This article first appeared in the
Winter 2017 issue of The Record.
Headquartered in Hanover, Germany, Continental AG is the world’s fourth largest tyre manufacturer. Founded in 1871 as a rubber manufacturer, the company now operates additional divisions handling brake systems, interior electronics, automotive safety, powertrain/chassis components, tachographs and additional parts for the automotive and transportation industries. Almost every third car in Europe is delivered with tyres from Continental and its tyre brands such as Continental, Uniroyal, General Tire, Semperit and Barum. Today the company has more than 227,000 employees in 56 countries.
Continental wanted to update its process analysis and control systems for its passenger car, light truck, bus and truck tyre production sites in 18 separate locations worldwide. The company’s initial aim was to develop a system that could handle near real-time data collection from production equipment for process and product analysis and optimisation.
In 2016, Continental started a pilot Database for Online Process Analysis and Control (DOPAC) project at its plant in Puchov, Slovakia. The company spent a year developing a prototype and decided early in the process to move on from installed legacy systems. After considering multiple vendor solutions, it decided upon ICONICS HMI/SCADA and data historian to comprise the heart of DOPAC.
Continental’s new system was intended to steer and continuously improve the company’s production processes based on statistical process control measurement of product ¬performance-relevant data. The company continues to validate DOPAC’s business use case through the performance of defined technical test cases. When finalised, the system will be expected to work with multiple brands of programmable logic controllers, handle initial groups of sensors/tags defined by central functions, and provide an interface with the company’s current manufacturing execution systems.
Continental selected ICONICS automation software solutions due to the company’s product scope (in terms of technical solutions) and the flexibility of its available modules. In addition, Continental favoured ICONICS’ strong customer orientation, the flexibility and availability of its employees, and the fact that it is a ¬solution-oriented company. Among the perceived benefits of ICONICS automation software, Continental highlighted its transparency, web-based utility and light installation footprint.
Nobody knows product roll out better than a tyre manufacturer. Following the pilot phase of its DOPAC system, Continental expects to roll out ICONICS HMI/SCADA and data historian solutions throughout its remaining 20 passenger car, light truck, bus and truck tyre production facilities across the world.
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