ContiTread rubber production starts in the USA
Continental has begun making ContiTread pre-cure tread rubber in the USA. A new pre-cured tread manufacturing facility at the tyre maker’s Mound Vernon plant in Illinois has commenced production of the tread compound, and Continental anticipates that the facility will reach full operation by the end of the first quarter of 2018.
According to Continental, the new pre-cured tread facility features a “technologically advanced manufacturing process to maximise safety for plant personnel and quality of the pre-cured tread rubber.” Specifically, a specialised cooling tower helps to stabilise the tread compound more quickly, and robotic assistance on the tread press helps prevent distortion of the product for more consistent filling of moulds. In addition, the production line features a prototype technology to provide 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,” says 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 for manufacturing or fleet solutions like digital tyre monitoring. We want to deliver the best value to our customers by capitalising 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 measured and reviewed by the company’s research and development team. Each pattern requires over 150 points of measurement to be submitted for approval, before it can be released into the market. “Continental continuously strives for best-in-class performance. The cornerstone of this performance is commitment to outstanding quality,” comments Catherine Loss, Continental’s head of retread worldwide. “When designing this new pre-cured tread plant, we focused on utilising lessons learned from our existing plant in Morelia, Mexico, to optimise 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 team has worked tirelessly to ensure the first treads out of our Mount Vernon PCT plant are exactly what our customers need and expect from the ContiTread brand,” Loss continues. “Quality is where we began the project, and a consistent quality mindset is what will continue to drive our future.”
The first tread patterns being produced at the new Mount Vernon facility will be ContiTread HDL EcoPlus, ContiTread HDL, and ContiTread HDR1.