For new tire factories, the firm markets what it has branded the Cimcorp Dream Factory, which it touts as a fully automated handling solution for tire manufacturing and distribution.
Cimcorp's technology breaks down the material handling functions into these elements: raw material or component preparation; tire building; green tire buffering; storage and retrieval; green tire curing; final finish and palletizing; and order fulfillment.
"In each of those areas, we're bringing new technology to manage the material handling," Heelis said. "Essentially we're automating those processes but not only the handling aspect of it, but also the logistic component as well. It gives you the ability to track and trace the product, and know the status in real time within the different areas of your production environment."
Tire makers typically would engage Cimcorp during the plant design phase, he said. That enables the end user to understand the requirements clearly from an automation point of view. "We can actually help them develop a more efficient plant layout if we're involved at that point of the process," the Cimcorp official said.
The sales pitch is different from traditional deals. "It's a very unique sales process," Heelis said. "You're not making a sales pitch. You're working at a level of interaction. It's a process where the latest technologies and ideas are merged with what the customer is trying to do."
Response has been positive to the Dream Factory, with the system implemented in some shape or form in new tire factories across all regions of the globe in recent years, said Heelis. He added that not all jobs are for a complete Dream Factory; some may be for individual elements.
It essentially can be configured to match the needs of a particular project. "We've got all these building blocks, and depending on how we put these building blocks together, we can construct a tailored solution for that customer out of those standard building blocks," he said.
The intent is to use automation to increase the efficiency and throughput of the facility, with the result being a factory that is a low-cost, high-quality producer. Heelis said there is a learning curve, but that customers normally find that once the first module is implemented, the process goes quicker from there. It can be utilized in both high-volume tire factories along with plants that make a variety of products.