The rising volume of electric cars, the prospect of mass introduction of autonomous vehicles and ever-growing consumer demand for greater vehicle customization generally are all driving the trend of SKU proliferation in established tire markets. Couple this with the added pressures they face with growing labor shortages, tire manufacturers are turning to advanced software technology and automation to give them the precise control of tire production, which is critical to their success.
How to stay in control
Technology in tire production is evident in the greater use of computer modeling and simulation to accelerate tire development to find the ‘sweet spot’ in the triangle of traction, wear resistance and fuel efficiency. Some tire factories are also introducing artificial intelligence to ensure the optimal placement of tire components, minimizing human involvement in the tire-building process and thereby enhancing uniformity.
Optimizing the whole process
An advanced tire manufacturer looks beyond the tire build and implements automation to ensure total control of production, optimized material and data flows, as well as full tracking and tracing. Accuracy and efficiency in recipe management and the timing of production means that scrap is minimized. When production is optimized, storage can be reduced, thereby maximizing the use of space. And, as the number and safety implications of counterfeited tires become more evident to consumers, traceability will be even more of a priority.
Whether you are planning a greenfield facility or modernizing a brownfield site, an automated solution could transform the efficiency and profitability of your tire plant. In the future there will be über-efficient tire plants that are smaller, more environmentally friendly and focused on producing high-quality tires that are tailored for local markets, to minimize transportation costs.
Forecasting is hard, but it’s even harder to run a business without doing it. As the tire industry evolves, one thing is certain. The need for recipe management, and the need for 100% accuracy in tracking and tracing with faster delivery times, will increase.
Author Jari-Pekka Ylipaino