VMI uses eWON routers to reach tire machines
July 9, 2013 -VMI, based in Epe, Netherlands, manufactures tire machines that guarantee a high uptime. Otto Sonneveld explains: "VMI sets high standards when it comes to quality. Our machines are built to be the very best, so our customers can rely on them. This is crucial for the tyre industry as they are also expected to provide top quality at affordable rates, and that means high uptime. Of course, there are times when maintenance is necessary. An interruption of the production might be inevitable, but hopefully this interruption can be planned. It always costs money, especially when downtime occurs during production.
To keep every interruption as short as possible, we have been installing eWON routers next to our controllers for the last five years. Although the tyre industry often proves to be conservative, many companies realise the benefits of such a router. They all strive towards maximum machine uptime. Admittedly, we also benefit from the eWON. During the commissioning phase, when the machine is being installed at the client's site, our engineers in Epe are able to support our colleagues who are working onsite. This is thousands of euros cheaper than sending colleagues to a client in Russia or Indonesia. Furthermore, it is much faster. Machines that are already installed and operating, sometimes for a long time, at the client's site, can also be reached and maintained using the eWON router. In nine out of ten cases, these are minor issues; but it is so helpful to be able to check easily on a machine that is thousands of kilometres away"
"We are able to connect to our machines via the internet and offer assistance during installation or maintenance. When we tell this to our customers, it immediately draws their attention. They would rather not waste time on updates or trouble shooting. Using the eWON router, our most qualified engineers are able to give support from Epe during machine commissioning or maintenance at the client's site, anywhere in the world." says Otto Sonneveld, Manager support group at VMI.
Car tyre manufacturers can be found everywhere in the world, yet the machines required to produce the tyres are manufactured by just a handful of companies. VMI from Epe (Central Netherlands region) is one of the top three manufacturers and is active worldwide. VMI employs 700 people; aside from the head office in Epe, there are also plants in Germany, China and the United States. Of the entire production, 95% is exported. For the moment, the main countries for export are China, Indonesia, the United States and Russia. VMI manufactures machines for every step of the tyre production process: rubber extrusion, canvas weaving to strengthen the tyre, production of the different rubber layers, assembly of the tyre, vulcanising, profile production and tyre testing. A recent innovation is the VMI Maxx, a complete 'hands-off' machine system. The machine operator controls the loading of the material, by means of a touch panel, and the automated system uses its pre-programmed recipes to take care of the whole production process. VMI Maxx produces up to 1800 car tyres per day.
Can’t live without it
“We just can’t imagine our machines without the eWON. One of the reasons is also that our machines become increasingly complex and high-tech. We have machines, equipped with Allen Bradley and Siemens PLCs, whose 10 to 20 axes and frequency converters are driven in sync. We connect our own vision application to the networks, as well as the latest HMIs and PCs. It takes more and more technical skills all the time, and that makes eWON even more important."
Costs recovered in one day
"Engineers are now able to monitor everything, anywhere in the world. The eWON unit is relatively expensive; however, if, thanks to an eWON you can save 24 hours of downtime, your investment is immediately recovered. Quality is very important for us. We expect all parts of our machinery to comply with the highest levels of quality. This puts our client's minds at ease and prevents us from having to intervene at a later stage. We consider the eWON as part of our machines; it must therefore comply with the highest quality standards. It is only with this type of component that we can make our customers happy. And that works well: in the five years that we have been working with eWON, we have never had to replace a router."
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