Continental has been setting standards for greater sustainability with its retreading of truck tires since 1903. The premium tire manufacturer has been using retreading to extend the service life of tires for more than 120 years – conserving resources and reducing costs. Continental retreads more than one million truck and bus tires worldwide every year. According to a study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology (UMSICHT), retreaded tires reduce CO2 emissions by up to 50 % compared to new tires. The amount of recycled and renewable materials in retreaded tires can be up to 85 %. In terms of traction, grip and safety, retreaded tires from Continental are every bit a match for new tires.
Jorge Almeida, Head of Sustainability at Continental Tires
Turning old into new: hot and cold retreading
Among other things, tires consist of a casing and tread. However, the casing may still be completely intact, while the tread has reached the end of its service life. Approximately 70 % of truck and bus tires were considered retreadable in 2022, based on industry reports and studies of tire manufacturing practices.
As part of the retreading process, the remaining tread rubber and, in the case of hot retreading, the sidewall of the tire are buffed and restored. This prepares the casing for a second and third tire life.
Retreading process for truck and bus tires
From recovering reclaimed rubber to the fully integrated ContiLifeCycle plant
Continental plant in Seelze in the Hanover region
Continental set another important milestone in the retreading of truck tires in 2013 when it opened the ContiLifeCycle plant in the Stöcken district of Hanover. The distinctive feature of this plant is its combination of a retreading and a recycling plant. With an integrated approach consisting of hot retreading for truck and bus tires as well as a rubber recycling system developed specifically for the ContiLifeCycle plant, the company has been actively promoting the sustainable use of raw materials, water and energy for a decade. Since 2013, around 900 000 truck and bus tires have been given an extended service life through retreading at the plant in Hanover-Stöcken.
Added value for fleet customers
Tansu Isik, Head of Region South, Channels Fleet and OE Trailer for Continental Tires EMEA
Expanding the circular economy
The retreading activities are an example of Continental's intelligent circular economy solutions. The environment benefits from retreading, as the use of valuable resources such as crude oil, natural rubber and water can be significantly reduced. In addition, retreading helps to save CO2 emissions, as it requires up to 70 % less energy compared to the production of a new tire. The fact that a large proportion of the casing can be reused contributes to the cost efficiency.
ContiLifeCycle plant for retreading truck and bus tires at Continental at the Stöcken, Hanover, site