AKSARAY, Turkey — Turkish tire maker Brisa Bridgestone Sabanci Lastik Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S. has started production at a $300 million "smart" factory in Askaray, central Turkey.
Under construction since 2014, the new factory is rated at 4.2 million passenger and light truck tires a year with 700 employees.
Brisa, a joint venture between Turkish industrial and financial conglomerate Haci Ömer Sabanci Holding and Japan's Bridgestone Corp., said the plant — its second in Turkey — is based on Industry 4.0 and smart factory principles.
The company said the new plant was beginning a new smart factory "era" in Turkey, using technologies such as robotic applications, data analytics, and digitalization within the plant.
Among the plant's efficiency improvements are fully automated tire transfer systems, tracking production through the digital twin of its plant, green building applications and increased employment of virtual reality.
"[With] the automatic tire transfer system, our tires hardly touch the ground," Brisa CEO Cevdet Alemdar said.
The technology, he said, will help the company produce "zero defect" products and double inventory turnover compared with a "traditional" manufacturing plant. Moreover, Brisa claims the new plant is 30-percent more energy efficient than a traditional plant.
With the digital twin of the manufacturing plant, the company has created a cyber platform that can help it track production remotely and interfere only when problems arise.
According Mr. Alemdar, the system is connected to an advanced data analytics system that generates over 800 million data points per day from smart machinery and vehicles.
"Analyzing the data, we are able to identify the ideal conditions of the tire inside the production machinery, and even the production angles of the tires," he added.
Commenting on the opening of the plant, Makoto Hashimoto, Bridgestone Corp. vice president and Brisa vice chairman of the board, stated that the Aksaray plant is "one of Bridgestone's most important production bases."
"We wholeheartedly believe that the Aksaray manufacturing plant will enable Brisa to take the necessary steps in original equipment and export channels to increase its growth momentum in Turkey and in global markets," he added.
Brisa's existing factory complex in Izmit, Turkey, is rated at 11 million car and truck tires a year.
The new plant's Department of Transportation ID code is 027.