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New ContiTech belt line may prompt expansion at two plants

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MONTVALE, N.J.—ContiTech A.G.'s North American conveyor belt group has come out with a new flame retardant conveyor belt line that likely will lead to the expansion of its two NAFTA region plants.

Its newest line is aimed at the underground mining market in the region, a spokeswoman said, adding that it's the firm's first underground line for the NAFTA market. ContiTech does produce—and will continue to offer—a flame retardant belt line for above-ground mining applications, she said.

The company unveiled the FireSentinel flame retardant conveyor belt line at the Mining Expo, held in mid-October in Acapulco, Mexico.

Its factories in North America—located in Halstead, Kan., and San Luis Potosi, Mexico—eventually will be impacted in the future by the new line. Mixing operations and capacities at both plants are expected to be expanded, the spokeswoman said.

Company officials did not provide further details, including cost or a timetable, on expansion plans at the facilities.

Designed at ContiTech's research and development laboratory in Northeim, Germany, the FireSentinel belt line provides "a safe, high performance compound for underground mining applications," according to Christoph Seeger, market director for ContiTech Conveyor Belt North America.

Its newest line of products gives it "a diverse product portfolio to ensure the right product is available for each underground mining application," he said.

FireSentinel exceeds the requirements of MSHA (Mine Safety and Health Administration) CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) Title 30, Part 14, which is a requirement for belting used underground.

The belts are available in widths with constructions from 3-330 to 6-2220, the company said. It added that the cover thickness of the belts can be selected to fit the application.

All ContiTech factories—but especially those in Mexico, Greece, Germany and, in the future, Halstead—will produce the FirstSentinel belt line, the spokeswoman said.

The Halstead six-plant complex, ContiTech's first and only belt manufacturing operation in the U.S., was acquired in July when the company bought the assets of Legg Company Inc., a producer of a wide range of belting for the agricultural and industrial markets.

That purchase opened the door to further expansion in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Since then the company, a division of Continental A.G., has been adapting its strategies to the U.S. market in an effort to build the business, Seeger said.

Adding the FirstSentinel line of underground belts to its portfolio is part of its growth plan, he said.

ContiTech also bolstered its North American operation with the addition of a customer service center at its North American headquarters in Montvale.