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Greenville Business Magazine

The Business Narrative: Development Center

Mar 25, 2024 09:16AM ● By Donna Walker

Continental Tire Opens New Retread Solutions Center

As one of the largest tire and automotive technology suppliers in the world, Continental Tire has a goal to develop technologies and services to connect the mobility of people and goods in the most sustainable way.


With the opening of the Continental Retread Solutions Development Center in Rock Hill, South Carolina, Continental said on March 21, 2024, it is keeping that promise. 


The development center will focus on retread process improvements and technology development, with the goal of bringing innovation and up-to-date retread processes to Continental’s Retread Solutions Partners and the fleets they serve. 


The center boasts retread technologies aimed at improving the main challenges that retreading faces such as consistent hands-on training from miles away, tracking and managing carcasses, the efficiency of retreading, and supporting mega fleet businesses.


Continental the same day celebrated expansion of its tire headquarters campus in South Carolina, officially opening a new sustainably designed facility in Lancaster County.


The three-story, 90,000-square-foot-builing, which sits on 33 acres, has the capacity for 350 employees and is designed and built for future expansion potential.


Company officials said one of the major concerns with retreading is the potential that the original carcass will get mixed in with other carcasses and the customer’s retread is not done on the original carcass.


To prevent this, the center is testing a machine that can track the carcass throughout the retread process by scanning the sidewall.


Using RFID technology, the machine will show the tire’s identification – essentially a tire’s birth certificate – and to ensure the carcass is tracked automatically throughout the retread process. 


After the shop scans the tire the RFID technology will then communicate with every other retread machine to say the tire model, size, and tread.


From there, the machines are automated to those specifications and ensure the correct carcass gets the tread it needs. This can then help to track the life of the tire as well, according to company officials.


As the carcass goes through multiple lives, the retread owner can see how the tread and carcass is wearing over time. 


To preserve the life of a carcass, the development center also features a Shearography Machine that examines the inside of the tire to find imperfections that are not visible to the human eye.


Once the Shearography Machine identifies the imperfections, the retread operator marks the imperfection so it can be addressed further in the process.


Since the casing of a tire is key in the retread process, some fleets require that a tire is scanned by a Shearography Machine before the tire is retreaded. 


“This center gives us a unique opportunity to continue to make advancements in the retreading part of our business,” says Shaun Uys, vice president of Truck Tires US. “Not only will we be able to continue to improve our process, but we can also now provide our Continental Retread Solutions Partners with hands-on training from miles away.”  


Continental said it is testing virtual reality goggles to give their retread partners an additional resource. Company officials said the virtual reality goggles will allow the Continental team to examine the tire, carcass and retread alongside their partners, and answer any questions or concerns that may come up.


As an integrated solutions provider, Continental aims to provide more than just tires to their customers. It partners with their customers to give them the support and training to maximize the life of the Continental tires.


Designed and set up as a retread shop, the center allows the team to test new processes in the same environment that is used by their Continental Retread Solutions Partners to help improve the retread process.


The center provides Continental with the ability to train their Continental Retread Solutions Partner right from the center using the same equipment the partners use. 


Fleet owners will also be able to tour the center to see a firsthand account of the retread technology that is used on their tires when working with a Continental Retread Solutions Partner.


A major concern for fleets when it comes to retreading is the downtime of the equipment.


Officials said since the retread facility is set up with the same equipment as a Continental Retread Solutions Partner’s facility, the fleet will be able to see the technologies and processes that a tire will go through during the ContiLifeCycle retreading process.


Officials said the ContiLifeCycle, Continental’s retread solution process, offers a cradle-to-grave approach to tire management that prolongs the life of your truck and bus tires at every stage.


The ContiLifeCycle process begins with a new tire that is built on durable 3G Casings. Continental's 3G Casings are designed to be retreaded to extend the life of a tire.


The ContiLifeCycle is then enhanced by Continental’s digital tire monitoring system, ContiConnect, to ensure the tire is properly inflated to keep the casing in prime condition for future retreads. 


With this comprehensive approach, not only does retreading prolong the life of the tire, but it also significantly lowers the total cost of ownership to the fleet and fleet owner and helps to actively protect the environment, according to Continental officials.


The officials said reusing the casing saves energy and raw materials. Optimizing the use of the casing also reduces the number of old tires in circulation and reduces the burden on the environment.


According to TRIB, up to 44 percent of all commercial tires on the road in the U.S. and Canada are retreaded tires.


Retreads save approximately 217.5 million gallons of oil and prevent up to 1.4 billion pounds of rubber from being added to landfills on an annual basis.


They also save 24 percent on CO2 emissions and save up to 29 percent on land use compared to a new tire.

AFL Announces Multi-Million-Dollar Investment, Expansion to U.S. Fiber Optic Cable Manufacturing Operations

Spartanburg, South Carolina-based AFL, a manufacturer of fiber optic cables, connectivity and equipment, announced an investment of over $50 million to expand its fiber optic cable manufacturing operations in South Carolina.


Company officials said the investment aligns with the Biden-Harris administration’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and Internet for All initiatives to increase broadband access in the U.S., and will result in the creation of new jobs and support AFL’s portfolio of products compliant with the Build America, Buy America Act (BABA).


“This expansion highlights AFL's commitment to providing an end-to-end BABA compliant cable and connectivity portfolio for our valued U.S. customers and represents a significant milestone toward AFL’s ongoing contribution to a stronger, more connected future for all communities across the country,” said Jaxon Lang, AFL president and CEO.


The announcement builds on AFL’s previous investment of more than $35 million in the expansion of domestic cable manufacturing to support broadband deployment and modernization of the power grid.


The expansions also continue AFL’s four-decade long commitment to job creation and U.S. manufacturing, company officials said.


Key highlights of the expansion include:

* Increased production capacity to meet the surging demand for fiber optic cable.

* Creation of new jobs at AFL’s manufacturing facilities, boosting the local economy.

* Development of innovative and sustainable fiber optic cable solutions.

* Commitment to using U.S. made materials and supporting the domestic supply chain.


Founded in 1984, AFL is an international manufacturer providing end-to-end solutions to the energy, service provider, enterprise, hyperscale and industrial markets.


The company’s products are in use in over 130 countries and include fiber optic cable and hardware, transmission and substation accessories, outside plant equipment, connectivity, test and inspection equipment, and fusion splicers.  


AFL also offers a variety of services supporting data center, enterprise, wireless and outside plant applications.


AFL has operations in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujikura Ltd. of Japan.

Greenville, SC, Hires First Economic Development Corporation President/CEO

The city of Greenville has hired Sam Konduros to lead business recruitment, investor relations and work collaboratively with economic development partners for the Greenville City Economic Development Corporation (GCEDC).


Konduros, who describes himself as “mission-driven” and an “entrepreneur at heart,” is a licensed attorney, certified economic developer and Realtor.


He’s held multiple business leadership roles regionally and statewide, including president/CEO of Upstate SC Alliance and president/CEO of SCbio.


Konduros began his career at the South Carolina Department of Commerce where he helped recruit a wave of international companies into South Carolina.


He is a graduate of Clemson University and the University of South Carolina School of Law.


He was designated as a “Knowledge Economist” by South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) and was awarded the Order of the Palmetto by the governor in 2018.


“The City of Greenville prides itself in its innovation and 24/7 vibrance. Sam is a dynamic, high-energy leader, with decades of experience and strong relationships. It’s a perfect pairing,” Mayor Knox White said in a statement.


White added, “Through his service on the Board of Directors at the Greenville Chamber and executive roles at partner agencies, Sam has the institutional knowledge of an insider, but will bring fresh perspective to the City of Greenville’s economic development efforts.”


The GCEDC was established by City Council in June of 2023 to implement the city’s Economic Development Strategic Plan with a focus on real estate and property development, small and minority business, retail, marketing, investor relations and business recruitment.


The GCEDC is a 501(c)3 with a board of directors and the ability to raise private funds.


Konduros, who lives in Greenville County, is expected to begin his new role in April.

State Treasurer Recognizes William Smyly of Colleton County High School as Educator of the Month

South Carolina Treasurer Curtis Loftis has recognized Colleton County School District’s William Smyly of Colleton County High School in Walterboro as the South Carolina Financial Literacy Master Teacher Program’s Educator of the Month for March.


“Personal finance education plays an important part in preparing our students for future success,” Loftis said. “We appreciate our master teachers, like William Smyly, who enhance our young people’s understanding of money management and help them avoid behaviors that are harmful to financial well-being.”


Smyly holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from USC Aiken and an MBA from Western Governors University. He went on to earn his teaching license through the South Carolina Department of Education’s PACE Program. 


Smyly has taught at Colleton County High School for six years and recently received Project-Based Learning and Online Teaching endorsements from VirtualSC.


In addition to serving as an educator, he is also a licensed real estate professional.


“Students today are expected to enter the real world with skills and knowledge that make them competitive in the job market,” Smyly said.


He added, “It’s our job as educators to train them for the future, and one way we can do that is by teaching them basic money management techniques and career skills so they can make better financial decisions in life, from college planning to buying their first home and everything in between.”


The South Carolina Financial Literacy Master Teacher Program provides incentives to K-12 teachers who are experts in the area of financial literacy and have a desire to teach professional development workshops to other educators in their schools and districts.


Through the program, participating teachers have access to specialized training and financial literacy curriculum resources that better enable them to promote financial literacy education in K-12 schools.


Sponsored by Future Scholar, South Carolina’s 529 College Savings Plan, and in partnership with SC Economics, the statewide financial literacy initiative aims to increase teacher support and involvement in incorporating personal finance education into the curriculum.

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