Arguably curing is the most critical process in tire production – and represents that pivotal juncture where the tire takes its final shape.
But for many tire manufacturers, their curing equipment is a classic “good news/bad news” story. The good news: tire curing presses, while costly, typically have a decades-long productive life. The bad news: existing presses often rely on outdated, standalone control architectures that limit system responsiveness and flexibility.
As global competition, regulatory requirements and production demands ramp-up, tire producers are challenged to both extend the value of their significant capital investment – and accelerate productivity.
The Connected Enterprise® can provide a cost-effective strategy for the curing room – and beyond.
Rockwell Automation has long recognized the importance of connecting independent automation systems in manufacturing environments. In fact, our vision of The Connected Enterprise® has guided the development of our Integrated Control and Information Technology for decades. Now, with the convergence of plant-floor Operations Technology (OT) and business-level Information Technology (IT), the vision of The Connected Enterprise® is becoming a reality.
What does this mean for tire curing?
Simply put, The Connected Enterprise® links production lines, in-the-field assets, utilities and enterprise IT to deliver contextualized information where and when it is needed. For tire curing, that means existing presses can be optimized in new ways that enable faster access to critical data.
A Rockwell Automation control system retrofit can include information software applications that capture historic system process data along with fully traceable, individual tire records in a single solution. To better contextualize the data, this application can be extended to include cycle times or information from other devices on the plant floor, such as sensors or energy monitoring systems.
By analyzing the contextualized information, tire producers can more easily and quickly pinpoint the cause of quality issues or production disruptions – and determine solutions. The system can provide immediate access to a curing process overview, including trends, alarms, recipe data and energy consumption. This contextualized information might uncover unintentional synchronization of press start times and related peaks in energy demand, for example, or reveal excessive alarms and major process deviations that require attention.
What's more, contextualized information is available on the fly and via mobile devices to those who need it – from the maintenance worker troubleshooting a machine to the engineer seeking to optimize it.
Built on a secure and standard Ethernet backbone, the Rockwell Automation solution is completely configurable – and can be easily expanded to integrate new capabilities and extend to other curing facilities.
Learn more about Rockwell Automation tire curing solutions – and why The Connected Enterprise® makes good business sense for tire manufacturing.
Published January 26, 2015