Show report – Tire Technology Expo 2018

Another record-breaking Tire Technology Expo!

The 2018 Tire Technology Expo and Conference has once again set a new benchmark for the event in Hannover, Germany. With 290 exhibitors across more floor space than ever before, 700 conference delegates and more than 5,800 experts through the doors during the three days, this year’s show was the biggest yet, in every way!

“Coming to Tire Technology Expo means we can learn about what is new, and what is ongoing in the industry – new innovations for now, and for the future. It’s important not to get left behind,” said Jani Rintala, project manager, Nokian Tyres.

The world’s largest gathering of tire design, development and manufacturing experts was opened by a keynote address from Pierre Loiret of Michelin, who detailed the forthcoming world standards for tire RFID tracking – just one of many technological developments being presented by 180 speakers at the conference (another record) on subjects such as connected and smart tire technologies, sustainable materials innovations and disruptive change in the global tire industry.

On the exhibition floor, product announcements included Tekna’s Vision Tire System 3D, a defect detection machine born of a four-year development project; Habasit’s downtime-reducing, timing-belt hinge joint; 4Jet’s strategic cooperation deal with LY Holding to offer laser tire mould cleaning; and Festo’s brand-new Motion Terminal VTEM pneumatics automation technology. All these companies were taking advantage of Tire Technology Expo’s highly targeted attendee base, which presents a valuable opportunity to connect with new and existing customers.

“It’s the first time for us here at Tire Technology Expo,” explained Festo product manager, Ulrich Sixt, who also presented a paper at the conference. “Over the past few days we’ve had many requests for Motion Terminal from the tire industry – there’s lots of interest. We want to be back next year as well.”

At the end of Day 2, some 900 attendees enjoyed the presentation of the 2018 Tire Technology International Awards for Innovation and Excellence at a glittering gala dinner. Winners included Pirelli (Tire Manufacturer of the Year) and Goodyear, which took home the Environmental Achievement award for its soybean oil initiative. The evening further confirmed the show’s status as a fantastic networking opportunity for the tire industry.

“We come every year to keep up with the technology, to follow the papers, to talk to the suppliers and the vendors that are here – it’s an extremely valuable show, and bigger this year than ever before. It’s a tremendous opportunity to see and talk to a lot of key people. There’s always something new and different at Tire Technology Expo,” said Charles Yurkovich, senior vice president, global research and development, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company.

“Tire Technology Expo 2018 was bigger and better than ever!” concluded show founder, Tony Robinson. “We’re delighted to say that this has been another record year, with very busy exhibition halls and fabulously busy conference rooms.”

Day 2 Show News

Day 2 of Tire Technology Expo 2018 continued to see guests filling the halls at Hannover’s Deutsche Messe, keen to learn more about the wide range of technologies on display. With more than 290 exhibitors in attendance, all aspects of the tire manufacturing industry are represented, and visitors were treated to the latest products, services and innovations.

Defect detection technology in action at Tekna's stand

Over at the Tekna stand, attendees were encouraged to learn more about Vision Tire System 3D – a defect detection machine using a 10-axis, seven-camera system.

A robotic arm moves the detection units according to a pre-set pattern (depending on the type of tire being inspected), and is capable of detecting defects occurring on the inside or outside of the tire.

“We have been working on this project for about four years,” explained Tekna R&D engineer Treviso Benedetto. “This is a way to recognise defects – but with the users setting their focus. This means that they can specify, for example, a cut less than 1mm, 1.2mm or longer, and the customer sets the parameters, and the software will highlight the defect.”

Able to scan a tire in 30 seconds, the technology is attracting interest from attendees at Tire Technology Expo. “All the big companies are coming to talk to us about this project,” Benedetto added. “Many have already approached us and have sent tires for us to test. Here we can explain to them more about the technology.”

Datalogic showcases latest barcode scanning system

The team on the Datalogic stand were not only able to showcase their latest barcode scanning solution, but also use Tire Technology Expo 2018 as an opportunity to meet customers – existing and new – face to face.

“We are a manufacturer of cameras and laser marking systems, sensors and automation products in general,” explained Michael Vogt, key account manager for Datalogic. “What we’re showing here is a special solution for the tire industry. When you have a 2D barcode marked directly onto the tire, these are difficult to read because it’s black on black, with no contrast. We read these barcodes with 5MP camera systems that we have on display at the expo.”

Capable of reading tires passing the sensor at 1m/s, the technology has already attracted the interest of major OEMs, and Tire Technology Expo 2018’s highly targeted attendee base presents a valuable opportunity to connect with such customers.

“They are asking us general questions about how we mark these codes,” explained Vogt. “But also more specialist questions, such as if we can detect the quality of the barcodes to ensure that they can ensure that the codes on the tires are always of a certain quality.

“Our customers are here [at the expo], and we want to be here when they have questions, when they want add-on solutions – here we can bring these things to them.”

Virtual reality experience draws visitors to Intralox's stand

Those visiting the Intralox stand could be forgiven for believing the company had brought a video game display to Tire Technology Expo 2018.

Next to the physical demonstration of Intralox’s tire conveyor systems, a VR setup was demonstrating the company’s latest developments in virtual reality modelling for both conveyor belt design and maintenance. On hand to assist visitors, application engineer Reid McCall guided attendees through how maintenance procedures could impact belt performance – allowing guests to remove virtual roller sections and see the knock-on effects. Though it demonstrated a fairly simple example, “we’re able to put triggers in and do all kinds of things with this,” McCall explained. “You can imagine a control panel, electrical switches. You can get that level of basic training.”

In addition, McCall also showed how Intralox’s conveyor solutions could be modelled by the company to compare and contrast different setups and technologies, but with the addition of the VR equipment to provide a new level of immersion for customers.

“We have most of our product line-up encoded into this catalogue, so what we’re able to do is find an example conveyor and run a physics simulation – boxes tumble, tires roll, and so on, and you can see any jams. What we’ve done is plug the VR technology into this – you can go and walk around what we’ve laid down.”

Strategic cooperation between 4Jet and LY Holding

It was a busy Day 1 of Tire Technology Expo 2018 for 4Jet, as the company announced a strategic cooperation deal with LY Holding to offer laser tire mould cleaning as a service.

Day 2 saw just as much interest around the stand as 4Jet demonstrated its next-generation STMCS laser mould cleaning service. The redesigned machine is now available for mould sizes from typical passenger car to truck and bus tires.

“We’ve been doing this kind of machine for several years, but this is the second version of this machine. We changed the laser to one that is faster – it’s a little more difficult to steer and to control, but it’s a lot faster, and the cleaning result is much better. It looks like a brand-new mould,” explained chief financial officer Armin Kraus. “In Europe it’s common to have spring vent-type moulds, but in Asia and the USA it’s not standard. Many people are still sand blasting moulds, which really cannot be used when you move to spring vents – you need to change the technology. Laser, from our perspective, is the best way of doing that.”

Laser cleaning doesn’t destroy the mould, mitigating the damage caused by sand blasting. It also means that fine structures increasingly seen in tire design are not removed by opting to clean using sand blasting.

“The automation also means that the results are always the same,” Kraus added.

SLM demonstrates selective laser melting technology

For Lübeck-based SLM Solutions, Tire Technology Expo 2018 represents a chance to demonstrate the attributes of selective laser melting technology, and how 3D printing offers advantages over conventional manufacturing processes, including faster build times, greater efficiency, increased cost-effectiveness, greater flexibility and higher-quality materials.

Expo visitors can also learn about the company’s latest addition to the SLM machine family, the SLM 800, which is capable of producing parts with a height of up to 800mm.

Increased size, however, isn’t the only evolution of the technology. “Larger is one way [the technology can evolve], but we also try to increase the quality of the parts, the surface quality, and reduce the build time,” explained SLM Solutions application engineer Niels Bendig.

SLM has one other reason for choosing to exhibit at Tire Technology Expo 2018: “We are also here to show that the technology exists,” said Bendig. “There are a lot of people who don’t know about it, and who don’t know just what is possible.”

Day 1 - Flying start to Tire Technology Expo 2018!

Tire Technology Expo and Conference is off to a flying start at Deutsche Messe in Hannover, Germany. The world’s largest gathering of tire design, development and manufacturing experts was opened by a keynote address from Pierre Loiret of Michelin, who detailed the forthcoming world standards for tire RFID tracking – just one of many technological developments being discussed at the three-day show and conference.

Other presentations this morning highlighted connected and smart tire technologies, sustainability innovations and disruptive change in the global tire industry. On the exhibition floor, specialist suppliers are showcasing everything from advanced silica reinforcement materials to automated tire label printers.

“Tire Technology Expo 2018 is bigger and better than ever!” said show founder, Tony Robinson. “This might seem like an unbelievable claim but we’re delighted to say that this is a record year: 290 exhibitors is a new record and we have more exhibition space than ever before. In the conference, there are now 700 delegates and 180 speakers, which is also more than ever. Not surprisingly, Day 1 is off to a flying start, with very busy exhibition halls and fabulously busy conference rooms.”

Visitors discover self-sealing rubber compound from Arlanxeo

News on the show floor on Day 1 came from Arlanxeo with its innovative new self-sealing rubber compound. The solution offers a replacement for a spare wheel, repair kit or runflat tire. When the compound is applied on the interior of the tire, any holes that occur are automatically sealed, so the driver can continue on his way. The tire is sealed immediately, regardless of the location and environment, while the vehicle is in motion.

Matthias Gotta, head of global sales and marketing in the tire and speciality rubbers business unit (BU TSR), explained, “To ensure that our compound can guarantee optimal sealing in any climate zone regardless of the speed a vehicle is travelling, we are currently carrying out further tests under extreme conditions following successful laboratory tests. Even in the case of strongly fluctuating external temperatures, the tires must be sealed to the same standard.”

Once field tests have been successfully completed, the compound will be launched on the market later in 2018.

Frank Lückgen, global marketing director for tires, BU TSR at Arlanxeo, added, “As a spare tire and the corresponding tools are no longer required, the weight of the vehicle and subsequently also its energy consumption are further reduced. In the case of electric vehicles, this can result in a longer range, for example.”

Visit Arlanxeo at Stand 4014 at Tire Technology Expo 2018 to find out more about its new rubber compound. The show runs until 22 February.

Automated tread label system demonstrations at Computype stand

Visitors have been relishing the opportunity to see Computype’s updated Chromaffix tread label automation system in action. The solution is designed to seamlessly integrate with existing manufacturing workflows to consistently print and apply branded tread labels to tires. Centred on the linkage between the bead barcode label and the retail-facing tread label, Chromaffix prints variable information to combine product data with colour logos for the correct combination of static and variable label presentation.

“We simply asked our customers ‘What is your vision for tread labelling?’. The feedback we received identified an obvious gap in the industry; there simply isn’t a tread labelling system on the market that can effectively utilise data or multitask to provide tangible business benefits in addition to basic labelling. And so we set out to engineer a labelling solution that would meet the speed, communication, reliability and service demands that our customers are looking to achieve,” commented Simon Boddy, Computype’s global product manager of industrial markets.

The result is a completely re-engineered automated labelling system, which integrates with production lines in tire manufacturing and distribution centres to keep pace with current throughput needs.

To address the critical relationship between the bead barcode and the tread label, an in-gate scanner ensures bead label information is sent to the Chromaffix system and printed on the appropriate branded label. The label applicator arm automatically adjusts in height to ensure accurate and centred label placement to various tire sizes. After label application, a roller ensures all edges are affixed to the tread, and the out-gate unit provides scanning verification to communicatively close the loop on the labelling process. Understanding that conditions can vary and real estate is limited in tire facilities, Chromaffix also provides temperature-controlled media storage and a compact footprint.

Chromaffix offers the industry an opportunity to view the seemingly tactical process of labelling in a more strategic sense, all while reducing manual labour, improving efficiencies and reducing waste.

Visit Computype on Stand 4004 to discover more about the Chromaffix system. The show runs until 22 February.

Rea Jet presents solutions for direct marking of rubber and tires

Rea Jet is using the expo as a platform to showcase its cutting-edge inkjet and laser marking systems. Direct coding makes products clearly identifiable, supports counterfeit protection and improves production and factory logistics. As coded products can be identified via track and trace, the degree of automation in the factory can be increased and tires can be traced globally.

For contact-free inkjet marking of raw rubber felts, treads and finished tires, Rea Jet offers the upgraded Rea Jet DOD 2.0, which has a longer operating cycle. With protection class IP65, the robust printer is now more resistant. It is operated via a tablet, smartphone, touch display or a knob – even with gloves – and can be integrated into the existing IT infrastructure for synchronised processes according to IoT.

The company is also highlighting its RPS coding and marking system that marks rubber reliably with eco-friendly water-based inks at low costs at all stages of the tire production process. Markings are applied directly and contact-free onto the surface. Furthermore, the system enables fast and easy data exchange. Markings can either disappear during the vulcanisation process or captively bond with the rubber if required.

Head to Stand 2028 at Tire Technology Expo to see the latest technologies from Rea Jet. The show runs until 22 February.

Steelastic discusses trends in manufacturing equipment

Experts at Steelastic have been engaged in deep discussions about upcoming trends and challenges in the tire industry – such as more flexibility in production.

Company president Ian Dennis said, “The tire industry is evolving at a rate never seen before. This evolution is driving requirements for significantly increased flexibility, automation, efficiency and traceability in tire manufacturing equipment. Steelastic is at the forefront of technology development that satisfies these requirements as well as making smaller, more flexible and lower-capital-outlay tire plants a viable reality.”
The company’s extrusion process is now being applied to equipment across tire component preparation.

Find out more about the latest technologies for manufacturing radial belts and cap strip on Stand 8014 at Tire Technology Expo 2018. The show runs until 22 February.

2018 Photo Gallery

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