Cimcorp North America of Murata Machinery (Muratec) will supply an installation for end-to-end material handling to Giti Tire at a new South Carolina manufacturing facility. Scheduled for completion in 2019, the turnkey Cimcorp system is called a Dream Factory and will include all the facility’s automation equipment and system control, project management, and integration.
Singapore-based Giti Tire Group has an annual revenue of $3.5 billion and sells GT Radial, Primewell, Dextero, and Runway tires through retailers and distributors. Cimcorp is a supplier of intralogistics automation based on robotics and software. Besides serving the tire industry, the integrator of material-handling systems also sells robotic setups for order fulfillment and storage in food and beverage, retail, e-commerce, FMCG and postal-service industries.
Cimcorp will install the automated logistics system for making and handling new passenger car radial (PCR) tires in Chester County, S.C. — Giti’s first manufacturing location in the U.S. and its eighth worldwide. The facility will generate 10 million passenger and light-truck tires annually and 1,700 new jobs.
“We’re building an advanced tire-manufacturing facility with the latest automation technologies; Cimcorp’s Dream Factory will ensure throughput,” said Wu Zhicheng of Giti Tire and lead on the U.S. plant.
The Cimcorp setup will handle and store raw materials (including natural rubber, polymer rubber, belt steel, bead wire and textile ply) and components such as calender rolls as well as belt, ply and inner-liner, sidewall, tread, and bead carts. Its automation will include conveyors for unloading tire-building machines and transferring delicate green (uncured) tires to curing buffers; a miniload automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) for green-tire buffer storage; and monorail transfers to deliver the tires to presses. Tire transport to testing area, buffer, and palletizing stations will also be automated.
Here is a video of Cimcorp’s monorail transfer system in another installation:
A mini-load AS/RS is a smaller machine module that is usually (though not always) for the picking of items in trays or totes. Some industries call mini-load AS/RSs either tote stackers or case-handling modules.
A high-bay warehousing (HBW) section of the Giti Tire installation will feature stacker cranes for raw materials and finished components. HBW designates racking of about 40 feet or taller with some form of powered retrieval system to efficiently store similar batches of product … often with a direct supply from production stations as well. In most cases, HBW includes parallel isles of racks or shelves having thousands of storage locations. How and where products are stored is determined largely by logistics software. The powered retrieval system to access an HBW can take the form of anything from manually driven forklifts to AGVs to fully integrated AS/RS and conveyor networks.
All automated equipment at the automated warehouse — robots, monorails, conveyors, stacker cranes and miniload cranes — will be controlled by Cimcorp’s warehouse control software to ensure availability of all materials at all process machines. With control of manufacturing at each stage (including real-time data for production and inventory management) the Dream Factory optimizes use of the most precious equipment (such as building machines and curing presses) to boost production.
Gantry robots are core to Cimcorp installations for production transfer as well as some AS/RS functions, and most of these run off electric motors instead of pneumatics (as in some legacy designs). Some gantry iterations for the tire industry cover lengths to 14 meters and X-axis travels to 80 m; in the Z axis, the bridge commonly sports a gripper that lifts one to ten tires. Here, gantry variations sporting aluminum mechanical structures instead of steel have better overall efficiency and acceleration.
Such light-weighted gantry robots paired with performance motion controllers to run the axes and (through regenerative braking during deceleration) reclaim 30% of consumed energy by feeding it back into the network (a dc power link or supply) for reuse instead of shedding as heat waste. Controllers in such setups can also cut power peaks during acceleration to enable use of smaller and less energy-hungry motor-drive combinations. More specifically, some versions have Rexroth servodrives that switch the motors to generator mode during braking.
Some iterations of Cimcorp’s gantry for tire handling — to both transport and stack blanks and finished tires — also leverage synchronization between a master of drive-based Rexroth IndraMotion MLD controls; slave drives; and other drive-based controls. Some use the open standard SERCOS III for real-time communications — including that for controller-to-controller (C2C) communication to enable quick control-network setup without centralized controls. This allows modular automated-warehouse concepts to simplify integration.
Cimcorp Group of Murata Machinery (Muratec) | www.muratec-usa.com • cimcorp.com