Robotics & Automation News

Market trends and business perspectives

How is Robotics Shaking Up the Tire Industry?

Robots will be playing a key role in kickstarting the economy in the post-Covid-19 world, as stated in a survey by Automatica.

This will be the case in a plethora of industries, including warehouse operations, plastic injection molding, and tire manufacturing and design. Take the example of tire giant Goodyear.

The company is currently using data, AI and “digital twins” to create more reliable, sophisticated tires that will usher tires into the future.

What are some of the newest developments in tire automation and robotics and how soon will the vision they create become a reality?

Tires as More Intelligent Components of Cars

Goodyear CTO Chris Helsel recently stated that the inspiration for tires being seen as a smarter component of cars is the electric and automated car boom.

Tires are one of the most high-maintenance components of modern vehicles owing to the number of times they need to be checked and changed.

Sturdy and dependably priced tires exist for almost any model of car, but Goodyear is looking at creating a permanent tire that may never need to be changed.

While traditional tires will continue to exist in the near future, a bit further down the line, drivers can look forward to AI-reliant tires that “read” the way each driver handles their vehicle.

These smart tires will feature rechargeable “pellets” that dispense synthetic material to alter a tire’s composition (in the same way a spider spins silk to change the structure of its web) as required by different driving styles.

Automating Tire Manufacturing

Automation can also speed up tire manufacturing and make it more cost-effective. Automation begins with storage, with different raw materials being placed into automatic storage and retrieval systems.

These materials are then delivered via automation to various different preparation areas to be made into compound materials for the preparation of components. Components can also be sent automatically and moved to cranes via automatic storage and retrieval.

Final quality checks can also be automated, as can order and shipping processes (for example orders can be processed and sequenced in a vehicle based on order of delivery).

Smart Tires at CES 2020

Bridgestone chose CES 2020 to present its vision of the present and near future of tires. “Smart tires” that have proactive elements will help improve safety and efficiency on the road.

In late 2019, Bridgestone unveiled its Smart Strain Sensor technology, which incorporates IoT tech.

This system not only tracks tire inflation temperature and pressure, but also measures the dynamic change in strain that occurs when a tire is in motion.

The data gathered from the tire is sent to the Cloud so that users can identify conditions such as tire tread wear and monitor information such as air pressure simultaneously.

The system essentially predicts maintenance issues before they concur, thus improving safety and productivity for autonomous cars and fleets.

The electric and autonomous car industries have done plenty to encourage manufacturers to create tires of a much higher standard.

“Smart” tires are where it’s at these days, with top manufacturers working on self-repairing and intelligent tires that can provide key information on safety and the need for maintenance.

Of course, automation is also making the manufacturing process smoother, speedier, and more efficient thanks to the automation of everything from the handling of raw materials to the processing and delivery of client orders.

Main picture by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

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