OTROKOVICE, Czech RepublicContinental A.G. has inaugurated truck tire production at a newly reconstructed manufacturing line at its plant in Otrokovice, a $226 million investment that created 130 jobs.
With the completion of the three-year expansion project, production capacity of truck tires will nearly double to about 1.6 million tires per year, Conti said, from the level in 2013.
Today we are celebrating the finalization of a three-year project, a strategic step focusing on long-term market growth of Continental's commercial vehicle tires business unit, said Andreas Esser, head of commercial vehicle tires, at a recent ceremony held to mark the occasion.
Otrokovice is Conti's largest tire plant. With this investment, he added, the plant has developed into a production hub for America as well as for the emerging markets in Asia Pacific.
When Conti announced the expansion on 2013, it noted that service to customers in the Americas was a driving factor behind the decision to expand.
In 2015, Continental Barum produced 21.1 million passenger tires, 919,000 truck tires and 119,000 industrial tires. This year, truck tire production will surpass 1 million units, according to Conti.
The reconstruction and expansion of the truck tire production hall started at the end of 2013 and was completed last year, Conti said. It was gradually equipped and trial operations have already begun.
Production started with one tire-building machine and six vulcanizing presses, Conti said; by year-end 2015, additional tire-building machines and presses allowed production to grow.
Now, all machines have been installed and are operating. The tire-building and curing departments run non-stop across four shifts, Conti said.
Production at the plant has increased three-fold since 2005, driven by a project supporting the manufacture of 22.5-inch truck tires and mostly by production in the new hall.
Shahrzad Pourriahi is a reporter with European Rubber Journal, a sister publication of Tire Business.