With sods of soil sliding from shiny shovels, work on the Continental ‘Taraxagum Lab Anklam’ research and test laboratory officially began on Monday. Construction of the facility will now begin in earnest, and Continental Reifen Deutschland anticipates that the lab, based near Germany’s Baltic coast, will be operational in autumn 2018. Continental is investing a total of 35 million euros in the project, a sum supported by a subsidy of 11.6 million euros from the Ministry of Economics in the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
For the past six years, Continental has worked with partners on projects to source rubber from Russian dandelions for its tyre production. In 2016, the company announced plans to establish a new facility for industrialising this process. A seven-acre site in Anklam, not far from Germany’s Baltic coast, was selected for this research laboratory. The tyre maker now reports that groundbreaking for the 35 million-euro initial phase of its Taraxagum Lab Anklam will take place this coming Monday.
A collaboration between Continental’s Tire division and Kordsa, the Sabanci Group’s textile reinforcing materials business, is expected to result in a new, sustainable system of bonding textile reinforcing materials to rubber-based compounds. Specifically, the two companies are working on a technology that replaces resorcinol and formaldehyde with more environmentally friendly chemicals. Continental reports that to-date the joint work has delivered “very promising” results, adding that the technology will be available to others under a free licensing concept.
A new indoor tyre test centre will be built at the Continental proving ground in Texas, USA. Around US$10 million will be invested to give the Uvalde site the capability of conducting indoor tests on all tyres manufactured in Continental’s North and South American plants.