Continental continues to increase production at the pre-cured tread manufacturing plant it added to its Mount Vernon, Ill., campus in February 2018. The plant is prepared for an expected 300% increase in production this year, thanks to its high-tech manufacturing process and retread sales growth.
In March, the company hired a second shift of production employees to support the additional volume demands.
“Continental saw a double-digit percent increase in demand for our retreads in North America last year,” said Tom Fanning, vice president of sales and marketing for commercial vehicle tires. “We expect that growth to continue as the quality of ContiTread becomes better known in the market and as we continue to add new partners to our ContiLifeCycle retreader network.”
ContiTread pre-cured tread rubber is only available to ContiLifeCycle retread partners of Continental. Many tread patterns are identical to Continental’s new tires.
The pre-cure tread plant gains efficiencies thanks not only to its sophisticated manufacturing equipment, but also to its location on Continental’s Mount Vernon campus, home to one of the largest rubber-mixing operations in North America.
“Our changeover process to move from producing one retread pattern to producing a different one is completely driven by programming,” explained John Barnes, head of ContiLifeCycle retreading for the Americas. “Where other plants, from other manufacturers, may have to go through a manual process, we’re able to create an automatic one, driven by digital expertise. This shortens our changeover time significantly. It also requires a different skillset in the operators.”