Continental implements EU Tyre Label with Legi-Air Tyre
“Zero error”: Tyre marking with outgoing goods inspection
The EU Tyre Labelling Regulation EU 1222/2009 entered into force towards the end of 2012. To implement this regulation, Continental Germany, together with labelling specialist Weber Marking Systems in Rheinbreitbach (Germany), developed a plant to label tyres fully automatically.
Virtually one in three cars in Europe is supplied with tyres by Continental. Continental welcomed the EU development of a labelling regulation to promote user education and the sale of vehicle tyres that use resources more effectively. The regulation mandates that passenger and utility vehicle tyres shall bear labels stating fuel effectiveness, wet grip and rolling noise. Continental tyres have met these criteria for many years already and easily so. The regulation will be implemented by means of a 75 x 100 mm sticker applied to the tread of every tyre.
Label: Challenge and opportunity
Apart from linking the controller hardware and software to the SAP system deployed at the company, even the selection of the actual material for the label proved particularly challenging in this instance: Because labels will inherently stick poorly to rubberised surfaces. The manufacture of tyres will also unavoidably leave behind residues of chemicals and separating agents. The Bluhm Label Production Department therefore coated the labels with a powerful natural rubber adhesive that sticks to rubber particularly well. To ensure that the labels will be simple to punch, print and process in a labelling facility despite their specific properties, Bluhm Systeme and its raw material supplier developed a sophisticated solution to the challenge of label material and adhesive.
Although product labelling poses challenges, it also has significant benefits: Continental realised that labelling will render production and consignment steps transparent, potentially making an important contribution to quality assurance: 33 000 different vehicle tyres are produced daily at the Sarreguemines works in France alone. 1 000 workers process in excess of 650 different articles. This is why Continental and Bluhm Systeme developed the labelling facility to not only label tyres arriving in chaotic order, but to simultaneously also record them and prepare them for the Outgoing goods department. “We called the system “ALOC facility”, explains Alain Hoff, Sarreguemines Plant Operation Manager: “This stands for Automatic Labeling and Outbound Check – tyre labelling with outgoing goods inspection. This facility processes 10.5 million tyres per year and reduces our errors during consignment and dispatch to zero.”