Tyre maker, Continental Malaysia prepares for Manufacturing 4.0

 

  • Continental Malaysia prepares for digitalisation, Manufacturing 4.0
  • Digital technologies increasingly coming into old economy products

Tyre maker, Continental Malaysia prepares for Manufacturing 4.0

 

DIGITIZATION has already transformed the skills and toolbox used by its fitters away from the spanner and screwdriver to more advanced technology where fitters have to use the laptop and diagnostics to make any repairs.

As such, it comes as no surprise that of the largest tyre manufacturers in Malaysia, Continental Malaysia, is gearing up for the introduction of sensors and increased digitization into its manufacturing processes, a trend widely called Manufacturing4.0, with the launch of a training facility to start upgrading the skills of its engineers and technicians.

It has partnered with Siemens Malaysia, a major supplier of its manufacturing machinery to launch the Control & Drives Training Centre in the Continental manufacturing facility based in Selangor. It expects the first batch of 40 staff to be fully trained by end-2017, having gone through 40-hours of training each.

“Through this significant investment, we aim to have always sufficient qualified operators to support our manufacturing processes. These are getting more and more digitalized. We regard it as our task to provide a proper training facility and hope to inspire other manufacturers in Malaysia to also actively invest in their staff as Malaysia embraces digitalisation and Industrie 4.0,” said Gerhard Janotta, Plant Manager.

[Industrie 4.0 is the name used to describe the German strategic initiative to establish Germany as a lead market and provider of advanced manufacturing solutions.]

Calling it the first of its kind [in Malaysia], the facility will provide local trainees and its employees the necessary knowledge required to operate state of the art industry automation and drives solutions needed for advanced digitalized manufacturing.

Trainees will be instructed in applications such as next-level automation, predictive maintenance and remote monitoring, digitalization. Possessing capabilities in these areas will help manufacturers improve their product quality, productivity, flexibility, efficiency, throughput time and time-to-market.

“Through this close collaboration between Siemens and Continental Malaysia, the centre is expected to plug a critical capability gap in the local Malaysian market. During our conversations with customers in Malaysia, we find that while they are keen to digitalise their factories to remain competitive, many feel that they lack the skills and expertise to implement new Industrie 4.0 technologies required to augment manufacturing,” said Adam Yee, Senior Vice President and Head of the Digital Factory and Process Industries and Drives Division, Siemens Malaysia.

With digitization, which includes capturing and applying analytics to data as sensors start getting embedded in their tyres, upgrading the skills sets of its people is of critical importance to Continental. “To keep our production processes running, we need qualified people and have to make sure that digitization is part of the skill sets of our people, ” emphasises Janotta.

“Digital technologies are coming into old economy products to allow for greater uptime and better efficiency and we will be installing sensors into our tyres for real time monitoring by our corporate customers via telemetrics, ” shares the managing director of Continental, Cameron Wilson.

And while Continental recognises that this change opens up various new business models, Wilson says they are still evaluating which models to adopt.

At the training centre, employees will learn to use the latest manufacturing solutions, provided by Siemens Process Industries and Drives division. Examples of the solutions they will be exposed to include the likes of Siemens Industrial PC Management and SIMATIC S7, which enables individuals to configure and program automated tasks within their manufacturing facilities. Leveraging these technologies, Continental Malaysia will be able to exert higher levels of control over the quality and consistency of products manufactured, ensuring customers get top notch quality products.

The centre is intended to serve as a training facility for operators of other selected companies as well.

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