Siemens Announces Collaboration with McNeil & NRM on a Digital Twin of The AUTOLOK® Tire Curing Press

Siemens has developed a complete digital twin of the AUTOLOK® curing press with software in the loop capability (SIL) for McNeil & NRM, a leading builder of tire presses and related equipment.

McNeil & NRM Inc, are two well established names in the history of tire curing presses who combined in 1992. Now known as McNeil & NRM, the company has its technology base in Akron, Ohio and a high-quality manufacturing plant in Bucharest, Romania. The AUTOLOK® curing press is part of a family of presses whose designs are regularly updated to maintain cutting edge technology in the 46” to 67” press size range.

While the global tire market has experienced significant growth over the years, the industry has undergone several changes lately that are driving a re-focus of the technology. These include e-Mobility and autonomous driving. Competitive tire production needs to be highly flexible and react quickly to volatile market developments, while also meeting today’s high standards of quality, safety and environmental impact issues. Digitalization helps manufacturers remain competitive, as it provides heavy machine builders significantly increased flexibility in design protocols. 

In the Siemens strategy, digital twins of the product, the production process and the production facilities, as well as the product’s in-plant performance, are linked to a single integrated data model in the cloud. This creates a complete picture of the manufacturing landscape and a closed loop through the digital world. It enables continuous improvements for best possible results, based on actual production and performance data feedback. The digital twin of a tire press helps turn innovative design into a successful new machine by providing design, simulation and verification, all in the digital environment. The entire production process is planned, simulated and optimized under virtual working conditions, before the press build starts. Furthermore, prototyping efforts are reduced considerably, machines can be optimized during development and machine operators can be trained, long before a machine is actually commissioned.

Using the digital twin technology from Siemens, McNeil & NRM can predict the operation of the press and simulate its actual running. The Siemens Mechatronics Concept Designer (MCD) provides the ability to achieve virtual commissioning. Virtual commissioning based on “software in the loop” is based on the TIA Portal, PLCSIM Advanced and the Mechatronics Concept Designer. This is a crucial factor in reducing commissioning times in the real world and preventing costly machine crashes. In addition, McNeil & NRM will be working on applying NX software and Mechatronics Concept Designer tools to accelerate the sharing of information between its mechanical design and control design teams to improve the efficiency of the machine development process. Going forward, mechanical design changes and enhancements will be replicated in the virtual world to provide operational data and design feedback to bring innovations to the production of tires.

Performance and maintenance data from production equipment and entire production lines will be captured and analyzed using Mindsphere, the Siemens cloud based open IoT system. Mindsphere provides analytics and connectivity capabilities, developer tools, applications and services to evaluate and utilize all available data in a meaningful way for the machine builder and end user alike.

Addressing the use of the digital twin provided to McNeil & NRM, Bill Henderson, the head of the U.S. tire industry group for Siemens, notes, “This collaboration marks a deeper involvement for our company in the tire business. Both the digital twin and our Mindsphere data gathering and information management tools will enable McNeil & NRM, as well as others in the industry supply chain, to anticipate changes in equipment configuration and be proactive in providing high productivity and efficiency to the tire manufacturing community worldwide.”

Ed Bailey, Vice President of Engineering & Development at McNeil & NRM, also notes, “The Siemens and McNeil & NRM collaboration to create the digital twin of our 63” curing press provides an essential foundation for our product development roadmap. This twin is a prerequisite to accelerate all dimensions of development and collaboration with our customers, including software development, virtual commissioning, training, and press optimization. Further development can enable our customers to virtualize tire production machine cells, complete lines and ultimately the entire plant.”

More information on these developments will be available at the Tire Technology Expo in Hanover, Germany, between February 25 and 27, 2020. It features the world’s most important suppliers to the tire manufacturing industry. Please visit Siemens at booth 8224 and McNeil & NRM at booth 8040 for a demonstration of these cooperative capabilities. 

About McNeil & NRM

With a combined total of more than 150 years of experience and expertise, McNeil & NRM, Inc. stands at the cutting edge of the global tire industry. With its technology base in Akron, Ohio and high-quality manufacturing plant in Bucharest, Romania, McNeil & NRM, Inc. is positioned to remain a pillar in machinery supply to the industry. This can be seen in its dedication to manufacturing excellence, their commitment to engineering and aftermarket sales support and their pursuit of total customer satisfaction.

McNeil& NRM, Inc. stands to meet the future head-on by designing, manufacturing and servicing a new generation of tire production equipment to meet the most stringent processing requirements. This is backed up by its global footprint in North America and Europe which is supported by their international network in other regions.

About Siemens Industry, Inc.

The Siemens Operating Company Digital Industries (DI) is an innovation leader in automation and digitalization. Closely collaborating with partners and customers, DI drives the digital transformation in the process and discrete industries. With its Digital Enterprise portfolio, DI provides companies of all sizes with an end-to-end set of products, solutions and services to integrate and digitalize the entire value chain. Optimized for the specific needs of each industry, DI’s unique portfolio supports customers to achieve greater productivity and flexibility. DI is constantly adding innovations to its portfolio to integrate cutting-edge future technologies. Siemens Digital Industries has its global headquarters in Nuremberg, Germany, and has around 78,000 employees internationally.

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