GENEVA, Switzerland (March 8, 2002) – Goodyear has brought on stream a fully automated, robotic-based manufacturing system at its Fulda, Germany, plant dedicated to making run-flat tires.
The new process — Runflat System for Automated Manufacturing, or RFSAM— is described as “highly automated, hands-off technology” designed to help assure the quality and integrity of such tires. Goodyear already is making its own “EMT” sidewall-reinforced run-flat tires at Fulda, and said the new system is capable of making the asymmetric-beaded tires for the PAX extended mobility system developed by Groupe Michelin. Goodyear and Michelin agreed in June 2000 to cooperate on developing the PAX concept.
Goodyear intends to install RFSAM production cells at its Hanau, Germany, and Lawton, Okla., plants before year-end 2003. Both plants already make run-flat tires: Hanau makes the Dunlop Self-Supporting Tires (DSST) developed by Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. before Goodyear bought majority control of the Dunlop businesses in Europe and North America; and Lawton makes the EMT for North American distribution.
Goodyear said it will have sold more than 1 million EMTs by year-end 2002.