Tigar Tyres recently held a grand opening ceremony to mark the launch of its new factory in Pirot, 300 km southeast of Belgrade. The material handling systems in the new plant were designed and supplied by Cimcorp.
A total of 500 new jobs have been created through the investment of 215 million euros in the Pirot plant, which will enable annual production of 12 million tires by the end of 2016. A Michelin Group subsidiary, Tigar Tyres produces entry-level passenger car tires – marketed under the Tigar, Kormoran and Riken brands – and the new capacity will help meet growth in the entry-level segment in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Russia and the CIS markets.
The official opening was attended by Serbia’s President, Tomislav Nikolić, and the President of the Michelin Group, Jean-Dominique Senard, who joined with employees and suppliers to celebrate the success of the project. In his speech, M. Senard said,
“The great talent of our team in Pirot and the active support of the Serbian authorities have made it possible to complete this project successfully…I am glad it will create new jobs and economic activities in Serbia.”
Manufacturing light truck and SUV tires as well as passenger car tires, it is planned for the number of employees at the plant to increase to 2700 by the end of 2016.
Rapid design and installation
Cimcorp received an order from Tigar at the beginning of 2014 for systems to automate the material flows in the tire-building and curing areas, as well as in the finishing and palletizing area for three production lines. With the first tire being produced from the new facility in September, the schedule to design, manufacture, install and commission the automated handling systems was extremely tight.
Integrated material flows
The handling solution supplied to Tigar Tyres is based on Cimcorp’s Dream Factory concept and features integrated material flows using conveyor, monorail and robotic technologies. Green tires are transferred by conveyor from the building machines to the spraying stations and then to an automatic green tire buffer. This features Cimcorp’s gantry robots, which store green tires on special rests – in a single layer – on an overhead mezzanine.
As soon as the specific types of green tires are needed by the curing presses, the robots pick them from the buffer and they are transported via monorail to the curing presses. After curing, the Cimcorp systems continue to take care of the material flows, with tires being collected from the trench conveyor and placed on the cooling conveyor, and then transferred to the visual inspection area. They then enter the testing buffer and are transferred to the testing machines before proceeding to the labeling area, the palletizing buffer, and the palletizing area. Here, Cimcorp’s system automatically calculates the optimal palletizing method for each product type and robots arrange the tires in a space-optimized rick-rack pattern.
In line with the Dream Factory concept, the entire material flow at Pirot – from the mixing machines to the finished tire warehouse – is fully controlled by Cimcorp’s Warehouse Control Software (WCS), while the tracing of production data, recipe management and reporting are taken care of by Cimcorp’s Manufacturing Execution System (MES), enabling 100 per cent traceability of tires.
TEXT: PAULA OVASKAINEN PHOTO: TIGAR TYRES