Hanover, Germany – Automation and the level of automation introduced in your system is a central to the performance of any tire manufacturing operation today, according to Dr. Saikat Das Gupta, chief scientist at the JK Tyre-backed Hasetri research and testing centre in Rajasthan, India.
“The level of automation in your system is a good guideline as to how well you can archive manufacturing excellence,” Gupta set out in a presentation at the recent TTE conference in Hanover. “Consistency of quality is one of the most important considerations here, particularly as manual intervention can create a lot of problems.”
Gupta argued, therefore, that all tire manufacturing should continuously seek to improve and increase the automation in their systems towards raising manufacturing and product consistency and achieving world-class productivity.
A good mantra for any tire plant automation programme, he suggested, is 'if it is possible, you have to do it'.
“And if we say we don’t not have time to do this automation [project] and as a result do not automate this is a kind of circle that will continue and eventually drive you out of business,” the tire expert stressed.
As well as optimising quality and consistency, Gupta said that automation “will also help energise and motivate people in your organisation to a great extent in any part of the system you work on.”
Effective integration is another important consideration, Gupta pointing out that automation can encompass a wide range of operational aspects, whichever area of a tire operation it is applied to.
“The quality, whatever you are achieving, the efficiencies whatever you are getting, productivity whatever you are obtaining, cost-of-ownership are all very important elements when doing this kind of full-spectrum automation,” the chief scientist stated.
A key enabler here is connectivity across the enterprise, Gupta explaining: “If you are doing the automation in silos you may not be able to get the benefits you set out to achieve.”
With regard to selecting an automation system, the presenter listed key criteria as including flexibility, how much cost reduction it can deliver, the longevity of the system and the availability of partners.
“You cannot do all of these things on your own,” said Gupta. “You need different partners for different parts of your system to do automation projects. What are the quality requirements of the product and of the different processes.
“Complexity, total transaction cost, cycle time technology exclusivity. All these things you need to think about to get a very good and robust system of automation into your tire manufacturing system.
In summary, he said that the main aims of automation should be minimum time at the machine interface, quality consistaency, very high productivity, low=cost manufacturing and world-class products.
“Automation will define world class manufacture and will be the most significant differentiator of the enterprise’s performance,” concluded Gupta.