Guangzhou, China – At the 2015 China Rubber Conference in Guangzhou, a Mesnac executive set out the company's vision for future tire factories, covering details ranging from plant design and automatic storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) to machine networking and RFID.
“Smart manufacturing means a high degree of co-ordination,” said Jiao Qingguo, general manager of Mesnac’s information logistics system division. “Before you set up a factory, you want to make sure your facilities won’t be outdated in a couple of years and can be integrated into future systems.”
For instance, not all internal mixers have built-in network ports, and adding such ports afterwards costs €1,500 for each machine.
AS/RS, quadrupling the volume of normal flat warehouses, will also gain increasing popularity. According to Jiao, Mesnac has the world’s tallest AS/RS at 30-metre height that picks up 70,000 tires each day.
Another technology trend is the rise of RFID technology. “Tire barcodes only show a tire’s parameters before it leaves the factory, but RFID code can track real time information, such as its mileage,” said Jiao. “Barcode will be completely replaced by RFID code within the next decade.”
In terms of information technology, Jiao pointed out that energy management system, though rarely used by Chinese companies today, will become indispensable.
“It can keep count of power consumption in the production of a particular part, allowing factories to make high power consumption parts during time slots with low electricity prices, saving up to €15,000 a year,” he said.