SHERBROOKE, Quebec—Numetrix Technologies Inc. is bringing its high resolution 3D digitizing technology to the tire industry.
The firm, which already services rubber extruders with the technology, has developed a sidewall recognition system that provides real time surface features and overall shape inspection of a tire's sidewall through a stationary scanning application.
“The biggest thing is to be able to have a quick verification of the tire so you don't move the tire from its location,” said Sylvain Dube, Numetrix vice president of sales. “But you're also getting the accuracy. It's validating that the tire is correct to a spec sheet. You're eliminating the risk of a human error by verifying it.”
Numetrix President Simon Rodrigue said the firm's technology stands out from the competition because it can digitize the surface of a product in 3D—a camera takes photo of surface and will acquire all the 3D surface details—in high resolution without removing the part from production.
“It's almost like a microscope,” he said. “We get a lot of details on the surface and can detect all sorts of small features like bumps. We can see the texture of the surface. What's unique about our technology is that we can add a lot of resolution over moving objects.
“The competition has some digitizing technology that will acquire 3D data with high resolution, but it requires that the object is stationary, not moving. These products cannot work on production processes that need the object to be continuously moving. Our technology is really unique because it acquires a lot of resolution on objects that are moving.”
For the tire industry, the technology is particularly useful in examining the finer points of the tire. Dube said right now the mold change process takes up to 45 minutes. He added that Numetrix's technology could shorten that process down to within a minute on the assembly line.
“Nobody could read the sidewall of the tire,” he said. “To be able to recognize a letter and match it to a spec sheet, there was no technology available to be able to do that for the tire industry, and our technology is able to meet that.
“We're able to measure very quickly, but also very accurately.”
Dube said one of the large tire manufacturers is using the firm's technology. Numetrix recently showcased the machine at a tire technology show in Hanover, Germany, and received interest from many major tire producers.
Numetrix was founded in 2007 and spent its first six years developing its core 3D visualizing technology. Once complete, it worked with its first client to implement the technology for body sealing and surfacing inspection. The technology detects any kind of contamination or defect on the surface of the product. Automotive has been the firm's primary focus, but Dube said Numetrix envisions its technology branching into other industries.
The firm is a member of the Elastomer Valley Group, a group of Canadian companies that have joined together to pursue development opportunities.
Rodrigue sees many different applications for the firm's technology and projects to double the size of its work force of 16 by 2017 as it continues to break into new markets and further into the tire industry.