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Continental inaugurates new factory for agricultural tires in Portugal

Automotive News

Along with the start of production of its new range of premium radial tires, Continental Commercial Specialty Tires (CST) inaugurates a new production facility in Lousado, Portugal.

“Our agricultural tire factory in Lousado is one of the most advanced in the Continental Group and the entire agricultural tire industry,” said Pedro Carreira, director of the Lousado factory. The plant has state-of-the-art production technologies that allow more precise tire manufacturing. Their innovative winders allow the materials to be distributed evenly to create a tire as round as possible. These machines also use heel technology, which has been specially developed to ensure robustness, optimize the mounting and adjustment of the tire in agricultural tires. ASIC technology is used to ensure constant low temperature distribution during vulcanization, both inside and outside the tire, which has a positive effect on both the efficiency of the plant and the rolling resistance of the tire. In addition, the factory has been built following ergonomic guidelines, so that guided vehicles (AGV) and lifting devices can be used to transport agricultural tires.
A testing center has also been built adjacent to the factory, where the local R & D team, in close cooperation with the main team in Hannover, will test the quality of the tires produced and will work on the optimization and development of the Farm products.

Continental has invested 49.9 million euros in the construction of the new production plant during the past year. To this figure must be added the 2.5 million euros invested in the new test center. In 2014, between the different production centers of Continental, Lousado was selected to house the new installation due to its excellent infrastructure and the special commitment of the staff. After the start of work in February 2016 and the foundation work in June 2016, the first experimental tire order (ETO) was manufactured in November of that year. Since April 2017, test tires have been produced in Lousado. The beginning of the series production of tires began last August. By the end of 2017, 5,000 tires will have been manufactured in 13 different sizes.

The inauguration ceremony was attended by the most representative personalities of Portuguese national and local politics, members of the business network and the company’s main executives at the international level, among others, headed by Economy Minister Manuel Caldeira Cabral; the mayor of Famalicão, Paulo Cunha; the German ambassador to Portugal, Heike Fuller; Maria Madalena de Sousa Monteiro Oliveira e Silva, member of the Board of AICEP (Portuguese Agency for Investment and Foreign Trade, E.P.E), Nikolai Setzer, member of the Board of Directors of Continental AG; Pedro Carreira, director of the Continental Mabor Lousado plant; Enno Straten, Director Continental Specialty Tires, and Thorsten Bublitz, head of Continental’s agricultural tire business, among others.

In addition to agricultural tires, tourism tires are also manufactured in Lousado. With a production capacity of about 18 million tourism tires, this plant is Continental’s most efficient factory. The Group invests 100 million euros to increase the production of tires for passenger cars and increase the manufacture of high performance tires.

Noticias Maquinaria 11-09-17 (Translation Soft)

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