Bridgestone hatches new BIRD automated production system

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Bridgestone Corp. has introduced a new tire manufacturing system, Bridgestone Innovative and Rational Development (BIRD), that extends automation to the final inspection process.

Bridgestone plans to refine the system "under mass production conditions at a pilot installation in Japan and then will deploy the technology at new and existing plants worldwide," according to Bridgestone officials.

BIRD contains three components: Bridgestone's Automated Tire Manufacturing Synchronized System that automates and integrates tire-building processes through vulcanization; the company's Automated Inspection Modular System that inspects tires automatically; and its Flow Oriented Approach that processes data for managing the entire system.

The compactly arranged system "can produce multiple sizes of tires simultaneously, which allows for making tires in smaller lots and will therefore reduce inventories," say Bridgestone officials.

"Although BIRD is an integrated system, it comprises numerous technologies that Bridgestone can deploy separately. The company thus will be able to employ BIRD-related advances at existing plants around the world."

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