Continental Tyres opens new Solution Center in Lousado, Portugal

Tyre manufacturer Continental has taken another step towards the future with the opening of its new Solution Center in Lousado, Portugal. The Solution Center is located in close proximity to the tyre plant, and cross-functional teams are working on targeted digitalization topics. The company has enlisted specialists from the fields of IT, artificial intelligence, and applied analytics, among others, to provide global support for the digitalization of tyre solutions, production processes, and business workflows at Continental Tyres.

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Continental Tyres
Published on
April 24, 2023

The center was formally inaugurated on April 20, 2023, by Christian Kötz, Head of the Tyres group sector and member of the Executive Board of Continental AG, in the presence of employees. The approximately 80 employees working at the Solution Center are experts in various IT and related roles, and the company plans to double that number by 2026.

Christian Kötz (from left to right), Head of the Continental Tires group sector, opening the new Solution Center in Lousado, Portugal, alongside Lars Frische, Lutz Fricke, José Gouveia, Pedro Carreira and Henry Fischer.

According to Kötz, the Lousado site's highly skilled employees will support the global team with new digital business models and a digital solution ecosystem for premium tyres. Pedro Carreira, Head of the Continental Tyres plant in Lousado and one of the board members of the Solution Center, added that the nearby universities of Porto and Braga are ideal for the recruitment of highly skilled new employees.

Lutz Fricke, Head and board member of the Solution Center, together with the two other board members, Pedro Carreira and Henry Fischer (on the right), together with Christian Kötz, are looking forward to the upcoming tasks related to the digitization of tire solutions.

The added value of the Solution Center is already apparent. One example is a recent tyre quality control project that involved staff from Lousado and the Applied Analytics & AI team at the Tyres global research and development hub in Hanover. The project investigated ways of using artificial intelligence in final inspections on tyres 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 optimize tyre production processes. This new type of AI-assisted tyre quality control is now 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. The ContiConnect tyre management system is an example of this work. The system 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 links the tyres to sensor systems, telemetry data, algorithms, and the cloud, making it easier to plan maintenance and servicing schedules while enhancing safety and productivity and cutting costs.

Christian Kötz (right to left) has a tour around the Solution Center together with Pedro Carreira, Lutz Fricke and employees.

Continental is one of the biggest employers in the region and Portugal's fourth-largest exporter. The Lousado site produces tyres for passenger cars, agricultural machinery, and off-road vehicles. With a history in Portugal dating back more than 30 years, Continental is a dependable partner that values its history but is also committed to innovation in both tyre manufacturing and automotive technology.

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