ANN ARBOR, Mich. (June 18, 2003) — Pirelli Tire North America Inc. was recognized by a coalition of robotics trade associations with the 2003 Robots & Vision User Recognition Award for its innovative robotic tire assembly process.
Pirelli's Modular Integrated Robotic System, or MIRS, compresses the traditional tire making process—from raw materials intake to finished product—to 72 minutes from six days.
The groups that sponsor the biennial award singled out MIRS for its modification to the traditional six-axis Comau robot to incorporate an additional auxiliary axis to provide drum rotation during the rubber application process.
Pirelli has two patents on the process and five more applied for, according to Andrew Kearton, director of manufacturing at Pirelli Tire in Rome, Ga., one of four Pirelli factories worldwide using MIRS. Together, the four plants should produce 600,000 tires this year using MIRS, Pirelli said.
“Our panel of judges was extremely impressed by this innovative robotic application,” said Donald A. Vincent, executive vice president, Robotic Industries Association, one of the trade groups that sponsor the award. “Pirelli's success is a great example to other companies in all industries looking at their manufacturing process to see how robots can help them make significant improvements.”
The award was announced at International Robots & Vision Show and Conference held earlier this month in Rosemont, Ill. Past Recipients of the award include Pepperidge Farm, Honeywell and Pioneer Hi-Bred.