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      Press Release
      April 12, 2023

      Continental Changzhou Plant Launches Phase III Expansion Project to Develop Eco-friendly Automotive Interior Materials

      • Phase III expansion project will further increase the production capacity for Acella surface materials
      • Phase III expansion project fully implements the material-driven concept and embraces sustainable and smart production

      Technology company Continental announced the official start of the Phase III expansion project of Changzhou Plant, its second joint venture in China with Jiangsu Changshun Group.

      Over the course of the project, approximately 12,000 m2 ofplant buildings, 3,250 m2 of raw material warehouses and 1,500 m2 of supporting public and auxiliary facilities rooms will be constructed on a portion of the existing land of Changzhou plant site and on an additional 9.2 mu (≈6,000 m2) of land. In addition, about 1,000 m2 of the existing plant buildings will be renovated. The completion of the project is scheduled for May 2024.

      In terms of equipment, during the Phase III expansion project coating machines, printing presses, mixing equipment, embossing machines and various public and auxiliary equipment and environmental protection equipment will be purchased. Changzhou Plant is expected to add an annual capacity of 13 million m2 of high-performance composite surface materials, bringing the total expected annual capacity of surface materials to 35 million m2.

      Dr. Dirk Leiss, head of Surface Solutions business area at Continental, says, “China is the world’s largest consumer market of automobiles, and there is a huge development potential in the local automotive market. 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.”

      Production capacity for Acella surface materials will be increased again

      Continental’s Acella surface material is a high-performance, eco-friendly decorative material. The product uses water-based lacquers with low VOC emissions and plasticizers without reproductive toxicity, and is free from contact allergens, stabilizers containing heavy metals, and antimony trioxide. It has been certified with the OEKO-TEX STANDARD 100 label. The OEKO-TEX certification set strict standards for environmental aspects of textile production. Since more than 125 years, Acella is a well-known surface material brand of Continental. It is widely used by leading automobile manufacturers in automotive interior parts such as seats and door trims.

      The demand for Acella surface materials in China has been increasing since the start-up of Changzhou plant. By 2022, the plant has produced a total of 100 million square meters of Acella surface materials. In the phase III expansion project, Changzhou Plant will increase its production capacity again after the second expansion in 2018 to further enhance the competitiveness of Acella in China. In addition, the patented development and production of a variety of environmentally friendly, low-odor, low-temperature resistant PVC artificial leather will also be a highlight of the phase III expansion project of Changzhou plant.

      Sustainable and intelligent manufacturing concept will be implemented in the Phase III expansion project

      The key words “sustainable”, “emission reduction” and “eco-friendly” are not only trends in the development of the automotive interior industry, but also an essential part of Continental’s goal of building green plants. In the phase III expansion project, the Changzhou plant will practice the concept of LEED and China Green Industrial Building in the design and construction period, reflected in the following areas: The roof of the plant buildings will be completely covered with solar PV panels; new equipment heating methods will be used and energy regulation systems, wastewater treatment and recycling systems, rainwater-collecting system will be installed; both natural light and LED luminaires will be used to illuminate the interior of the plant buildings, while solar streetlights and materials which could reduce the heat island effect will illuminate the outdoor area.

      The phase III expansion project of Changzhou plant will also feature smart production facilities. By introducing automated equipment into the production processes of automatic defect detection and identification system, AGV, sample delivery robot, Changzhou Plant has achieved a highly stable production process and product quality, resulting in a significant increase in operational efficiency and product qualification rate.

      Continental and Jiangsu Changshun Group have completed the signing of the investment agreement for the phase III expansion project of Changzhou Plant. The detailed land plan and construction plan for the phase III expansion project has also been approved.

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