Pirelli S.p.A.'s Modular Integrated Roboticized System (MIRS) concept is the latest in a series of manufacturing innovations developed or under development by various tire makers.
Perhaps the best known—and least understood—is Michelin's C3M process, a robotic system that eliminates upstream component manufacturing and assembly in favor of complete tire building on a toroidal drum.
The C3M process promises an 85-percent cut in manufacturing time and a reduction in floor space and energy use of up to 90 percent.
Michelin currently operates at least eight C3M plants—five in Europe, two in the U.S. and one in Brazil.
Continental A.G.'s approach to alternative manufacturing is called Modular Manufacturing Process, which is based on building casing "platforms"—i.e., without the final tread layer—on a large scale at one site and completing their assembly at "satellite" plants.
Bridgestone Corp.'s advanced tire-assembly system—called ACTAS, for Automated Continuous Tire Assembly System—is based on a highly automated tire-building machine that completely assembles the green tire, including belts and beads, and extrudes the tread rubber onto the built carcass.
Goodyear claims its IMPACT—Integrated Manufacturing Precision Assembly Cellular Technology—process allows it to reduce material costs 15 percent, direct labor 35 percent, curing time 20 percent and in-process inventory 50 percent.
The process involves forming and assembling components simultaneously, eliminating splices in critical tire components and cutting process steps in half while improving quality.