Continental is celebrating an agricultural milestone: ninety years ago, the technology company Continental launched its first pneumatic tractor tyre. What started life as an innovative product idea in 1928 developed over subsequent decades into a success story. Market innovations, such as the T2 and T4 tractor tyres in the 1920s and 1930s, and the AS farmer tyre in 1955, are what characterise the company’s tradition. Continental is now continuing this established tradition with its new premium radial tyres with flexible N.flex carcass, new d.fine lug technology and special bead design.
“Over the last ninety years, we have repeatedly proven how agriculture customers all over the World can rely on Continental as a partner to provide innovative and efficient solutions,” says Enno Straten, Head of Commercial Specialty Tyres (CST) at Continental. “Mega-trends such as digitisation, connectivity and automation are significantly changing the face of the agricultural sector and the everyday work of farmers, and the productivity of agricultural machinery, including suitable tyres, plays a key role in this. For this reason, we will continue our work to develop and expand our portfolio of agricultural tyres in the future.”
Innovators From Start to Finish
The story of Continental’s agricultural tyres begins in 1928, when the company launched Europe’s first pneumatic agricultural tyre in the form of the T2 agricultural tractor tyre (AS). It was only four years later when the next development, the T3 AS tyre, impressed customers with its optimised tread and improved tractive force. Continental revolutionised the market once again in 1938: as Germany’s first tyre manufacturer, the company decided not to link individual tread lugs in its new T4 AS tyre. Since then, the tread lugs in agricultural tractor tyres have been separated in the tread center, which created a higher tractive force. More than this, minimal slip ensured effective interlocking with the soil, rendering chains and grippers redundant. Finally, in 1955, an especially robust and high-grip tyre arrived on the market in the form of the Continental Farmer (AS). Thanks to a new ribbing with tapered, reinforced cleats, widening of the lug tread and improved self-cleaning properties, the Farmer tyre demonstrated a 20 percent increase in traction on virtually all soils compared with previous models.
Internationalisation and Sale of License to CGS/Mitas
Continental was expanding its business internationally by the end of the 20th century, and markets in North America and Europe formed the focus of its expansion in particular. In 2004, the agricultural tyre segment was sold off as a result of concentrating its business as a whole. In the course of this sale, the license for production and marketing agricultural tyres under the Continental brand passed to CGS/Mitas. The development and sale of products and solutions from the Continental Automotive segment continued unaffected, and customer demand for Continental’s agricultural tyres continued to increase.
2017: The Success Story Continues
In 2016, Continental reacquired its brand rights ahead of schedule, and returned to the agricultural tyre market in 2017 with its Tractor70 and Tractor85 premium radial tyres. Both tyres originate from in-house production: they are made in the new state-of-the-art production facility in Lousado, Portugal. The tyres are distinguished by their extreme robustness and durability, while at the same time guaranteeing a high degree of ride comfort, soil preservation and tractive force. Both standard tyres feature Continental’s innovative, patented N.flex technology, which increases impact absorption thanks to the nylon textile, and improves shock absorption thanks to its robust carcass.
In August 2018, Continental added the new TractorMaster radial tyre with leading-edge d.fine technology to its portfolio. There is no end in sight to the ninety year-long success story, though. Continental will also be expanding its portfolio of agricultural radial tyres, and it will offer a total of 100 sizes by 2019.
An overview of the whole Continental agricultural tyre history can be found here: https://www.continental-tyres....