Two years on since the last live show, there is an incredible amount of innovation everywhere you look at this week’s Tire Technology Expo. The first day has already seen new launches and innovations across the floor, including the latest from Siemens, Versalis, Lawer, Danfoss, Birla and VMI:
Siemens incorporates multiphysics process models into tire manufacturing digital twins
Digitalization is an important trend in tire production. To meet demand from customers, Siemens is presenting a broad digital enterprise portfolio for the whole value chain at Tire Technology Expo. Specifically for tire manufacturers and machine builders, the company has enhanced the capabilities of its digital twins for tire production machines and plants. The most significant development is the incorporation of multiphysics process models in addition to mechatronics models, allowing for greater efficiency and advanced process monitoring on production lines.
As Peter Haan, global head of vertical market management for the tire industry at Siemens, explained, “Digital twins are nothing new for Siemens and we have been doing them for years. But what is new this year is the integration of Amesim, which allows you to parameterize the steam package [of a press], incorporating tube sizes, the steam pressure and temperature inputs, and define the entire system.”
The incorporation of process modeling not only allows for greater optimization of machinery during the design and commissioning phase but also enables the models to be exported and run on edge devices on the factory floor. This allows the ideal simulated process parameters to be compared directly with the physical process while a line is running, so that any issues can be quickly identified, improving both efficiency and production quality while also increasing the effectiveness of preventative maintenance programs.
Sustainable elastomers on show to improve compound performance
Versalis is using Tire Technology Expo to exhibit its latest sustainable elastomer materials. These include the next-generation fn-S-SBR developed for a stronger polymer-filler interaction, and a new high-cis BR with a specially designed structure to improve overall compound performance.
To improve sustainability, bio, bio-circular and circular feedstocks can be utilized instead of traditional fossil feedstocks at the refinery stage. Furthermore, the amount of bio, bio-circular and circular feedstock used is determined using the mass balance approach to styrene and butadiene monomers.
The polymers are ISCC PLUS certified and benefit from the same performance, quality and properties as traditional products. This negates the need for new tests, new product development, technology adaptations, registration and regulatory approvals.
Experiments showed that when the polymers were mixed according to a typical silica tread solution rich in functionalized S-SBR, all the major traction properties improved when replacing SOL R 72616 with the new fn-S-SBR grade.
Besides the predicted reduction in rolling resistance to improve compound sustainability, the new grades are bio-attributed via the mass balance approach.
See the automated dosing system that gives unrivaled customization
Italian automatic weighing equipment specialist Lawer is showing its Supersincro fully automated dosing systems at this year’s Tire Technology Expo. Leveraging the company’s expertise in weighing powder products such as pigments, additives and chemicals, Lawer’s products – which are based on single- or multi-scale processes – enable increased reliability, safety and efficiency.
The Supersincro is a horizontal, automatic weighing system for chemicals used in the mixing room. The customizable system can feed different chemicals – stored in big bags, hoppers, silos or interchangeable silos – into bags of varying sizes, which are produced automatically. Additionally, the Supersincro V3 can output up to one bag every 30in and automatically changes the roll of film.
“This is an evolution [of a machine]that we produced five years ago. We have worked hard to continuously improve this new type of automation, [producing]machines not only for the management of the dosing but also for the logistics; the boxes and so on,” commented Federico Ormezzano, Lawer’s managing director. “We know exactly what the needs of the customers are, and we have received a lot of information over the past five years.”
Danfoss’s one-stop hydraulic power solution for tire manufacturers on display
Danfoss is shining a spotlight on its Vickers by Danfoss HPU (Hydraulic Power Unit) at Tire Technology Expo. The HPU is a complete hydraulic system for tire manufacturing machinery supplied in a single, comprehensive and convenient package.
“We are showing an example of an HPU for tire production presses, alongside a variety of variable and fixed piston pumps and customizable proportional valves,” said Armin Steinmann, a sales manager at Danfoss Power Solutions.
With hydraulic components for extrusion, molding, pressing, forming and rolling machines central to performance and reliability at tire production plants around the world, Danfoss has looked to meet the evolving needs of producers. To this end, the HPU is available with a raft of customization options and supplied with a full suite of components to complete the system, including pumps, motors, drives, valves, fittings, connectors, hoses, filters and electrical components. Notably, Danfoss also engineers the packages to meet regional variations in regulations, such as those controlling energy consumption and noise levels.
Available in a variety of sizes, the Vickers pumps offer the choice of piston, gear or vane pump to meet specific process demands such as pressure, noise and speed. Another core element of the HPU package is the Danfoss VSD (Variable Speed Drive), which is increasingly being used for on-demand control of motors for hydraulic machine applications. “With the variable-speed pumps, you can ensure you only have the power you need at a machine, which is very important in new plants where energy efficiency is key,” added Steinmann.
For example, an ideal application of a VSD is in a vertical tire press. When the press closes during the vulcanization process, the VSD reduces motor speed, in turn curtailing the speed of the hydraulic pump. As well as producing energy savings of up to 40%, without the motor and pump running continuously it is possible to reduce heat, vibration and noise. Cooler operation can facilitate the downsizing or elimination of oil cooling systems, while smoother operation can translate to longer component life and potentially even improve product quality.
Danfoss also has a variety of fluid conveyance solutions on show, such as fittings, connectors and tubes to connect everything in the HPU package. In particular, the Waltech-Walform series offers a reliable, leak-free design, ideal for high-pressure, high-vibration applications where safety is crucial. Also available is the Aeroquip by Danfoss EC881 hydraulic hose, which offers high-pressure capabilities in combination with unrivaled cycle life and 50% better bend radius than EN standard hose.
Birla showcases its sustainable alternative to furnace carbon black
Following the launch of its Continua Sustainable Carbonaceous Materials (SCM), carbon black manufacturer Birla Carbon is showcasing its Continua 8000 SCM, a sustainable and greener alternative to traditionally used furnace carbon black.
Engineered for the circular economy, the Continua SCM products aim to enable large and quantifiable carbon footprint reductions to help the tire industry become cleaner with more sustainable value chains.
“Continua is a 100% circular product from tire pyrolysis. It is a carbon-negative product and brings circularity at scale to all industries that it is suitable for, such as the tire industry, plastics and other rubber and coatings industries,” commented Joseph Hallett, technical lead for Continua. “We are currently running a pilot plant to supply our customers during the initial phases, but the final plant in the Netherlands is coming on stream in the back end of 2023. When fully finished it will bring 70,000 metric tons of Continua to the market and will be the largest operational facility in Europe.”
VMI brings speed and efficiency to bead apexing at the expo
With tire manufacturers having to manage an ever-increasing number of tire specifications, they face significant challenges to maintain output at required levels when batches get shorter and more size changes have to be made at every step of the process. This calls for flexible solutions that allow smaller production runs with the lowest cost per tire.
This is where VMI’s flexible production platforms and the company’s creative use of data and analytics come into play, allowing for straight-through production with minimal stops for material handling, and enabling manufacturers to build precisely what the market requires.
One system the company is showcasing at Tire Technology Expo is Revolute, which is designed to complement its existing bead apexing solution. Shortlisted for a TTI Award for Innovation and Excellence, the system speeds up production time per item to double that of the next best-performing system while also increasing performance in other ways, such as a higher apex than any other system on the market and the ability to accommodate a greater variety of compounds.
Revolute enables shorter changeover times, with much less operator intervention and greater use of recipe-driven methods. As a result, waste is reduced, quality is more consistent and processes are made more efficient, resulting in increased flexibility and improved competitiveness. VMI’s engineers are also on hand to discuss the company’s entire range of tire manufacturing equipment.