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R&D LABS

OUR R&D LABS

Cutting Workshop

The cutting workshop at Hanover-Stöcken is the only one of  its kind in the world, so its work is commissioned by Continental tyre developers from every region. The cutting workshop's USPs (Unique Selling Propositions) are its great flexibility and the  speed, with which it can produce test tyres. Cutting by hand is faster and more flexible than working with moulds, because it eliminates the substantial design and production effort involved  in producing a mould.

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The cutting workshop starts from smooth tyres which are similar  to slicks. Alternatively, series production tyres can also be individually modified. When working  on  the tread, tyre  cutters have  a maximum of two tenths of a millimetre of deviation. So, concentration is essential, as a single incorrect cut can ruin days  of work. All the cutting knives are produced by hand on a specially designed knife bending station.


Depending on complexity, the costs for a single tyre mould, for a snow tyre for  example, can easily run to 5-digit, and that's just for a single tyre size, such as 195/55/R16. Given the Continental family's roughly six thousand different tyre products in their various brands and sizes, mould production calls for a huge  capital outlay by each tyre plant. Only once all test series have been completed after three to five years and the tread pattern has been “frozen”, i.e. definitively set, does series production of the moulds for mass production  begin. Switching to a different rubber compound for the tyre at a later stage is  not a problem, but modifying the tread is far more complex and costly.

Cutting_Workshop


Depending on requirements, robots are also used for tyre cutting, ensuring  a high level of automation and reproducibility. However, tyre designers often want to see a new concept quickly, take the physical form and CAD programming the cutting robots would be too time-consuming. Hand-cut tyres can  be put straight to use for many standard tread tests, while other frequent  tasks include requests from OE customers for exhibitions and trade fairs, as well as show tyres for particular events (e.g. Tour de France, World Cup).

 

An experienced tyre cutter will need around six hours to cut a summer tyre, while a snow tyre with all its fine sipes for optimum grip on snow will take around 40 hours.

 

Training to be a Continental tyre cutter takes two years and the job demands great sensitivity, manual skill and a very good eye.