Tire Industry
Customer Interview
When Alexander Rykov, Maintenance Team Supervisor at the Yaroslavl Tyre Plant, first studied Cimcorp’s technical drawings, functional descriptions and other project documentation four years ago, he could barely imagine what kind of system the company would deliver.

“It was just theory,” Rykov says, “but when the system was finally installed at our plant and taken into production, it was quite amazing. It’s an incredibly modern system and I’m extremely proud of it. The Cimcorp solution integrates all the other machines and devices into one total solution, a seamless production line.”

It was three years ago that Cordiant – which owns the facility, along with two other tire factories in Russia – decided to invest in Cimcorp’s Dream Factory solution at the Yaroslavl Tyre Plant. As well as the robotic material handling system from Cimcorp, the company invested in new production machinery in order to increase capacity for modern all-steel tires up to 650,000 units a year.

The Dream Factory concept provides total material flow, from tire building to tire finishing and storage in the warehouse. The Cimcorp system, now in full production, receives green tires from the building machines and conveys them to the spraying area, where Cimcorp’s linear robot loads and unloads the spraying station.

Green tires are then conveyed to the curing buffer (that is, the green tire storage area), which is operated by Cimcorp’s gantry robots. From here, Cimcorp’s monorail transfer system delivers the green tires to the curing presses. Cured tires are then conveyed to the finishing area where more gantry robots sort and store finished tires and serve the finishing machines. Tires are then conveyed from the finishing area to the warehouse, ready for delivery to customers.

All operations – by the robots, conveyors and process machines – are managed by Cimcorp’s WCS (Warehouse Control Software) and MES (Manufacturing Execution System) to provide a continuous flow through this part of the group’s flagship plant. This computer control takes care of tire data management, recipe management and tracking, as well as ensuring the critical 100% availability of green tires at the curing presses. According to Rykov, no other Cordiant tire plant has such a modern material handling system.

Our department – from tire building to spraying, curing, final finishing and then the warehouse – is the only part of our plant where the material flow is totally automated, thanks to Cimcorp’s material handling systems.

Fitting into existing facilities

Alexander Rykov was involved with the automation project from the very beginning, including the planning stages during which the systems had to be adapted to suit the existing buildings. The robotic systems fit within the factory with no more room than inside a traditional set of Russian dolls. The facility of the OJSC Yaroslavl Tyre Plant was founded back in 1932. The nature of the site was a problem that the three partners involved in the project – the design and engineering (planning) company, Cimcorp and Cordiant – had to work hard to solve.

“We had to fit the most modern robotic technology into old buildings. It has been quite a challenge,” Rykov admits. “In addition, having three partners in the project brought additional difficulties.”

The challenges resulted in a significant number of changes to the planned equipment as the project progressed, causing some delays in the start-up of the system. “We had to make changes that neither Cimcorp nor Cordiant wanted, nor were willing to do,” explains Rykov. “We just had to do them due to the circumstances.”

The installation was performed in stages, starting with the finishing buffer and continuing with the press area, curing buffer and building area automation. Step by step, as new equipment was installed and tested, any challenges were overcome by the Cimcorp and Cordiant teams. According to Rykov, Cimcorp was an adaptable partner:

“The Cimcorp project team reacted quickly; plans and drawings were modified rapidly and modifications made in due course.”

In particular, Rykov praises the communication skills of Cimcorp’s personnel: “It has been a great help that Cimcorp had a Russian-speaking site manager; it has definitely made life easier,” admits Rykov, “even though technical language is often easy to understand between technicians and engineers from different countries.”

Non-stop production

Alexander Rykov is now responsible for the maintenance of the equipment in his department. His team takes care of all preventive maintenance tasks, as prescribed in Cimcorp’s instructions and maintenance program.

“Our personnel were trained by Cimcorp’s experts,” he explains, “and now we follow the plan strictly.”

Servicing is carried out in short periods in order not to disrupt production. “The plant operates non-stop in four shifts; the process cannot be stopped,” says Rykov.

“We have shutdowns twice a year, during which larger repair or maintenance operations can take place. Preventive maintenance, however, must be made during normal operations.”

The automated system is divided into sections, each of which – comprising certain devices, such as a robot and its gripper – should be capable of being serviced in 2-3 hours. Although Rykov’s team was not familiar with modern robotic technology, they have learned quickly how best to maintain the system.

“In the curing buffer (the green tire storage), the robots operate at a very high level on gantries over the storage area,” says Rykov. “It is no mean feat to access the servicing points, but we have learned how to do it.”

Full traceability

A great benefit of the integrated material handling system, according to Alexander Rykov, is the fact that total control of the material flow enables full traceability of tires.

“Today’s customers are very demanding. We have to be able to trace each tire in the production process. We have to know how a tire is produced – starting from the component materials – how it is built, cured and tested. Cimcorp’s system makes this happen.”

About Cordiant

The OJSC Yaroslavl Tyre Plant, founded in 1932, is the largest tire plant in the central region of Russia. Part of the Cordiant Group, the plant produces tires under the brand names of ‘Cordiant’ for passenger car tires and ‘TyRex’ and «Cordiant Professional» for all-steel truck tires. The Cordiant Group (formerly Sibur-Russian Tyres) is one of the biggest tire-manufacturing companies in Eastern Europe. The Truck & Bus Radial (TBR) sizes handled by the Cimcorp system at Yaroslavl are 17.5”, 19.5” and 22.5”.

Fully automated material handling solution for truck tires

Cimcorp has delivered a comprehensive automation system for truck tire handling at Cordiant’s Yaroslavl plant in Russia. Consisting of fully automated equipment and software for total control of the material flow from the tire-building area to the testing area, it includes robots for unloading of the tire-building machines; conveyors for transporting green tires from tire building to weighing and spraying; weighing and spraying stations; green tire buffers; monorail transfers for loading the curing presses; and conveyors from the press area to the finishing area, located in another building and on the second floor. For the testing area, Cimcorp supplied manual trimming and inspection machines, as well as finished tire buffers.

The total material flow, including tracking and tracing, is managed by the Cimcorp WCS (Warehouse Control Software) and Cimcorp MES (Manufacturing Execution System) which integrate all robots, conveyors and process machines – from component manufacturing to finished tire testing – into a seamless system. This computer control enables tire data management, recipe management and tracking, as well as ensuring the critical 100% availability of green tires at the curing presses.

TEXT: PAULA OVASKAINEN PHOTOS: EVGENY KOSTISHIN

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