Hamburg, Germany – ContiTech AG is expanding its operations in Hamburg-Harburg, in northern Germany, to turn the site into a “tech campus” for a range of business units.
As part of the ongoing investments, a new training institute for semi-skilled and unskilled employees, a digitalisaion innovation unit and a centre of competence for plastics have been established at the site, Conti said in an 8 Oct statement.
"The plant has developed from a former rubber processing site to a location where future mobility systems are produced for both on and off the road,” said Dr. Peter Scholtissek, head of the Harburg location.
Despite the newly found focus on future mobility, Scholtissek said the traditional production of rubber compounds will remain an integral part of the plant premises.
“Rubber keeps the modern world in motion and is the key to pioneering developments and technical innovations,” he said.
At the site, recently added innovative clusters and smart solutions will help carry out a “structural transformation to Industry 4.0, Conti added.
As part of the move towards future mobility, Conti signed a partnership agreement with the city of Hamburg last year to advance intelligent transportation systems (ITS).
As a result, the German group has been working closely with technology transfer company Tutech and the Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) to develop ‘smart projects’, particularly focused on the Internet of Things and cloud-based app development.
The aim, Conti said, is to develop solutions that add “a digital component” to the existing range of rubber and plastic-based products, creating the basis for new digital business models.
In the future, all global innovation and digitalisation activities of the ContiTech business area will be coordinated by the new innovation centre in Hamburg, the German group added.
The Harburg-based plant is also increasing the production of air spring systems which are currently fitted on trains operated by the laregst local public transport company Hamburger Hochbahn, Conti said.
In addition, ContiTech is investing €2.2 million in further materials-related expertise alongside rubber processing.
The group is developing and testing high-performance hose lines for electric vehicles at the plastics competence centre in Hamburg-Harburg.
“There is growing demand in the automotive industry for high-performance technical materials such as plastics,” Conti said.
Hose lines are required in modern vehicles for thermal management, i.e. the targeted heating and cooling of components such as batteries or electric motors, and increase the efficiency and range of batteries significantly.
Continental said its Hamburg location will be responsible for the central development of the hose lines for all production plants worldwide.
The technology group is also offering a training scheme to its semi-skilled and unskilled employees at the site, offering them the “state-recognised” vocational qualification of process mechanic for plastics and rubber technology.
Originally a Phoenix AG production site, the Harburg plant was acquired by Continental in 2004.
The plant traditionally manufactures products made of rubber, including sound and vibration insulation, conveyor-belt systems, and specialist industrial hose systems.