chapter  17
11 Pages

SMED in Tire Manufacturing Processes

Bridgestone Tire Co., Ltd.
WithShigeo Shingo

Bridgestone Tire, Ltd. was founded in 1931 in the city of Kurume, in Fukuoka prefecture. It was the first tire maker in Japan funded with domestic capital, and its basic philosophy was to produce tires domestically in Japan, using indigenous technology. In addition to serving the needs of domestic users by selling low-priced, quality goods, the company wanted to try to cover the costs of rubber imports by exporting manufactured goods. In tire molding operations, it is necessary to mold a number of tire sizes on a single molding machine. Jigs, as well as drums, are switched according to tire size. To cut the switching time, entire drums used to be changed after being prepared in external setup. PCI rims must be changed according to tire size, but because this was done behind the vulcanizing machine, the operation was hampered by space restrictions. Moreover, the weight of the rims made the changeover difficult.