SICK Automation recently supplied two turnkey track and trace systems for multinational tyre manufacturers Bridgestone and Sumitomo Rubber at their South African plants, marking the first installations worldwide of the sensor specialist’s latest image-based code readers, the Tire Lector Array (TLA), in the tyre manufacturing industry.
By tracking and tracing barcoded tyres across the manufacturing and internal handling cycle, the TLA plays a critical role in managing and controlling the ‘just in time’ production processes of the plants, as well as automated batch and distribution management. “A successful technological solution for this application ensures that, no matter the height, diameter or orientation and position of the tyre on the conveyor belt, every unit is reliably identified,” explains Prishan Chain, Key Account Manager, SICK Automation Southern Africa. “The high-resolution Lector65x sensors, with intelligent technology features including dynamic focus and adaptive illumination, provided the capabilities required for Japanese process quality specifications.” Ten systems were supplied to the Bridgestone plant in Pretoria in 2016, while the Sumitomo Rubber plant in Ladysmith has a total of four systems. Both plants manufacture the full range of standard and low-profile tyres for on-road vehicles, from 13 to 20 inch.