ERJ staff report (TB)
Morelia, Mexico - Continental Tire the Americas (CTA) has begun shipping flat precure treads from its tread rubber plant in Morelia to Conti LifeCycle customers in Mexico.
Conti bought the 35,700-sq.-ft. rubber processing plant last year and re-engineered it to its own specifications. The factory opened recently with a capacity of 7,500 rolls of flat precure treads monthly-enough to retread 22,500 truck tyres-but Conti expects the plant to double this shortly and double again by 2015 to production equal to 1 million tyres a year.
Conti has yet to announce any LifeCycle retread licensees in the US or Canada, but the company has set up a LifeCycle retread plant in Phoenix as a demonstration site for the new retreading process and to service a key fleet account in the area.
CTA owns and operates the plant, but it's considered a one-off project to help jumpstart the firm's retread initiative, which it launched earlier this year, according to Clif Armstrong, director of marketing for CTA's commercial vehicles tyres unit.
â€œWith this plant implementation, Continental is assuring its customers a high quality precure tread, along with reduced costs and delivery time throughout the Americas,â€ John Barnes, ContiLifeCycle manager, said.
In addition to shipping product to the LifeCycle franchisees in Mexico, the plant is designated to ship tread rubber to Conti retread plants in Ecuador and eventually to the firm's network of retread licensees throughout the Americas, Barnes said. Conti has nine more licensees in Mexico lined up to open retread plants there.
Conti launched its comprehensive LifeCycle retreading initiative in March, two years after moving into the retread sector in North America with a circular tread offering in partnership with Marangoni Tread North America.
The production at Morelia covers four tread patterns primarily, Conti said-HDL Eco Plus, HTL Eco Plus, HDR1 and General D450-along with two products specifically for the Mexican market: HSR and HSC in 18/32nd-inch tread depth, with 23/32nd product in the works.
The company's goal is to have a full portfolio of flat precure treads that match all of its new tyre products, Barnes said.
The Morelia plant is in Mexico's MichoacÃ¡n state, between Mexico City and Guadalajara.
From Tire Business (A Crain publication)