Robots increase capacity in a limited space

Feb 23, 2005
Cimcorp Headquarters

New Cimcorp gantry robots will be installed in the Nokia factory of Nokian Tyres next summer.

There have been many changes since the most famous Nokia tyre, Hakkapeliitta, came into production back in 1936. Nowadays the product portfolio of Nokian Tyres at their Nokia factory comprises about 350 different tyres, produced at an increasing capacity. This continual growth in production requires the automation of finished tyre handling, which has got off to a good start in the past few years.

At the tyre factory in Nokia, the gantry robot sorts the tyres that come from production into neat piles by type. Its gripper picks up the tyres by squeezing them from the inside with a grip pressure appropriate for each type of tyre. When the piles of tyres are high enough, the robot transfers them on to testing, and from there to an articulated robot, which loads them onto pallets to be sent to the warehouse.

The robots belong to the Cimcorp TyrePick system, which speeds up and facilitates the handling of finished tyres. Sorting, order picking and warehouse management are handled by the Cimcorp WCS control system. The first components of the system were implemented at Nokia in summer 2001. Since then, during each summer shutdown some new automation has been installed in the dispatch centre. At present there are two gantry robots and two articulated robots in use.

Nokian Tyres are very happy with their investments at the factory.

”The gantry robots have enabled us to increase our output from year to year. Without them we would have reached the ceiling some time ago. As for the articulated robots, it is more a question of automation and increased productivity,” says Keijo Ylitalo, development manager in charge of passenger car tyre production technology development and capital investments.

Next summer, a third gantry robot will be installed in the Nokia factory. After that, about half the production will be handled by the robots. Five more articulated robots will be installed, so all seven loading lines of the factory will be automated.
The dispatch warehouse will be automated piece by piece during the next three summer shutdowns. The objective is to exceed a production capacity of 20 000 tyres a year within two years with the aid of automation.
“If things go according to plan, in two years all production will go via the Cimcorp systems. Then the only manual work left in this area will be supervision.”

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