Monday, February 20, 2017

Industry News: Tire Technology International names Continental 2017 Tire Manufacturer of the Year - Innovative steps in R&D, Testing and Production

Tyre manufacturer Continental  was honored by UK-based trade journal “Tire Technology International” with its 2017 Tire Manufacturer of the Year award. Continental was chosen by a panel of 27 judges from all over the world where is chose to recognise the company's efforts in its continuous investment in the fields of research & development, testing and production equipment.

Three factors proved decisive in making the panel reach their decision: 

The High Performance Technology Center - testing equates to better tyres, which will in turn contribute to a better drive; 

Natural rubber from dandelion roots - R&D in alternative forms of natural rubber is innovative. 

A massive increase in capacity - which industry does not love increase in production capacity? 

Of course, Continental have not been resting on their laurels. They have actually won this award back in 2014. 

Now the reason I have taken note of this article is the Dandelion rubber research that is conducted by Continental. I have to add that if natural rubber producing countries do not buck up in terms of production costs and quality, companies that use a lot of natural rubber from rubber trees may find dandelion rubber a viable alternative. 

Continental is at the forefront of such technology and they have been recognised for this by the industry. It is this reason that has actually made me take notice of this press release because Malaysia is a rubber producing country and with the fall of oil and gas prices, our crops like palm oil and to a fair bit, rubber, now contributes a fair bit more. 

I do hope local rubber researchers take note! In the meantime, kudos to Continental for winning the award.

Tire Technology International names Continental 2017 Tire Manufacturer of the Year

 High-caliber expert panel honors tire manufacturer’s exceptional investments in research and development, testing and production equipment

 Vision 2025 long-term growth strategy triggered impressive number of innovation and excellence projects in 2016

 Three factors proved decisive: the High Performance Technology Center; natural rubber from dandelion roots; and a massive increase in capacity

Hanover, February 16, 2017. Last night at the Tire Technology Expo 2017, staged in Hanover

from February 14-16, Continental was honored by UK-based trade journal “Tire Technology

International” with its Tire Manufacturer of the Year award, first presented in 2008. With this

award, the high-caliber panel of 27 judges, including experts from Europe, Japan, India and the

United States, honored the investments that Continental has initiated over the past twelve

months. “We are very excited about this award because it appreciates several technology

projects and innovations that we have already realized, working consistently within the scope of

our Vision 2025 long-term growth strategy,” said Nikolai Setzer, member of the Executive Board

of Continental AG responsible for Corporate Purchasing and head of the Tire division, the world’s

fourth largest tire manufacturer with sales of more than EUR 10 billion. “At the same time, being

awarded as the most innovative tire manufacturer highly motivates our global team – now more

than 50,000 employees – to continue on this path, step by step.”

Among Continental’s innovations that persuaded the judges were the opening in June 2016 of the

High Performance Technology Center in Korbach, Germany; the Taraxagum project that involves

setting up a research center in Anklam, Germany, for the industrialization of natural rubber from

dandelion roots; and production of the first ever truck tire with tread made of dandelion rubber.

The judges also mentioned the announcement of a research and development center for

agricultural tires in Lousado, Portugal, and the expansion of Continental’s truck tire production

operations in Otrokovice, Czech Republic.

“Consumers of everything from ultra-high performance tires to agricultural ones, in markets from

Europe to China, will benefit from Continental’s outstanding commitment to investment in

research and development, testing and manufacturing in the past 12

months. Congratulations to our Tire Manufacturer of the Year!” said Graham

Heeps, editor, Tire Technology International and chairman of the judging panel. This annual

award for innovation and excellence honors particularly bright ideas and the hard work put in by

the tire design and production industry. Candidates are either nominated by the readers of Tire

Technology International or put forward by the editorial staff. The independent panel of experts

then votes to choose the winners.

In the context of its Vision 2025, since 2011 Continental has already invested more than

EUR 3 billion in the construction of new production plants in Hefei (China), Kaluga (Russia)

and Sumter (South Carolina/ USA). Thereof EUR 350 million per year has been invested in

expanding the Corporation’s existing plants around the world. Along with the construction of

Continental’s unique Automated Indoor Braking Analyzer (AIBA) at the Contidrom proving

grounds, the opening of the High Performance Technology Center (HPTC) at the Korbach,

Germany plant caused quite some attention. Through the smart networking of all its

production machinery, the HPTC generates new findings virtually in real time. These are then

communicated to Continental’s tire production plants around the world to drive further

improvements in efficiency and effectiveness. In 2016 for the first time ever Continental

produced a worldwide total of more than 150 million passenger car and light truck tires, while

at the same time achieving a much better regional balance between EMEA, The Americas

and APAC in terms of production and sales. As a result, Continental is firmly on course to

realize its Vision 2025.

Incidentally, the expert judging panel at Tire Technology International reached the same

conclusion before when Continental was also named Tire Manufacturer of the Year in 2014.

At the same time Continental was honored with the innovation award for tire production for its

so called ContiLifeCycle plant in Hannover-Stoecken that convinced the experts due to its

integrated approach of combining hot and cold retreading with a rubber recycling facility

which still is unique globally today.

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