How Digitisation Offer More Competitiveness?

How Digitisation Offer More Competitiveness?

Industry 4.0 is not a dream, but it is not magic either. It is symbolised by “Smart Factories”. Indeed, more integration creates more value and more intelligent systems in daily operations. The know-how evolves with daily continuous efforts and with the systematisation of measurement and standardisation

By Ertugrul Bahan*

Industry 4.0 applications are spreading. Most of them are internal knowledge, so that the imagination of the best and most advanced applications exceeds our capabilities. Sensor and driver modules are becoming more accurate and precise, with a higher repeatability rate, modular and smaller to be located in difficult areas and easy-to-use to allow a less educated crew to manage entyre systems. Today’s tyre production plants are more or less close to this level. We know that it is always possible to take steps to be more precise with robotic arms and better integrated with ERP systems for better control and better planning..

The tyre factories are almost ready today to deliver each tyre to the warehouse with a unique bar code serial number. Any information behind what is available in the database can be found. Raw material, mixing, extruding, tyre building, curing and finishing process data related to material, timing and operator details are available. In the final stage the tyres reach the dealer’s shop with an “Article Number” (Known as EAN Code in general) printed on Product Description Ticket on which product item and manufacturing code ect. are given. Depending on the sequence of the item numbers, the production stage information can be tracked in the product lot database, even if the factory barcode ticket is abandoned. Besides these tickets with full of digital codes, D.O.T serial number is still continuing to be molded due to regulation requirements. What all these means? You can find all the tyres on the market to find production information and evaluate customer requests accordingly.

Can we say that this level of digitisation is sufficient in the current competitive market? A tyre is a basic product, black and round, and is full of similar encrypted and scanned tickets, so that everything is the same for the average customer! What makes the difference? The reputation of the brand is its main advantage. However, the value for money and ultimately, the value that the customer finds or receives make the difference. For example, passenger group tyres are the main driver of the market. How can digitisation improve profitability so that high-quality products can be marketed faster, cheaper and more innovatively?

Weight matters

Take the weight of the product as an example. Less tyre weight if it meets all requirements and customer satisfaction is an advantage. On the other hand, the weight of the tyres is mainly compared by groups of customers. When our tyres have a lower weight and the technology or performance cannot be explained to the customer, these tyres remain significantly less competitive. On the other hand, let’s imagine that we also know the weight of each component of a tyre before it is stored. Then, there is no doubt that we can measure gaps, move to many stages of production, and improve uncertainties and unskilled abilities. Today, it is possible to build such a product line in such a way that not only the total weight of the tyres but also the component weight present in each case is recorded in process steps. This is a challenge but not impossible today. Going over deviations and differences as well as systematic countermeasures are possible when we set up a component weight capturing system.

What additional data can be collected and evaluated to increase the profitability of the project and create more competitive advantage? Imagine a tyre production area in which we know the production time of each component of a tyre, not just the curing and tyre building. Imagine that tread extrusion, liner or ply preparation… unit production time also recorded individually and is captured for each warehoused tyre. It may seem pointless or even drowned, but is conceptual and dependent on our process capabilities. This would give us an advantage in terms of quality and profitability. It not only requires a large data room and more sophisticated hardware, but also custom algorithms and programming with an integrated ERP-based production management system.

Industry 4.0 is not a dream, but it is not magic either. It is symbolised by “Smart Factories”. Indeed, more integration creates more value and more intelligent systems in daily operations. The know-how evolves with daily continuous efforts and with the systematisation of measurement and standardisation. Keeping the assessment of each step of the process and the key parameters are still vital. Digitized data is the most valuable internal property, so every entity in the company must be able to use sophisticated data and links. For example, by adding high-tech RFID tags with ultra-thin, flexible and soft features, we have a greater chance of monitoring and addressing production parts and assemblies during assembly and configuration. Intelligent factories and algorithms can only be earned with a complete contribution. Web Connection with ERP database to track the current production performance data is quite possible today.

Tyre manufacturers are focusing and leveraging Industry 4.0 in different areas. Tyre companies develop systems to measure the performance of running tyres. Systems so far called Connesso, Cybertyre, CyberCar, CyberFleet, TyreCare, Track Connect, TreadStat are customized applications of premium brands. Such systems require sensors mounted on the tyre, each capable of collecting and transmitting data during the tyre life cycle. They have proven to be a safety requirement and a part of the regulation in the near future.

The integrated systems and intelligent applications of Industry 4.0 are the endless efforts of today and tomorrow.

*Ertuğrul Bahan, Senior Tyre Expert, is highly experienced in tyre design engineering, manufacturing, R&D and plant operations. He was with Brisa-Bridgestone Sabancı, Kordsa Global and Anlas Motorcycle Tyre Company for many years in managerial positions

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