Usage of labels and barcodes are imperative in the tire manufacturing process. However, since this is not a highly talked about aspect of tire manufacturing, you may wonder, “Why do we need barcode and labels in the tire manufacturing process?” Well, means of reliable identification complement your process by ensuring accurate traceability.
Barcodes, barcodes, barcodes… Why do we care? Plain and simple, with barcodes, your business is given the ability to track all moving parts and components in the manufacturing of a tire (there are a lot) from start to finish.
Here is a walkthrough of the 6 major steps to manufacturing a tire, and at which steps a barcode label is imperative:
6 Major Steps of Tire Manufacturing:
In this first stage of the tire manufacturing process, raw materials such as sulfur, rubber, and carbon black are mixed to form the rubber compound that will eventually make up the tire. If tracking is required at this stage, manufacturers would leverage melt-in labels.
At the calendering stage, rolling mills squeeze the mixture into sheets that will be used to make the tire. This is the stage where tire vulcanized barcode labels may become present, as some manufacturing facilities see benefit in labeling the flat ribbon of material before molding occurs. Starting the tracking process early is a great idea to guarantee proper tracking throughout the entire life of the tire.
We are an advocate for implementing barcode label automation into existing processes and there are a few reasons for this. First, automatic label applicators allow for precision label placement. This is a super huge step in streamlining the tire manufacturing process, because automated scanning later will be able to take place in a standard location on the tire bead. Label automation also reduces labor and waste in your facility, as mistakes and errors are much less likely to occur, and there will be less movement surrounding the process. Finally, with the standardization and streamlining that label automation allows for, throughput is drastically increased.
Check out our Vulcanized Barcode Label Applicator Development Services to learn more!
Now for the actual building of the tire—at the building stage, sheets are formed around a drum and over the beads to create the round shape that is a green tire. If the tire barcode labeling was not done during the calendering stage, it is critical that it be done here.
During curing, the green tires are placed over a balloon-like mold. After this, the balloon “inflates” with steam, and the tire is shaped through pressure and heat. It is important at this juncture that the tire barcode label has been accurately placed to ensure accessibility after molding, hence all remaining steps of the tire manufacturing process will be trackable.
After the mold has been cooled, the tire is tested for quality at the finishing stage. In addition to that, sensors test to ensure that the tire will run in a straight line. At this stage, the tire barcode label is extremely important; if certain aspects of the tire fail, the bead label allows for the problem to be traced back to the source and addressed.
Finally, tire manufacturing has been completed and it is on its way to a distributor, warehouse, or retailer. This is typically where the other important tire label comes into play: the tire tread label.
Tire tread labels are printed for each specific tire prior to distribution. The purpose of this tire is to comply with legislative requirements for consumer knowledge, and also to give a visual representation of your brand to attract customers in the retail space.
The original barcode label and tire tread label are interconnected: the tire bead barcode label will live with the tire throughout all of manufacturing. Once the tire is finished, the barcode label is scanned to collect respective product-specific information for the printing of a corresponding tire tread label.
Similar to barcode labeling, Computype highly recommends using label automation for the application of tread labels. We offer an all-in-one print and apply label automation system, Chromaffix; this specific system integrates all components of the tire labeling process in order to leverage barcode label information to print the associated tire tread label. Yay for accuracy! On top of that, through elimination of manual labor and error associated with manual tread labeling, we have seen tremendous savings with automation.
The tire manufacturing process can be complicated, and labels and barcodes have proven very successful in providing an audit trail along the way. Now that you have full knowledge of the role labels and barcodes play in this process, we have one last piece of advice as you move forward: single source your barcodes and labels.
Single sourcing of your barcodes and labels provides a few benefits that further streamline processes and the supply chain of your tire manufacturing plant:
First, it reduces administrative effort and budget with a single source for all of your tracking and labeling needs. When you have a single point of contact with a reputable business, typically you are able to have better communication of expectations.
Second of all, with this you are granted service and support for a closed-loop identification system. Should you encounter issues or roadblocks, your supplier will have the answers to the problems, even if it is in multiple places throughout the identification process.
Need some advice on how to improve your current labeling strategy? Schedule a free consultation with one of our label pros to get the answers you need!