Celebrating their 80th anniversary on October 6th this year, the Yaroslavl Tyre Plant is experiencing its rebirth. A few years ago the goal was set to modernize the plant buildings and implement the most advanced technologies in the shortest term. Cimcorp automation and MES projects are a major part of the plan
The OJSC “Orders of Lenin and October Revolution” Yaroslavl Tyre Plant, founded in 1932, is the biggest tire plant in the central region of Russia. As part of the Cordiant Group, it is specialized in the production of modern passenger car tires with a steel breaker, all steel truck tires, and aircraft tires. Since 2005, products of the Yaroslavl Tyre Plant have been available on the market under the brand names of Cordiant for passenger car tires and “TyRex” for all steel truck tires. The plant employs about 3,000 people.
The Cordiant Group (Sibur – Russian Tyres Group till 03.04.2012) is one of the largest tire-manufacturing companies in Eastern Europe and incorporates four tire-producing plants as well as a tire-testing center in Russia called “Vershina.”
The Yaroslavl Tyre Plant is the flagship of the Cordiant Group in the westerly direction, according to Technical Director Evgeny Rogozin. Out of their four tire plants, Yaroslavl Tyre Plant is in the most active investment phase, due to the completion of the project to build the new production facility for modern all-steel tires, with a capacity of up to 650 thousand tires a year. The Cimcorp projects are an essential part of this major modernization project.
New technology of mass production for high-end tires
The aim of the modernizations is to improve the product quality and increase the productivity of the plant. Today, the Yaroslavl plant produces 375,000 all-steel TyRex tires for trucks, as well as over 2.3 million high-end Cordiant passenger car tires. Additionally, the plant manufactures another 3 million nonbranded passenger car tires. The target now is to organize the production of passenger car tires with the use of the most advanced technologies and an annual output of 4–6 million tires, say Cordiant.
Cimcorp is supplying automatic material handling systems for a production line known as “All Steel 650K”, which will allow the Cordiant Group to raise manufacturing capacity of truck tires by 650,000 tires a year. This will help to reach the annual production rate of over one million tires and at the same time make the transition to a higher quality grade. The launch of the project “All Steel 650K” is planned for the end of 2012.
Comprehensive control of material flow
The world has changed completely since the Yaroslavl Tyre Plant and its production systems were built. Customer requirements are now in a different class altogether. Rogozin says that the HVAC, electrical and IT systems have to be upgraded along with the production technology. Car manufacturers demand not only top-quality tires from the production plant but also certain standards – a quality system and tire traceability.
“In October 2007, the Yaroslavl Tyre Plant was the first Russian plant to be accredited with ISO/TS 16949:2002 for the automobile industry. Car manufacturers also carry out their own auditing. Otherwise you have no chance of being a tire supplier for car plants,” adds Rogozin.
By April 2012, the Yaroslavl Tyre Plant had passed the audit performed by the German concern Volkswagen and was the first among its Russian suppliers to receive the highest rating of “A” level.
“The tendency is for requirements to increase all the time. European requirements – relating to the environment and safety – are increasing, and Russian manufacturers have to keep up,” states Rogozin.
In Rogozin’s opinion it is self-evident that there is a real use for the automation and control technology developed by Cimcorp.
“The modern tire plant can no longer function without comprehensive control of the material flow, which is enabled by Cimcorp’s robot, conveyor and control technology.”
Total control of the material flow has a significant effect on productivity. Cimcorp’s automated material handling is complemented by the Manufacturing Execution System (MES), which in Yaroslavl they call ASUP. “This is a whole new departure for us. There has never been anything like this at the plant before,” admits Rogozin. “The MES system offers plenty of opportunities, and already in the early stages we will be able to utilize some of them. Implementing the new features will be a learning process.”
The Yaroslavl Tyre Plant signed the sales contract with Cimcorp in June 2010 and the equipment deliveries took place at the end of 2011. The customer was particularly appreciative of Cimcorp’s flexibility. The ability of Cimcorp to tailor the equipment and systems for the needs and conditions at the Yaroslavl plant played a significant role.
“Cimcorp handled the negotiation stage, engineering, equipment manufacture and deliveries to Russia right on schedule. This was an extremely positive and pleasant surprise to us,” enthuses Rogozin.
Of course there were difficulties. For example, Cimcorp’s lack of experience resulted in problems with passing through the Customs. “Every company has the same kind of problems on their first projects in Russia. You have to learn how to do business in Russia,” he acknowledges.
However, Rogozin emphasizes that the implementation now underway is the most demanding stage of the project. The next 10 months are critical. Successful project completion is a crucial goal in the co-operation between Cordiant and Cimcorp.
Fully automated material handling solution for truck tires
Cimcorp has delivered a comprehensive automation system for truck tire handling for the Yaroslavl plant. Consisting of all automation equipment and software for total control of the material flow from the tire-building area to the testing area, it includes robots for unloading tirebuilding machines, conveyors for green tires from tire-building to weighing and spraying, weighing and spraying stations, green tire buffers, electric monorail systems for loading curing presses, as well as the conveyor from the press area to the finishing area located in another building and on the second floor. For the testing area, Cimcorp will supply manual trimming and inspection machines as well as finished tire buffers.
The total material flow, including tracking and tracing, will be controlled by the Cimcorp WCS control system, which integrates all robots, conveyors, and process machines from component manufacturing to finished tire testing into a seamlessly working system. Cimcorp’s WCS acts as the WMS (Warehouse Management System), MFC (Material Flow Control), and MES (Manufacturing Execution System). This enables tire data management, recipe management and tracking, as well as 100 % green tire availability at the curing presses.
TEXT: PAULA OVASKAINEN PHOTOS: EIGENY KOSTISHIN