I began my two-week tire building training in January with a brief tour around the entire plant, visiting the mixing area and the curing area, ending up in the area I would be working on for the next two weeks: SAV machines 1 to 4, which builds tires ranging from sizes 20-35 inches.
At first glance, the machines looked reasonably easy to use, seeing how fast the operators were manning the machines and the various components that make up a tire. But when I was given the opportunity to try putting a tire together, after 3 days of observation and learning – boy, it was tough! Not only were the different components heavy (such as the sidewalls and thread), but my coordination of my feet to activate the machine using the pedals were disastrous! I sustained minor cuts and pokes on my fingers, and always returned home with blackened hands and the smell of rubber on my clothes.
But by the beginning of my second week of tire building training, I had become more familiar with the machines and the components, and by the end of my training, I had become an expert (to my own judgment)! I started to have so much fun building a tire, and kept aiming to complete a tire in a shorter amount of time. My trainers were always so helpful and their extensive knowledge on tire building certainly passed onto me.
I can say without a doubt that the most interesting part of my tire building training was putting the different components together and finally seeing how a green tire (referring to the uncured state of the tire) was produced and sent to curing to be ‘cooked’ and shaped with the desired patterns. Driving a car to work never made me wonder how the different parts were made, and finally now I know! I had also never known that the process of tire building in Continental Tyre PJ was still so manual, and having to stand for hours in a row carrying heavy components and machine parts made me appreciate the work that the operators do every single day.
I hope to see several improvements in the future, mainly in the way we appreciate the operators working in plants. At Continental Tyre PJ, we carry out festivals and events and invite all operators to join in the fun, and I can observe the joy that the operators feel when we celebrate all together. This can definitely be pushed more, encouraging the interactions between production and office employees. Based on my experience in the plant for two weeks, I bonded well with the operators and it was beneficial on my part to be able to learn from the real experts. I also hope that the tire building or plant training will be applied to more positions, not only for trainee programs, as I believe that knowing the production process and components of the product you are endorsing is extremely vital for every employee at Continental. Even other colleagues of mine inquired on attending the tire building training like I did.
I will always remember my two weeks in the plant, getting down and dirty in building a tire which I can confidently say I can successfully do, and not a single family member or non-Continental friend of mine can say the same! I thank my tire building trainers, my training & development supervisor at Continental Tyre PJ and my trainee coach for organizing my tire building for me, and for allowing me to share my experience with you!
You are interested in becoming a trainee yourself? Click here for more information.