IIoT: Answering the big digitalisation question in tyre manufacturing
| Written by Christian Aadal
Asset Agent is IDENTEC SOLUTIONS‘ answer to the big digitalisation question in tyre manufacturing.
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In order to reduce production costs in tyre manufacturing, any IIoT-based solution must help to increase machine utilization, reduce scrap of raw materials, eliminate production errors of the final product and increase labour productivity.
HOW IT WORKS
Every carrier will be equipped with a battery-powered device – a transponder – which enables the Asset Agent application software to identify, locate and communicate with every single material carrier at any given location in the production plant. The solution scales up to thousands of transponders in one plant and works outdoors if required.
The Asset Agent server application offers standard interfaces to ERP systems (e.g. SAP Extended Warehouse Management – EWM) as well as other production and material flow management systems for seamless integration into existing IT infrastructure.
The entire tire building process becomes immune to human errors without any user interaction, therefore eliminating the need for manual bar code scans or paper and pencil. Every user communication is based on a globally established communication standard – a simple three colour led indication system (traffic light).
Asset Agent’s proven technology and design has been running in production environments for many years in tire manufacturing plants across the globe and can be installed in any existing infrastructure. With its standard Power over Ethernet (PoE) and out-of-the-box interfaces to all major ERP systems, seamless integration into existing IT infrastructure is guaranteed. Including transponders providing an IP 65 rating and a battery lifetime of up to 8 years, depending on the use case, only minimal hardware maintenance is required.
Asset Agent is designed for automated health checks of all infrastructure components including the transponders and integrates to network, server and log monitoring software such as Nagios, PRTG Network Monitor, Solar Winds and others. Even the battery exchange could be managed proactively by Asset Agent in connection with the plant’s PMS system to minimize the effort for plant maintenance personnel.
Carrier search times are reduced, scrap due to perished raw material is abolished, while machine utilization and labour productivity go up. All in all, this leads to an increase of tire output volume of up to 3% with the same input factors such as production assets, manpower and raw material. The initial investment costs are proven to have a compelling payback period of less than one year which can be seen by the following example:
If a tire manufacturing plant with 100 tire building machines wants to increase production by 3%, usually the plant manager would need to invest in three additional tire building machines, requiring additional production space, more manpower and would use 3% more raw materials.
The “more of the same” approach would cost several million Euros and yet would not improve anything in terms of machine utilization, reduction of scrap, reduction of production errors or increased labour productivity. By only costing a fraction of a new machine, Asset Agent excels the “more of the same” approach for sure.