07 Jul Handled With Care
New R&D center for development of equipment for the Tire industry
VanRiet plans to open a new R&D facility and invest in its China plant with the support of new majority shareholder Avedon Capital Partners
For more than five decades, VanRiet has been developing material handling systems for customers in a range of industries. Around 10 years ago, the Dutch company entered the tire market and has enjoyed enormous success as a leading supplier of intralogistic solutions. Since January 2013, its revenue has increased by 43% in the tire market alone. It supplies four of the top 10 manufacturers and is currently finalizing quotes for another two. To support its continuing growth, VanRiet recently entered into a new partnership with investment company Avedon Capital Partners.
VanRiet’s global business manager for the tire industry, Itamar Reuveny, explains, “Our growth has been so rapid in the past few years that we were looking for a partner to help us do business across borders. Avedon will bring a lot of international knowledge, especially in the emerging markets.
They have a strong network and we’ve already noticed that they can help open doors for us.”
Although Avedon Capital Partners has acquired a majority stake in VanRiet, Reuveny expects hiscompany to remain the key decision maker in the running of the business: “We already had a longterm trajectory for what we wanted to achieve. Avedon shared our vision and that’s why a formal marriage felt good for both partners,” he says.
VanRiet’s intralogistic solutions are installed at plants across the world, with a large portion of its revenue being generated from the emerging markets. Reuveny says the demand in both the original equipment and the replacement markets in emerging countries is increasing: “We know that the emerging markets are willing to invest in material handling, and due to rising labor costs and an increase in the capacity of factories, companies want to further automate their distribution and manufacturing facilities.” Following the recent tie-up, VanRiet plans to expand its Jiangsu Province plant in China, which it opened just two years ago, to better serve its customers in the region. Production capacity at the facility will be increased to reach the same level as its Netherlands plant.
VanRiet also plans to invest in a new testing and R&D center in the Netherlands, where it will develop equipment for the tire industry and other markets.
Says Reuveny, “We’re currently busy acquiring the land and getting the right permits to build the facility. We’re looking at a few locations and aim to start building next year.”
Meanwhile, in response to increased factory outputs, VanRiet has introduced a new-generation wheel-based sorting solution named IQ-Grid. “Not too long ago, a tire-building machine (TBM) produced one tire every three minutes. Today, the market leader in TBMs has a solution that is able to build a tire every 34 seconds,” notes Reuveny. “Production capacities have increased from 15,000 tires a day to 30,000 and more, stressing the flow of tires through the logistic transport solution, with capacity-restraining bottlenecks as a result.” VanRiet claims that IQ-Grid can easily cope with these increased capacities as it is able to sort at a maximum speed of 2.5m/sec, which is 25% faster than existing solutions.
The system consists of a central drive unit that drives the IQ-Grid and the surrounding conveyors. One motor can drive several IQ-Grids and the number of grids to be driven depends on the dimensions of the system. Its bidirectional configuration means that as part of different processes it can be used for sorting and merging tires. This means that infeeds can become outfeeds and vice versa. Its modular design is made up of readily replaceable IQ-Cassettes. “Factories often run 24/7, which makes downtime for maintenance an issue,” Reuveny notes. Should maintenance be required, the IQ-Cassette can be changed within three minutes. “Manufacturers can continue operations with minimal delay and the set of wheels can be repaired without affecting daily operations.” Depending on the product mix and product flow, IQ-Cassettes can be added or adjusted so that the system best suits the process and capacity requirement. IQ-Grid can be incorporated into new tire-handling setups or retrofitted to existing installations to increase capacity. In the latter scenario, VanRiet has a number of options available to customers.
When new TBMs or curing presses are planned, VanRiet can extend its equipment to connect to the existing production lines thanks to the modular nature of the tire handling equipment. When maximum capacity is reached, it is possible to build upward with more levels and then combine flows at a later stage at the touch of a button. VanRiet operates as a system integrator under what it calls the VanRiet ‘umbrella’. To ensure the smooth handling of tires from one phase of production to the next, interfaces are created between the company’s own equipment and third-party machines. Such setups are based on VanRiet’s standardized handling equipment but incorporate a mix of different equipment, both standard and bespoke, from both VanRiet and external partners such as Intralox, which supplies modular conveyor belts to VanRiet’s handling systems. Reuveny adds that when the required equipment cannot be found in the market, it will be specially designed for the project by VanRiet or in cooperation with a subcontractor. “Right now we are working on a greenfield site where VanRiet is responsible for the seamless integration of the tire handling equipment,” Reuveny reveals. “The solution that is going to be built is, as always, bespoke, and is designed according to the VanRiet umbrella. “In this project, VanRiet will provide the tire handling equipment throughout the plant, from the TBM to palletizing via the curing presses,tire uniformity/geometry/ balancing and visual control.”