As one of the largest tire and automotive technology suppliers in the world, Continental Tire has a goal to develop technologies and services to connect the mobility of people and goods in the most sustainable way. With the opening of the Continental Retread Solutions Development Center in Rock Hill, S.C., Continental is keeping to that promise.

The development center will focus on retread process improvements and technology development, with the goal of bringing innovation and up-to-date retread processes to Continental’s Retread Solutions Partners and the fleets they serve. The center boasts retread technologies aimed at improving the main challenges that retreading faces such as consistent hands-on training from miles away, tracking and managing carcasses, the efficiency of retreading and supporting mega fleet businesses.

One of the major concerns with retreading is the potential that the original carcass will get mixed in with other carcasses and the customer’s retread is not done on the original carcass. To prevent this, the center is testing a machine that can track the carcass throughout the retread process by scanning the sidewall. Utilizing RFID technology, the machine will show the tire’s identification – essentially a tire’s birth certificate – and to ensure the carcass is tracked automatically throughout the retread process.

After the shop scans the tire the RFID technology will then communicate with every other retread machine to say the tire model, size, and tread. From there the machines are automated to those specifications and ensure the correct carcass gets the tread it needs. This can then help to track the life of the tire as well. As the carcass goes through multiple lives, the retread owner can see how the tread and carcass is wearing over time.

To preserve the life of a carcass, the development center also features a Shearography Machine that examines the inside of the tire to find imperfections that are not visible to the human eye. Once the Shearography Machine identifies the imperfections, the retread operator marks the imperfection so it can be addressed further on in the process. Since the casing of a tire is key in the retread process, some fleets require that a tire is scanned by a Shearography Machine prior to the tire being retreaded.

“This center gives us a unique opportunity to continue to make advancements in the retreading part of our business,” says Shaun Uys, Vice President, Truck Tires US. “Not only will we be able to continue to improve our process, but we can also now provide our Continental Retread Solutions Partners with hands on training from miles away.”

Continental is testing out virtual reality goggles to give their retread partners an additional resource. These virtual reality goggles will allow the Continental team to examine the tire, carcass and retread alongside with their partners and answer any questions or concerns that may come up.

As an integrated solutions provider, Continental aims at providing more than just tires to their customers. They partner with their customers to give them the support and training to maximize the life of the Continental tires.

Designed and set up as a retread shop, the center allows the team to test new processes in the same environment that is used by their Continental Retread Solutions Partners to help improve the retread process. This center provides Continental with the ability to train their Continental Retread Solutions Partner right from the center using the same equipment the partners use.

Fleet owners will also be able to tour the center to see a firsthand account of the retread technology that is used on their tires when working with a Continental Retread Solutions Partner. A major concern for fleets when it comes to retreading is the downtime of the equipment. Since the retread facility is set up with the same equipment as a Continental Retread Solutions Partner’s facility, the fleet will be able to see the technologies and processes that a tire will go through during the ContiLifeCycle retreading process.

ContiLifeCycle, Continental’s retread solution process, offers a cradle-to-grave approach to tire management that prolongs the life of your truck and bus tires at every stage. The ContiLifeCycle process begins with a new tire that is built on durable 3G Casings. Continental’s 3G Casings are designed to be retreaded to extend the life of a tire. The ContiLifeCycle is then enhanced by Continental’s digital tire monitoring system, ContiConnect, to ensure the tire is properly inflated to keep the casing in prime condition for future retreads.

With this comprehensive approach, not only does retreading prolong the life of the tire, but it also significantly lowers the total cost of ownership to the fleet and fleet owner and helps to actively protect the environment.

Reusing the casing saves energy and raw materials. By optimizing the use of the casing, it also reduces the number of old tires in circulation and reduces the burden on the environment. According to TRIB, up to 44% of all commercial tires on the road in the US and Canada are retreaded tires. Retreads save approximately 217.5 million gallon of oil and prevent up to 1.4 billion pounds of rubber being added to landfills on an annual basis. They also save 24% on CO2 emissions and save up to 29% of land use compared to a new tire.

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