ERJ staff report (TB)
Kobe, Japan -- Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. (SRI) has developed a highly automated tyre manufacturing system that it claims will enhance the precision of its production process, providing for increased uniformity and casing inegrity with reduced weight.
The new system, dubbed Neo-T01, is an evolution of the automated Taiyo system SRI put into service in 1996.
By combining three key technologies - "metal core process, fully automatic connected control and high-rigidity structure - Sumitomo claims tyres produced with the new system have 70-percent better high-speed uniformity and a 50-percent drop in "deformation during high-speed driving" while also weighing 10-percent less.
SRI said it intends to use the new system for the "development of ever-higher performance tyres," starting in 2014 with what it's calling a "next-generation run-flat tyre that provides an excellent balance between lightness, safety and driving comfort."
NEO is formed from the words "Next (Generation)," "Elaborate" and "Orb." The letter "T," represents "Taiyo (Sun)," "Technology" and "Tyre," while the "01" stands for the "first iteration" of this next-generation manufacturing system, SRI said.
Sumitomo said it has used the Taiyo system to produce more than 36 million tyres since its inception 15 years ago. The company's been developing NEO T01 since 2008. It did not say how much it's invested in developing the system.
The most visible change from conventional manufacturing systems, SRI said, is the use of metal formers - the metal core process - made in the exact shape and size of a finished tyre's interior.
The second key technology - automatic connected control - achieves significant weight reductions by allowing for optimal distribution of weight among tyre components. A computer control system manages every step of the tyre-forming process with high precision, accurate to within 0.01mm.
The third key technology - high-rigidity structure - allows for the use of harder stiffening materials than previously possible, allowing for a closer match to the exact shape and size of the tyre's intended design.
This last innovation allows SRI to reduce tyre deformation during high-speed driving.
From Tire Business (A Crain publication)
Press release from Sumitomo Rubber