Start of Production in Lousado: Continental Opens New Manufacturing Plant for Agricultural Tires in Portugal
11 September 2017
Start for state-of-the-art production of agricultural tires in Lousado, Portugal
Investment of 49.9 million euros in new production facility
Additional 2.5 million euros for test and development center
Along with the production launch of its new premium radial tire portfolio, Continental Commercial Specialty Tires (CST) is also opening the new production facility in Lousado, Portugal.
"Our production hall for agricultural tires in Lousado is one of the most progressive of the Continental Group and the entire agricultural tire industry," says Pedro Carreira, factory manager in Lousado. The plant is equipped with state-of-the-art production technologies that enable precise tire production. Innovative winding machines ensure that materials are distributed evenly to create a tire that is as round as possible. They also exploit bead technology that has been developed especially for the agricultural tires to ensure robustness and optimize mounting and the rim fit of the tire. ASIC technology is used to ensure consistently low temperature distribution both inside and outside the tire during curing, which has a positive effect on both the efficiency of the plant and the rolling resistance of the tire. In addition, the production facility has been built according to ergonomic guidelines, whereby automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and lifting devices are used to transport the agricultural tires.
In addition, a test center has been built adjacent to the production hall, where the local R&D team, in close cooperation with the core team in Hanover, will test the quality of the tires being produced and work on optimizing and further developing the agricultural products.
Continental invested a total of 49.9 million euros in the construction of the new production facility last year. An additional 2.5 million euros were invested in the new test center. In the competition of different Continental production sites to host the new facility in 2014, Lousado was selected due to its excellent infrastructure and the individual commitment of the workforce. After construction started in February 2016 and the foundation was laid in June 2016, the first experimental tire order (ETO) tires were produced in November of the same year. Since April 2017, test tires have been produced in Lousado and the start of the serial tire production followed in August. By the end of 2017 a total of 5000 tires will be produced in 13 different sizes.
In addition to agricultural tires, passenger car tires are also manufactured in Lousado. With a production capacity of around 18 million passenger car tires, the factory is the most efficient Continental tire plant. Continental is investing a total of 100 million euro into increasing the production of passenger car tires and expanding high-performance tire production.