LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Paul Williams, executive vice president of commercial vehicle tires with U.S. Continental Tire the Americas, LLC, stressed today at the 2013 Mid-America Trucking Show that Continental is not just a “tire corporation” by launching the sale of the ContiPressureCheck system, as well as speaking more about its VDO RoadLog electronic recording device. True to its roots however, the company also introduced its newest tire, Conti Hybrid HD3 tire, which covers both line-hauls and regional applications due out in April.
“The tire is just one part of what you touch and feel every day,” Williams said during the news conference. “As soon as you pick your car keys up, you’re already touching something that’s Continental because we make all the key fobs … seat belt sensors, engine management systems, telematics ... We make all these components that you interact with daily and not only do you, but also our fleet customers as well.”
According to Williams, the company’s 2012 breakdown accounted for: 40 percent tires; 20 percent chassis and safety; 17 percent interior; 12 percent Powertrain; and 11 percent ContiTech. Williams added six new retread locations are also planned for the next two months, all in the United States.
“By 2015, 2016, just in the course of a few years, we’re going to expand our manufacturing footprint by 20 million unit capacity, 22 million additional tire units,” Williams said, adding that two tire plants are currently being built, one in Russia and the other in Sumter, South Carolina. “There is a plan to build one plant every year for the next nine years. So you can see we are looking to balance our growth across the whole of our marketplace.”
The ContiPressureCheck system, jointly developed by the Commercial Vehicle Tire, Body and Security and Commercial Vehicles and Aftermarket business units, was introduced at last year’s Mid-America show and went through extensive testing the past year.
“We are the only company that’s a tire company with a stand alone,” tire pressure monitoring system, said DJ Frye, Continental business development manager, after the news conference.
For a 10-tire truck, the cost of the system is under $700, Frye said. The sensors, located inside the tires, update tire pressure every three to five minutes. With a problem, like a leak, Frye said it will update every three to five seconds.
For a 10-tire truck, the cost of the system is under $700, Frye said. The sensors, located inside the tires, provide real-time tire pressure and temperature readings every three to five minutes. When a problem like a leak occurs, Frye said it will update every three to five seconds.
While Continental has extensive success in Europe with electronic recording devices, Jeff Waterstreet, sales manager, Tachographs, Telematics and Services NAFTA, said since January the company has seen success with its VDO RoadLog device in the United States.
“About 9 out of 10 trucks were using the company’s electronic recording device,” in Europe, Waterstreet said. He however declined to say the number of devices that have been implemented in tractor-trailers in the U.S. since January.
Waterstreet said the device does not require monthly payments or long-term contracts, and costs just under $500. An additional $35 to $85 is required for the various installation kits. It also includes an integrated printer that can automatically print out driver vehicle inspection and Hours of Service logs which provides quicker inspections at weigh stations and for police officers, Waterstreet said.
The company’s Conti Hybrid HD3 sells to a fleet for $350 to $380 per tire, Williams said, adding tests have shown 50 percent more miles in its first life.
“It has all the fuel efficiency … of a long-haul tire but it also has the mileage and traction of a regional application as well,” Williams said during the news conference.
According to the company’s news release, it is Continental’s “widest dual drive tire, at 248 mm, with 27/32nds tread depth in a new regenerating pattern that is cut in three dimensions.”
“The three-dimensional lateral sipes and a directional tread pattern provide more gripping edges on the road surface than a traditional drive tire,” said Libor Heger, director of truck tire technologies, in a news release. “These sipes also support the tread blocks against forces from the drivetrain, retarder and wheel brake system to achieve the best possible traction and braking force transfer. An open shoulder also gives ideal grip and directional control for this application,” he said.
Williams added the ContiGOODSCasing’s are all the same width, saving fleets from having to buy different casings to fit their retread needs.
“A fleet can buy a trailer tire or they buy a new trailer with one of our new HD3 trailer tires on it and when they come to retread it, they can retread it to a full width drive tire,” Williams said.