Continental opens new solution centre in Portugal; to boost digital tech for tyres

Continental opens new solution centre in Portugal; to boost digital tech for tyresTyre manufacturer Continental has opened its new Solution Centre in Lousado, Portugal, which is located in the immediate vicinity of the tyre plant and has cross-functional teams to drive forward targeted digitalisation topics. The company has enlisted specialists from the fields of IT, artificial intelligence and applied analytics, e-commerce and industrial engineering.

They have been tasked with providing global support for the digitalisation of tyre solutions, production processes and business workflows at Continental Tires. The new recruits bring further expertise to the global team of IT specialists and staff in related roles. With the approximately 80 employees, the tyre manufacturer says it is strengthening its global team of various IT specialists and related functions. That number is to be doubled by 2026.

In a recent tyre quality control project, staff from Lousado and the Applied Analytics & AI team at the Tires global R&D hub in Hanover worked together on this project, investigating ways of using artificial intelligence in final inspections on tyres. This will allow artificial intelligence to detect tiny non-compliances that are usually extremely difficult to see with the naked eye. The data gathered also give the experts some handy references to use in continuing to optimise tyre production processes. This new type of AI-assisted tyre quality control is now also set to be used at other tyre factories operated by the manufacturer.

Another team from Lousado is supporting the development of new digital fleet solutions and refining existing ones. One example is the ContiConnect tyre management system. This offers digitally assisted tyre monitoring, allowing for simpler, more efficient and more sustainable tyre management.

Tyre pressure, temperature and service life are monitored, enabling specific recommended actions to be identified. The system achieves this by linking the tyres to sensor systems, telemetry data, algorithms and the cloud, enabling tyre-related breakdowns and failures to be averted and making it easier to plan maintenance and servicing schedules.

This not only ensures much enhanced safety and productivity, but also helps to cut costs as a result of factors such as better fuel economy.

Continental developed parts of the IT infrastructure and the associated apps and web-based user interfaces at the new Solution Centre.

It is one of the biggest employers in the region and Portugal’s fourth largest exporter. At the site in Lousado tyres for passenger cars, agricultural machinery and off-road vehicles are produced. It has a history in Portugal dating back more than 30 years.