Triangle Embraces 'Industry 4.0' - Tire Review Magazine

Triangle Embraces ‘Industry 4.0’

How do you track a tire’s manufacturing process for better quality control? Triangle Group Co. has a solution.

In February, the Weihai, Shandong province-based Chinese tiremaker unveiled its brand new facility named Hua Yang factory, also located in Weihai. With an investment of $1.03 billion, the facility, which makes high performance passenger car radial tires, has been equipped with radio-frequency identification (RFID) devices and is largely controlled by computer-integrated manufacturing systems. These systems give order to rows of highly automatic, imported machines including a steel cord cutting machine from Karl Eugen Fischer, and mixing equipment from HF Group.

“Every tire manufactured in this facility has a unique barcode which allows us to track its detailed manufacturing process with the RFID devices,” Triangle CEO Pierre E. Cohade told Tire Review.

How detailed would the information be?

“To the extent that we could know which machine at what time made a possible misstep,” Cohade said.

Cohade is proud of the highly automatic factory where workers are sparsely seen – a sharp contrast from a typical Chinese tire plant. According to Triangle, the plant has about 40% fewer workers than in a typical tire factory.

“Fewer workers means lower costs, but it’s not the point. The point is we have much less manual intervention, which is usually a major cause for quality issues,” he said.

A model of “industry 4.0,” the Hua Yang facility is also taking on a new project – a smart tire – with China’s tech giant Huawei.

According to Cohade, the smart tire will have a built-in chip that collects information such as road condition, temperature and tire damages to better serve drivers by suggesting a tire change to avoid potential danger.

“In short, this new generation tire should help us evolve from a passive tiremaker to a proactive tire manager,” Cohade said.

Read more about Triangle and its 40th anniversary celebration in an upcoming issue of Tire Review.

 

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