Successful collaboration between two premium manufacturers
The partnership between Continental Industrial Tyres and the world’s leading champagne producer Moët et Chandon is now entering its tenth year. A visit to the extensive wine cellars in Epernay in France shows why fine champagne and Continental industrial tyres go so well together.
Continental Tyres, Germany’s leading manufacturer of industrial tyres, has been working with Moët et Chandon, one of the world’s best known and most prestigious vintners, for many years. The quality of Moët et Chandon champagne is as highly-regarded worldwide as is that of Continental industrial tyres. There is, however, even more common ground in the long-standing venture between the two premium suppliers.
Just as Continental Industrial Tyres are able to develop and produce products tailored specifically to customers’ specifications and requirements, so the vintners and champagne makers at Moët et Chandon are able to meet individual demands. Both companies can also look back on long traditions. Admittedly, the champagne manufacturer was founded in 1743, making it older than Continental, which was established in 1871. Continental produces over 100 million tyres every year. In 2008 Moët et Chandon produced some 36 million bottles of champagne, with a good 100 million bottles being stored in the manufacturer’s cellars, up to 35 metres below the ground.
Once these fine champagnes have duly matured in the chalkstone cellars, the time comes for them to travel. Eighty per cent of the company’s production is exported, mainly to the USA and Japan. Moët et Chandon uses around 90 forklifts, which are currently fitted with Continental SC20 tyres, following the company’s positive experience with the tyre’s predecessor, the SC15.
One of the main reasons for choosing these forklift tyres from Continental is that they do not contain any materials that generate nitrosamines, so there is no risk of tyre wear particles contaminating the fine wine. "We have the highest quality standards and have to meet the standards set by the foodstuffs industry", explains Thierry Manteau, who has been responsible for maintenance and warehousing at Moët et Chandon for the past twenty years and He is one of around 1,100 staff working for this long-established company. For him, however, the mileage performance and traction offered by the Continental tyres, together with their suspension characteristics, are an equally persuasive argument. The tyre’s suspension is an important feature when it comes to transporting the fragile bottles – and ensuring that the corks do not pop prematurely.
The corridors in the wine cellars at Moët et Chandon are around 28 kilometres in total length and the forklifts are in use here for an average of 600 hours per year in single shifts, with a second shift being scheduled if the need arises. Thierry Manteau has two staff members solely to look after the electric forklifts. Aprolis, a subsidiary of Cat Lift Trucks, is responsible for the maintenance of the vehicles. Cat Lift Trucks belongs to the well-known manufacturer Caterpillar and relies on Continental tyres as Original Equipment, using the SC20, sizes 180/70-8 and 125/75-8, for Moët et Chandon. The company leases the forklifts from Aprolis, who carry out all the repairs and maintenance in the champagne producer’s workshop using a mobile press. This ensures that there are always sufficient supplies from the world’s most famous cultivation area for those special festive occasions – after all, one of the brand’s champagne corks pops somewhere in the world every two seconds.