Clear trends in Western tire plants are a higher level of automation, less labor, and a reliable QA control. In addition, flexibility, safety and ergonomy are becoming increasingly important. And machinery is now becoming more integrated into the total production process. This is accomplished by connecting machines to the MES-software of the plant, which allows downloading production tickets to the machines and uploading quality data of each tire to a quality system. Secondly, the process can be integrated by logistic systems to transport components from the preparation area to the tire building machines. In the last years VMI has launched the MAXX tire building machine and the Edgiq steelcord cutter. These machines are designed to fit those mentioned trends and support hands-off and eyes-off production and robotized green tire handling. Tire manufacturers want to reduce the human influence on tire quality and on the numbers of tires produced. The latest technologies in servo controls and vision systems enable this high level of “hands-off and eyes-off.” Hands-off means that the operator does not need to touch the tire in any step in the building process. Eyes-off means that the operator is not needed in front of the machine during tire production. Devices replace the operator's eyes and check the process more accurately. The measurements can be stored for tracking & tracing. Presented by Jan Grashuis, Vice President Global R & D, VMI USA.