IoT Solutions for Tire | Vulcanizing the Tire Plant Operations, the IoT way

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IoT Solutions for Tire Industry: Industrial IoT to bring complete process traceability using product genealogy, right from mixing to storage

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Tire industry globally suffers from operational & supply chain challenges
  • Performance of o/p measured in tonnage has detrimental impact on reliability & effectiveness
  • Disparate hardware, protocols & outputs and siloed operations lead to creation of information islands in the enterprise
  • IoT Solutions for Tire:
    • IoT connects  heterogeneous assets across value chain and get data on a common platform to break the information islands
    • IoT enables reduction of waste, energy consumption and process inefficiencies
    • Machine performance/ maintenance can be predicted with predictive maintenance

The Tire industry has always been at the forefront of technological innovations, often leading the way, for the rest of the pack. With the emergence of innovative technologies, ultra-modern production facilities and the rising global demand, the sector is poised to grow further. According to Global Industry Analysts, the global tire industry is slated to reach 2.5 billion units of production by 2022. This growth equation further stands to be revolutionized by the emergence of Internet of Things.

However, the tire industry is not alien to operational and supply chain challenges. There is a continuous pressure to maintain the EBITDA levels due to uncertain raw material costs and operational inefficiencies. Increasing costs of utilities, consumables, and spares also have a significant impact on profitability. Tire manufacturing is actually a mix of batch production for upstream and discrete manufacturing in the downstream operations. This poses various challenges on planning and scheduling of small batch sizes with a variety of SKUs. Traditionally, tire plant performance has been measured in terms of tonnage of output produced and this practice has had a detrimental impact on reliability and effectiveness of its supply chain performance. There is an urgent need to transform this approach and look at capacity and performance of the plant in the TIME dimension.

Many tire plants have a mix of manufacturing assets ranging from legacy machines to modern state of art machines with a heterogeneous mix of control systems, protocols, and outputs. Most of these plants typically run in departmental silos with hardly any data and information being shared across the value chain. Most of the data generated in the process are very local to the operator or engineer working in that area and is used mostly for monitoring, leading to very limited actionable insights. This is where Internet of Things technology (IoT) fits in – the IoT solutions for Tire. IoT helps to connect these heterogeneous set of assets across the complete value chain and get data on a common platform to break the information islands on the floor. It helps to establish a single source of truth from the floor in terms of operational, machine and quality performance. It invokes a completely new paradigm and unravels hidden opportunities to Management to transform their operations. Aided by the right set of analytics tools, the data can be used to build models for predicting machine and process failures and do a more data oriented root cause analysis of quality problems.

For instance, Calendering, one of the oldest and vital processes in tire/rubber manufacturing has a direct impact on the tire output, since the bonding of cloth or fabric to rubber or tire cord to rubber is critical to performance. The heavy duty machine has to perform at its top condition all the time. The machine has several rolls, sensors, motors, and CPC controls to operate a complex process. It also consumes a large amount of energy. The challenge in this process is to ensure the effectiveness of the machine (Output speed without losing quality), output quality, energy consumption and the operator’s safety. The calendering machine itself is a critical part of the overall tire manufacturing process where there are upstream and downstream dependencies from raw material feed to all the way final tire unit, hence any issue here. So how can IoT help? With machines at every level connected to IoT Platform, this real-time machine data can help monitor the overall process and machine performances, identify the bottleneck in real-time, send actionable alerts to control the process and improve cycle time, use of consumables, and direct and indirect material availability. Real-time checksums help improve the output quality and OEE. Over a period of time, machine condition/performance can be predicted through big data analytics and machine learning.

IoT Solutions for Tire Industry:

Many tire companies of today are turning to IoT for measuring, analyzing, and controlling the usage of consumables and indirect materials, a significant part of the investment. They also prefer IIoT to bring complete process traceability using product genealogy, right from mixing to storage. A lot of rubber and tire manufacturers wonder what are the problems (or use cases) best solved by IoT and what would be the Return on Investments (RoI)? A Smart Manufacturing report published by Altizon tries to address some of these question and highlight on upcoming trends in Tire Industry. IoT implementations in tire manufacturing plants are already yielding a 4 – 5% improvement in plant EBITDA with a payback period on a project of less than one year.

IoT is set to the game-changer for the tire industry. Has your firm started the IoT journey yet? We will be happy to get on a call to answer any questions you may have or assist you in getting started.