Continental says it is expanding its production site in the Harburg district of Hamburg, Germany, into a tech campus with a range of business units.

Products such as air spring systems that enhance ride comfort on the Hamburger Hochbahn (Hamburg's largest public transport company), the establishment of a new training institute for semi-skilled and unskilled employees, a center for innovation and digitalization and a new center of competence for plastics are examples of this transformation. "Thanks to continuous investment and a future-oriented approach, the plant has developed from a former rubber processing site to a location where solutions for the mobility of the future both on and off the road are designed and produced," explains Dr. Peter Scholtissek, who heads the Harburg location.

New Plastics Competence Center develops hose lines for electric vehicles

In addition to its newly-created capacities, Continental is investing in further materials-related expertise alongside rubber processing. Some 2.2 million euro was invested in the Plastics Competence Center in Hamburg-Harburg, where high-performance hose lines for electric vehicles are developed and tested. There is growing demand in the automotive industry for high-performance technical materials such as plastics. Hose lines are required in modern vehicles for thermal management, i.e. the targeted heating and cooling of components such as batteries or electric motors. Efficiency and range can thus be significantly increased. In this function, Continental's Hamburg location is responsible for central product development for all of the company's production plants worldwide.

Further training for the specialists of tomorrow

At the Hamburg location, Continental is investing not only in machinery, but also in people: The company is offering its semi-skilled and unskilled employees a step-by-step qualification for the state-recognized vocational qualification of process mechanic for plastics and rubber technology. This continuing education and training opportunity from the "Continental Institute of Technology and Transformation" (CITT), founded in 2019, completes the location's package for employee qualifications, which also includes measures to integrate the long-term unemployed and provide career orientation for young people..

Rubber is an indispensable part of everyday life

"Even though the Hamburg manufacturing plant is being transforming into a diverse and future-oriented technology location, the traditional production of rubber compounds will remain an integral part of the plant premises," says Scholtissek. Rubber keeps the modern world in motion and is the key to pioneering developments and technical innovations. This unique material functions and works in almost every sector of industry and across everyday life – whether as drive belts in washing machines, car or bicycle tires or conveyor belts for transporting overburden in large infrastructure projects. At the same time, Continental's Hamburg location, with its innovative clusters and smart solutions, is helping to shape the structural transformation to Industry 4.0 and is ensuring the availability of qualified personnel.