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Vittoria Factory Tour – Part 1

Vittoria is an international company and the staff traveled from around the world for this event.

Vittoria operation in Thailand

At Mtbr, we’ve toured quite a few factories and headquarters around the world. Problem is, we rarely see anything being created. We often see stunning 3D printers for prototyping or when we’re lucky, components being assembled in house to create a product.

So we feel very privileged to visit two factories in Thailand where Vittoria tires are produced. What we experienced took our breath away in many ways. We didn’t know what to expect but what we saw would have exceeded those anyway.

Walk along with us and catch a glimpse of the Vittoria operation. We’ll break this up into two parts where this first story will walk you through the factories as we experienced the fascinating tour. The second story will focus on the science and the products created in these facilities.

Ken Avery was the perfect host for this many-stop adventure

Given that we were guaranteed to sit in Bangkok traffic as we visited several factories, Vittoria got a bus, hopefully with good tires.

They put out the welcome mat for a group of journalists and partners. The hospitality and pride of ownership displayed was genuine.

President and founder Rudie Campagne led his crew to ‘open the kimono’ and show the world what they’ve built.

Rudie Campagne has the energy and enthusiasm of a man half his age.

A Passion Project

Vittoria is a passion project by CEO Rudie Campagne. Taking over the revered brand a few decades ago, he has built up a team and invested millions to create the largest premium tire maker in the world. They sell their own line of road and mountain tires under the Vittoria brand but they also have a massive private label business.

As a private label producer Vittoria, through its production base in Thailand called Lion Tire (Thailand) Co. Ltd., they make tires for some of the world’s biggest brands. We asked why the factories are called Lion Tire Company and Rudie said in Thailand, it is considered bad luck to change names. So they kept it the same out of respect for the land and its traditions.

This massive building is responsible for mixing and preparing rubber compounds.

This schematic outlines every inch of the tire manufacturing machine, custom-made for Vittoria

The main reason the facility is in Thailand is the source material, rubber, grows here.

The secret ingredients

Mixer and cooler

One night in Bangkok

Bangkok is a fascinating city and it was the first time there for Mtbr and many of the journalists. It’s hot and humid and it is crowded. From the massive airport, the city spreads out for miles and miles where millions of people call it home. We asked about the population and locals said the census numbers say 9 million people. But they said the real number is more like 12-13 million as folks were sprawled out living everywhere where liveable space exists.

Traffic was difficult as roads and infrastructure were built for a couple of million cars but double that is in use now. Thus scooters and motorcycles were everywhere. Traffic was interesting since although seemingly chaotic, everyone was respectful. Vehicles flowed and you’d rarely hear a honking horn or see an aggressive move.

A couple of interesting tidbits is one, the most popular place to road bike was around the airport. There’s a 15k closed paved loop that is one way, extremely safe with one entrance and exit. Ride it but you have to finish at least an entire lap, or be rescued by a shuttle vehicle. The other factoid is locals said to buy a car in the city, you needed to prove that you have a place to park it.

The special recipe is put together.

Hot and noisy is part of the territory of mixing rubber to the perfect consistency.

The heavy kneading happens here.

Salt, pepper, graphene!!!

Rollers are used to churn the mix over and over again.

Mixing plant yes, but the floors are laboratory clean.

Continue to the next page and a full photo gallery »

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