AKRON (June 1, 2001)-–Goodyear will install a hot former tire component manufacturing line for passenger tires at its Lawton, Okla., plant later this year, with production from the IMPACT-based system to start early in 2002.
Similarly, Goodyear plans to add a hot former line for passenger tires at its Philippsburg, Germany, plant in 2003, and another in 2002 for truck tires at an as-yet undisclosed site in North America, company executives said June 1 during a briefing on the IMPACT system.
The hot former is a series of calenders with contoured rollers linked by a conveyor belt that pre-assembles a number of rubber components—inner liner, sidewall, apex, chafer etc.—prior to tire building. A passenger tire hot former unit represents about 12,000 units of daily production, but the line going into Lawton will be used to replace older, less efficient production lines, according to Rick Vannan, Goodyear director of advanced process and product technology.
IMPACT—Integrated Manufacture/Precision Assembly/Cellular Technology—is the acronym describing Goodyear's proprietary automated manufacturing system. Goodyear expects to spend $200 million this year on IMPACT-related activities, on top of $516 million spent up to now—including $2 million on patents alone—according to Bradely Bruggeman, director, facilities planning and corporate services.