Production time for large rim diameter passenger tires four times faster with new process.
LUXEMBOURG, May 5, 2022 – The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company officially opened its new manufacturing facility in Dudelange, Luxembourg, today following a $77 million investment in its industry 4.0 digital manufacturing process.
The new facility is a first of its kind for Goodyear and it will provide opportunities to learn, test and mature technology as production capability continues to increase. It features a new process focused on small-batch production of large rim diameter ultra-high performance (UHP) and ultra-ultra-high performance (UUHP) tires, which enables Goodyear to produce tires four times faster than a standard production cycle. This means that the company can respond to customer demands very quickly and efficiently.
Developed by Goodyear engineers, the process anticipates and responds to increasing complexity in the tire industry. The intensifying focus by original equipment manufacturers on large rim diameter tires, as well as a vast variety of vehicle models and options available to consumers, creates a growing need to efficiently develop and produce premium UUHP tires in small-batch quantities on-demand for replacement and original equipment customers.
“We needed to design this integrated product and process to deliver for the changing needs of the market. By doing so, we are enabling a new business model to serve our customers and consumers in this important and increasingly complex part of the market.” said Chris Helsel, senior vice president, Global Operations and chief technology officer. “The new process will give us a competitive advantage, targeting world-class quality and responsiveness.”
The new technology requires new skills, and so far, Goodyear has hired 90 associates to support the facility and in the coming months will recruit 20 additional electromechanical technicians. Goodyear has also invested in training programs to enhance skills to enable current associates to perform new and innovative manufacturing processes.
The new facility is now operational, and the official opening ceremony is a key step along the journey to full capability. The official opening ceremony took place in the presence of Luxembourg’s Son Altesse Royale le Grand-Duc, Franz Fayot Minister of Economy and Dan Biancalana, Deputy-Mayor of Dudelange.
Franz Fayot, Minister of the Economy of Luxembourg commented: “As the first important American company to settle in Luxembourg in 1951, Goodyear marked a new beginning in Luxembourg’s industrial history and its economic diversification. Since then, the relationship between Goodyear and Luxembourg has always been one of mutual support and trust. The company’s new manufacturing facility in Dudelange is confirming the assets of the Grand Duchy as a destination for high-tech industrial investment by international groups.”
What is the new Process?
The process allows Goodyear to produce tires four times faster than a standard production cycle via forming and hot application of components at the tire assembly machine. In different words, this is a version of 3-D printing for the tire industry.
The speed of production is thanks to new digital processes featuring highly automated, interconnected workstations using additive manufacturing technologies.
The process drives efficiencies during the industrialization process of new products that will later go into mass production, thanks to the fully automated and high precision nature of the manufacturing process.
This, combined with new virtual capabilities that Goodyear is installing in its Innovation Center in Colmar-Berg Luxembourg, is a key step to further reduce product development cycle time aiming to reach Goodyear’s goal of being a preferred original equipment supplier, achieving first approval for all development products with only one physical iteration.