Midlands & East Anglia

Michelin Tyre PLC wheels out important upgrade

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Michelin Tyres manufacturing facility in Stoke-on-Trent

A tyre manufacturing facility in Stoke-on-Trent is currently undergoing an extensive refurbishment programme.

The £20 million Michelin Remix Modernisation project is being implemented by Michelin Tyre PLC to modernise and improve services at its Staffordshire plant. The works will see the installation of standardised processing equipment in order for Michelin to raise both the standards of technology and the technical competencies of its staff.

ETDE is the non-process principle contractor on the project and is responsible for all of the non-process supply work, the installation of infrastructure and the construction of a new extension at the facility.

IMECA – a subsidiary of Michelin – is supplying the new machinery for the project, whilst ARCADIS is working alongside ETDE to complete architectural work. The Rolton Group is the structural, mechanical and electrical consultant.

Jethro Smith from Michelin is the project manager on the site and will be overseeing all of the work at the facility until it reaches completion in July 2013. The project is being funded by Michelin and through a grant given by the Business Innovation and Skills Council.

Michelin Tyres manufacturing facility in Stoke-on-Trent

Jethro Smith said:

“We recently started producing some new truck tyre ranges – manufactured using Michelin Durable Technologies – which offer much improved levels of performance. The work that we are conducting on this project links into the development of these new tyres and forms part of our overall strategy of Total Performance related to all our products.

“Once existing tyres have worn down they come back to our facility in Stoke-on-Trent where they are re-manufactured to achieve the same performance standards as our new tyres. In order for us to be able to do this we have had to reconfigure the plant to introduce new machinery. The machinery has been designed by Michelin and is standardised across the Group.”

ETDE Regional Director, Dominic Callan, commented:

“ETDE offer turnkey, integrated process solutions to a wide variety of industries. Getting the opportunity to extend this service to a company of the stature of Michelin is very important to our business here in the UK.

“Our in-house design services developed the scope of the project working closely with Jethro and his team here in Stoke, as well as his colleagues in Clermont Ferrand. Our international presence made this interaction easier.

Michelin Tyres manufacturing facility in Stoke-on-Trent

“Our solution integrates the civil engineering, mechanical and electrical services, and construction activities, offering Michelin a single point of responsibility from design to construction and through to commissioning.”

Dominic Callan added:

“The first phase of the project has been achieved on programme thanks to the great team spirit between both parties.”

Work began on the Michelin Remix Modernisation project in July 2011. Internal works comprise a phased reconfiguration of the existing workshop – to transform it into a highly automated state-of-the-art manufacturing facility – and the installation of new machinery.

A new building management system, a number of automatic closing doors and conveyor belts will also be installed. Meanwhile, improvements will be made to the electrical distribution systems and the water cooling distribution systems.

Additional works on the site include the erection of an extension and the excavation of a four-metre deep basement to house six new curing presses. Each curing press weighs 30 tonnes, measures 7 metres in height and will be used during the vulcanising stage of the tyre manufacturing process.

Michelin Tyres manufacturing facility in Stoke-on-Trent

Jethro said:

“We completed the first phase of Michelin Remix Modernisation project in April 2012 which allowed us to produce the first tyre on our new production line. Phase Two will now improve the line so that we can close down the existing production line.

“Whilst work is underway the plant remains operational although we did reduce the production space down by around 50% in order to remove some of the existing machines.

“Since the project started we have only had to shut the plant for a total of five weeks and so far the biggest challenge has been to fit the new equipment into the footprint of the site.

“Safety is always important and so we are co-ordinating the flow of production and people whilst equipment is being installed in the building. If we ever have a contractor working in an area where we have staff we have measures in place to ensure that everyone is aware of where they can and can’t be. We are continually revising routes to ensure a smooth operation.

“To date we have not encountered any problems whilst working on this project. Our facility is situated next to a school, so this is always a working consideration, but we ensure that we do not cause any disruptions to the neighbourhood.”

Jethro added:

“Most of our employees have worked at this site for the past 15 years so we are making sure that we keep an open line of communication with all of our staff so they can see the changes that are unfolding.

“We have been on this site since 1927 and this is the largest change the plant has ever witnessed. In February 2012 we walked each employee through the programme of works so that they could see what we are doing and the positive impact that this will have on the business.

“The investment in this site will serve another generation of employees, which will in turn safeguard many highly skilled jobs. The community has grown around this plant and once work is complete its future will be far more secure.”

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