into the greenfield tire plant in Thailand is an integral part of our growth strategy, Vision 2025. The combination of innovative German engineering combined with local Thai production capabilities has ensured the highest quality tire manufacturing,” said Nikolai Setzer, member of the executive board of Continental and head of the tire division.
The greenfield factory will be extremely energy efficient, with all machines using sustainable production processes. Greater automation of logistics and handling processes will ensure an ergonomic working environment for future employees. The workforce at the facility will be gradually expanded to around 900 by 2022.
Bernhard Trilken, senior VP of manufacturing PLT and tire logistics, said, “Continental plans to be a leading employer in the Rayong region. To achieve this status, we will be spending approximately €3m (Tb116m) in training our employees from Rayong.
“They will be trained at various Continental tire factories in Europe and Asia. Furthermore, we are partnering with educational institutions in the region to identify and develop our future talents.”
March 22, 2018