BRUSSELS, Belgium—Bridgestone Corp. is committing $41 million throughout the coming four years to digitize the manufacturing processes at its eight European plants with a goal of more quickly and flexibly meeting "evolving" customer demands.
The investment will cover training for Bridgestone employees in the firm's European/Middle East/Africa division, and will allow them to operate digital technologies that are designed to help improve resource efficiency and job satisfaction.
The smart factory project will transform the production process—covering manufacturing semi-finished products, energy supply, maintenance, production monitoring and production planning—at plants in France, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Spain, Bridgestone said.
The improvements also will address energy savings, efficiency increases, waste reduction and process simplification.
The first of the projects scheduled, dubbed "Smart Energy," will focus on optimizing the plants' energy consumption and costs, with a goal of cutting energy consumption by about 10 percent, Bridgestone said.
The Smart Energy system creates a link between the production plans and energy consumption, and modeling these will optimize the energy requirement of tire production.