FORT MILL, S.C. — Continental, a technology company and manufacturer, 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 made-in-the-USA tread rubber for the ContiTread premium retread line. Continental expects the plant to reach full operation by the end of the first quarter of 2018.
The new PCT facility features a technologically advanced manufacturing process to 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 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,” 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 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, Barnes said each new tread pattern produced in the start-up phase must be meticulously measured and reviewed by the company’s Research & 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,” said Catherine Loss, Continental’s head of retread worldwide. “When designing this new Pre-Cured Tread 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 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 said. “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 Mount Vernon PCT plant will be ContiTread HDL EcoPlus, ContiTread HDL, and ContiTread HDR1.
The ContiTread HDL EcoPlus, a long-haul drive pattern, features an advanced tread compound for low rolling resistance balanced with mileage. Like many Continental tread patterns, it features a stone ejection system, helping reduce stone retention to protect the casing and maximize retreadability.
The ContiTread HDL, a long-haul drive pattern, features a mileage-focused tread compound for long haul to regional applications. The closed-shoulder design, available in multiple tread depths, provides even wear and high mileage.
The ContiTread HDR1, a regional drive pattern, features excellent wet and dry traction with its open-shoulder design. Available in multiple tread depths, it is designed to resist irregular wear and reduce stone retention. With an innovative lug angle and cut-and-tear resistant tread compound, it is ideal for regional and light on/off-road applications.