The Phase III expansion of the Changzhou Plant, Continental’s second JV in China with the Jiangsu Changshun Group, has begun. The facility will be used for the development of sustainable and environmentally friendly automotive interior materials.
During the expansion, approximately 12,000m2 of plant buildings, 3,250m2 of raw material warehouses and 1,500m2 of supporting public and auxiliary facilities rooms will be built on an existing piece of land at the site. A total of 1000m2 of existing buildings at the plant will also be renovated and repurposed. The construction and renovation project is scheduled for completion by May 2024.
As part of the project, coating machines, printing presses, mixing equipment, embossing machines and various other public and auxiliary equipment and environmental protection equipment will be purchased. Once completed, the Changzhou Plant will have added an annual capacity of 13,000,000m2 of high-performance composite surface materials, providing an estimated 35,000,000m2 annual capacity of surface materials.
Through this expansion project, Continental will be able to increase the production capacity of its Acella surface material. The material is described as a “high-performance, eco-friendly decorative material” that uses water-based lacquers with low VOC emissions and plasticizers without reproductive toxicity. The material is free from contact allergens and stabilizers containing heavy metals, and antimony trioxide. Having gained the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 label – which denotes that the material meets strict standards for environmental aspects of textile production – the material is widely used for seats and door trims within the automotive sector.
In addition to meeting the demand for Acella in the Chinese market, the pair will also develop and produce environmentally friendly, low-odor, low-temperature resistant PVC artificial leather as part of the Phase III expansion.
“China is the world’s largest consumer market of automobiles, and there is a huge development potential in the local automotive market,” said Dr Dirk Leiss, head of surface solutions business area, Continental. “We have noticed that more and more Chinese car owners have higher demands for their car interiors in terms of materials, design and environmental protection.
“The Phase III expansion project of Continental Changzhou Plant will not only further increase the production capacity of high-quality surface materials to better meet the diverse needs of Chinese car owners but will also create advantages for the company to perform in the large surface material market in China. We will also continue to expand our R&D and manufacturing operation in the China market and provide more smart and sustainable surface solutions to support the rapid growth of local automotive industry.”