New Pre-Cured Tread (PCT) plant at Continental’s Mount Vernon, Ill. campus
Plant will produce American-made retread rubber for popular patterns
FORT MILL, S.C. – February 16, 2018. Continental, the technology company and premium tire manufacturer, has added a Pre-Cured Tread (PCT) manufacturing facility to its existing campus in Mount Vernon, Ill. 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, 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 continued. “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.
ContiTread™ pre-cured tread rubber is only available to ContiLifeCycle™ retread partners of Continental, and is recognized for its premium quality. Many tread patterns are identical to Continental’s new tires, giving customers a “looks like new, runs like new” advantage.
Conlan Tire, a rapidly growing tire dealership and retreader with eight locations in Florida, has been part of the ContiLifeCycle™ network since the chain was founded in March 2017. “I think the tread rubber [for ContiTread] is great,” said owner Alex Conlan. “We like the fact that when we retread the Continental casings with the Continental products… [the customers] have a hard time telling the difference between the new and the retread. It’s more accepted by them.” Dealers interested in becoming part of the ContiLifeCycle™ network should reach out to their local Continental representative.
“Our PCT products use many of the same rubber compounds as our new tires. Having our rubber mixed only yards away at our Mount Vernon plant, one of the largest mixing facilities in North America, is a great advantage,” said Paul Williams, Continental’s executive vice president of Commercial Vehicle Tires in the Americas region.
“Producing ContiTread retread rubber in the heartland of the United States allows us to be closer to our customers and make products available even faster to our ContiLifeCycle retread partners,” Williams continued. “Combined with our new truck tire plant in Clinton, Mississippi, which is expected to start production next year, we are continuing to invest in U.S. production.”
One of the largest automotive suppliers and tire manufacturers in the world, Continental develops pioneering technologies to make fleets safer, more efficient, and more connected. With innovative tire technology and digital fleet solutions, Continental optimizes tire lifecycle management to help our customers achieve their Lowest Overall Driving Cost.
Continental Continental develops pioneering technologies and services for sustainable and connected mobility of people and their goods. Founded in 1871, the technology company offers safe, efficient, intelligent and affordable solutions for vehicles, machines, traffic and transportation. In 2017, Continental generated preliminary sales of around €44 billion and currently employs more than 233,000 people in 56 countries.
The Tire Division currently has more than 24 production and development locations worldwide. The broad product range and continuous investments in R&D make a major contribution to cost-effective and ecologically efficient mobility. As one of the world's leading tire manufacturers with around 52,000 employees, the Tire Division achieved sales of €10.7 billion in 2016.
Continental Commercial Vehicle Tires is one of the largest manufacturers of truck, bus and commercial specialty tires worldwide. The business unit is continuously developing from a pure tire manufacturer to a solution provider, offering a broad range of products, services and tire-related solutions.