Hanover, Germany / Bangkok, Thailand, March 15, 2018. The leading technology company Continental celebrated today on March 15th the installation of its first machine at the new tire manufacturing plant in Rayong, Thailand. Around 180 guests, representatives of the Ministry of Industries, Duangjai Asawachintachit, Secretary General of the Thai Board of Investment, as well as Continental management, the local project team, suppliers, dealers and representatives of academic institutions gathered on site to attend the ceremony. The Calendering machine is not only the first, but with almost 100 meters length, also one of the largest machines in the factory. The civil works as well as the machine installation process are according to schedule and will be followed by the official start of production in 2019.
“The investment into the Greenfield tire plant in Thailand is an integral part of our growth strategy called Vision 2025. The combination of innovative German engineering combined with local Thai production capabilities ensures the highest quality tire manufacturing that Thai and Asian consumers are looking for, thus fulfilling our philosophy of ‘In The Market, For The Market’. The pace at which infrastructure development is happening on the Eastern Seaboard is encouraging for us. Therefore, we would like to thank the Thai Government, the Ministry of Industry and the Thai Board of Investment for the support given so far”, highlighted Nikolai Setzer, Member of the Executive Board of Continental and Head of Tire Division.
The German corporation Continental brings over 140 years of tires manufacturing know-how as well as advanced production technologies to Rayong. The Greenfield will have the best in class energy efficiency standards of the global tire manufacturing network. All machines are equipped with technology for sustainable production processes. Higher automation of logistics and handling processes will ensure an ergonomic work environment for future employees.
“The Greenfield tire plant in Rayong is the seventh Greenfield that is ramped up since 1998, and expands the current global manufacturing network of Continental’s Tire Division of 19 tire plants in 16 countries to 20 plants in 17 countries in 2019. We bring not only new technologies, but also our corporate people culture to Thailand, represented by our globally valid core values ‘Trust, Passion to Win, Freedom to Act, and For One Another’. Continental plans to be a leading employer in the Rayong region, too. To achieve this status, we will be spending about three million Euros (117 Million Thai Baht) in training our employees from Rayong. They will be trained at various Continental tire factories in Europe and Asia to ensure an excellent knowledge exchange. And furthermore, we are working on partnering with educational institutions in the region to identify and develop our future talents”, added Bernhard Trilken, Senior Vice President Manufacturing PLT and Tire Logistics.
The speeches were followed by the official installation ceremony: The first machine being installed was a calendaring machine, which coats fabric and steel with rubber, ultimately creating continuous rubber sheets used in the tire production process. The installation moment was kicked off by powering on the tire plant’s own switchyard. This activated a variety of lighting effects, making the Calender-frame of the Calendering machine visible. This part, with a weight of more than 8 tons, was lifted into place by a crane and screwed tight by the VIP guests of the ceremony.
For the targeted annual capacity of four million tires in the first phase, Continental invests 250 million euros (approximately THB 9.75 billion) and establishes a workforce of around 900 employees until 2022. The site allows for a potential capacity expansion of up to 25 million tires per year.