Ground-breaking ceremony for High Performance Technology Center at Continental’s Korbach tire plant
* Ceremony marks start of work on new “factory within a factory” on 12,000 sqm site
* Tire Division Board Member: “€45 million investment in the future of tire development”
* High-tech facility focuses on production of high-performance tires and process development in R&D
Completion forecast for 2015, around 60 new jobs created
A ground-breaking ceremony was held today to signal the start of construction of the new High Performance Technology Center (HPTC) at Continental’s Korbach plant in Germany. The new production hall – effectively a “factory within a factory” – will take shape on a site measuring approximately 12,000 sqm. The building is expected to be completed by the end of May 2015.
Operations at the completed facility are scheduled to begin in July 2016 on two fronts. On the one hand, the HPTC will produce high-performance tires for ultra-sporty passenger cars boasting an extremely high level of technological sophistication and powerful engines. But the plan is also to drive forward development and optimization of production processes from Korbach prior to subsequent introduction across other Continental tire plants.
Nikolai Setzer, Head of the Tire Division and Member of the Continental AG Executive Board “The ground-breaking ceremony marks not only the start of work on a new production line, but also effectively the extension of our Research & Development department into the Korbach tire plant,” explains Nikolai Setzer, Member of the Executive Board at Continental AG and Head of the Tire Division. “We are investing a total of €45 million here. This not only enables us to introduce technological upgrades for production of ultra-high-performance tires, it also allows us to show our OE customers we are acting in their interests by pushing ahead with technological advances so we can offer even better products in the future. The process expertise we gain as a result will be channeled into all our tire plants and product lines.”
Around 60 employees will be working in the new facility on the back of the €45 million investment. Continental increased the amount it had originally earmarked for the initiative by around €5 million in order to give the new facility even greater capability. “The HPTC is part of our Vision 2025 initiative, which encapsulates our commitment to profitable worldwide growth,” adds Setzer. “As well as raising capacity for the production of technologically ultra-sophisticated tires, this demands above all extra investment in research and development.” The investment in Korbach provides further evidence of the strategic planning behind technological progress at the Tire Division and the focused implementation of those advances. Previous examples include the Automated Indoor Braking Analyzer (AIBA) – the world’s first fully automatic indoor tire testing facility at the Corporation’s Contidrom proving grounds north of Hanover – and the ContiLifeCycle Plant for truck tire retreading and rubber recycling in Hanover-Stöcken. Continental’s worldwide special investment program, launched in 2011, will see its investment top one billion euros by the end of 2015.
Lothar Salokat, Plant Manager Continental Korbach Work will start at the new facility on a test basis next September, according to plant manager Lothar Salokat: “We’re expecting to be able to produce around 350,000 tires annually at the new HPTC once regular operation is underway,” says the plant manager. “We’re talking in part about products for highly exacting requirements – i.e. for ultra-powerful vehicles. They include tires with diameters of 18 – 22 inches.” As well as production of these tires, trials will be conducted on a range of different compounds and production stages. The plan is to use the tires produced as part of this process for testing purposes. “So the new facility will not only benefit the drivers of extremely exclusive vehicles, but also the safety of all other road users.”
Korbach can look back on over 100 years in the rubber industry and currently has a workforce of around 3,400 employees. The Korbach shop chairman Jörg Schönfelder added: “Some members of our team are the fourth generation of their family to work for Continental in Korbach, and our employees have amassed impressive reserves of knowledge and experience. We’re delighted and, indeed, proud, to be able to channel such expertise into this excellent project as we move forward. We also view this large-scale investment as a logical extension of our agreements safeguarding the future of our plants. This shows that Continental is also investing in facilities in our native Germany, and is therefore able to make a major contribution across our network of plants around the world.”
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