Michelin's Hungarian Factory Modernizes Curing Equipment

Manufacturing

A major development has been introduced at the Michelin plant in Nyíregyháza, Hungary. The sports car tire factory is modernizing its curing equipment by replacing the existing steam presses with electric ones, thereby reducing its energy consumption.

Curing (or vulcanization) is the final stage in the tire manufacturing process, during which the tires are getting their final geometric form. The chemical reaction that creates cross-linkages between the polymer chains of the rubber compound takes place in curing presses holding the tire molds, under the influence of heat.

Michelin developed its first electric curing press in Germany in the early 2010s. This technology is considered unique as it is not typically used by other suppliers in the production of tires for passenger cars. In Germany, this first electric curing press was equipped with Siemens technology, and Michelin is implementing this control technology as company standard for all its factories for the installation of new presses.

Pilot Project Precedes the Hungarian Development

Michelin installed the prototype of the electric curing press in Nyíregyháza in 2021, and in the following year, six new electric presses were commissioned in addition to the first one. Based on the positive experiences, the replacement of all 40 presses in the plant has begun in 2023, and all curing presses are scheduled to become electric by the end of 2024.

By replacing steam presses with electric production technology, the Nyíregyháza factory is expected to increase its energy efficiency by seven times, and moves closer to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 by reducing its environmental footprint and CO2 emissions.

The Nyíregyháza plant is the first Michelin tire factory to use Siemens PLCs to control not only the electric curing presses but also the robot that operates them. In addition to that, Siemens Zrt. provides spare parts for the machines and training for Michelin's local engineers. This cooperation is not new: production at the Hungarian tire factory has been supported by Siemens drive technology solutions, frequency converters and electric motors for quite some time.

Making Tires for Super Sports Cars

The Nyíregyháza plant started its operations in 1962, and the Michelin Group acquired – as it was called at that time – the Taurus company in 1996. Today, the factory, which employs more than 1,000 people, manufactures high-performance tires for sports and super sports vehicles. Its customers include Porsche, Land Rover, the AMG Group and Ferrari.

The tire factory is the largest company in Hungary’s Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County, and has cooperated with more than 1,700 local suppliers in the last five years.

 

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