Fast small-batch production: Goodyear opens Luxembourg facility
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has officially opened its new manufacturing facility in Dudelange, Luxembourg, an operation it calls a “first of its kind” for the company. The inauguration on 5 May follows a US$77 million investment in industry 4.0 digital manufacturing processes at the site.
The facility in Dudelange will provide Goodyear with opportunities to learn, test and mature technology as production capability continues to increase. It features a new process focused on small-batch production of large rim diameter ultra-high performance (UHP) and ultra-ultra-high performance (UUHP) tyres that enables Goodyear to produce tyres four times faster than a standard production cycle. This means the company can respond to customer demands with greater speed and efficiency.
Developed by Goodyear engineers, the process anticipates and addresses increasing complexity in the tyre industry. OEMs are demanding tyres with larger rim diameters and are also offering consumers a vast range of vehicle models and options. It is thus imperative that Goodyear has the capacity to efficiently develop and produce UUHP tyres in small batches on-demand for original equipment and aftermarket customers.
Enabling a new business model
“We needed to design this integrated product and process to deliver for the changing needs of the market. By doing so, we are enabling a new business model to serve our customers and consumers in this important and increasingly complex part of the market.” said Chris Helsel, senior vice president, Global Operations and chief technology officer. “The new process will give us a competitive advantage, targeting world-class quality and responsiveness.”
The new technology requires new skills, and so far, Goodyear has hired 90 associates to support the facility and in the coming months will recruit 20 additional electromechanical technicians. Goodyear has also invested in training programmes to enhance skills to enable current associates to perform new and innovative manufacturing processes.
The new facility is now operational, and Goodyear views the official opening ceremony as a “key step along the journey to full capability.” The official opening ceremony took place in the presence of Luxembourg’s Son Altesse Royale le Grand-Duc, Franz Fayot Minister of Economy and Dan Biancalana, Deputy-Mayor of Dudelange.
“As the first important American company to settle in Luxembourg in 1951, Goodyear marked a new beginning in Luxembourg’s industrial history and its economic diversification,” commented Franz Fayot. “Since then, the relationship between Goodyear and Luxembourg has always been one of mutual support and trust. The company’s new manufacturing facility in Dudelange is confirming the assets of the Grand Duchy as a destination for high-tech industrial investment by international groups.”