Joe Benavides, head of Continental’s new indoor test facility, and Uvalde officials Lalo Zamora, Vince DiPiazza, Juan Hernandez, Daniel Rodriguez and Joe Cardenas (left to right) listen to an explanation of one of the many tests conducted at the site. A ribbon cutting and tour took place last Wednesday. (Uvalde Leader-News photo by Craig Garnett)

Continental celebrated the opening of its $11 million advanced indoor evaluation center last Wednesday with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the company’s proving grounds located seven miles south of Uvalde on the Batesville highway. 

Continental director of Global Evaluation and Tire Additional Performance Thomas Neddenriep and local dignitaries attended the ceremony.

“The new advanced indoor evaluation center offers the latest technology in tire testing, allowing Continental to offer industry-leading products and services to our original equipment customers,” said Neddenriep. “Continental is committed to being a preferred technology partner and our new center allows us to increase the speed in which we develop new technologies and offer them to our partners.”

The advanced indoor evaluation center, located in a 15,000-square-foot, climate-controlled facility, is optimized to provide indoor testing capacity for all passenger and light truck tires. Cost of the building was $6.4 million with an additional $4.7 million spent on equipment. Testing in the facility began in April.

According to officials, the new facility is designed to conduct up to 6,700 tests per year and alleviate pressure on the company’s testing facility in Hanover, Germany. Tests conducted in Uvalde include plunger and bead unseat, stiffness and pressure distribution, force and moment, contour and weight and shore.

The 5,000-acre Continental Proving Ground-Uvalde was first opened in 1959 as a testing site for General Tire. In 1987, Continental AG acquired the facility, which now includes 11 different courses: a three-lane 8.5 mile high speed oval; various asphalt, cement, gravel, dirt and off-road rock courses; and numerous high performance and special test courses.

Approximately 180 people are employed at the Uvalde testing grounds.

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