Within Michelin facilities, the manufacturing process of a tire is extremely complex. More than 200 raw materials are necessary to provide the tire specific characteristics for its utilization. The base compound of the tire is made with synthetic and natural rubber blended with carbon black and silica. These 4 ingredients will be mixed with resin and oil.
To provide a specific characteristic to the tire, the proportion of the ingredients within the compound can vary but it is the chemistry associated with the minor ingredients that will confer hardness, resistance, durability and energy saving…
For a better control of this very sensitive part of the process, Michelin launched the modernization of minor ingredients formulation for tires manufacturing. Matcon Cone Valve Technology has been validated for the handling and the refill of the ingredients to batch metering devices.
The prototype, after dry testing at Michelin Headquarters in Clermont Ferrand, France, has been duplicated and commissioned at the tire Factory in Cholet, France. After 9 months of use, the installation has been validated by the operators, Production, Quality and Engineering Departments. It is now being deployed at the International Michelin sites in the USA and India, prior to be expanded in the coming years in other countries, in order to sustain Michelin growth.
Pierrick Prunaret, Project Manager, Engineering department: "Working with Matcon has been trouble free. The reputation of the Cone Valve for handling various types of powders was known to us, but we needed proof. With the help of Matcon during the commissioning stage of the first installation, we have controlled the various flow characteristics of the powders and have managed to apply the same settings on all the Discharge Stations such that they are compatible with all ingredients.
The Matcon cone valve system refills the dosing device with fresh product.
Powder is conditioned, the metering is more accurate and the reliability of the entire system is improved.
Prototyping is critical to a company like ours when developing new technology. It is mandatory that all departments involved validate the equipment and that we test it during a significant period. Apart from minor modifications to interfaces and connections between the components of the system, none of the major machines has been challenged prior to the deployment.
Technology is critical for powder handling, but it is equally important that the chosen supplier has the capacity to assist the various Michelin sites for commissioning and after sales. The organisation of Matcon with its subsidiaries and offices throughout the world coincides with the planed installations by Michelin. Matcon's subsidiary in the USA will take over for the commissioning of the upcoming installation in South Carolina in early 2014.
Thanks to this technology, also used in the Pharmaceutical, Metal Powder and Infant Nutrition Industries, Michelin capture performance of these innovative systems for the benefit of their clients and employees."
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