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MAXXIS expands the adoption of Profet AI solutions

Within a year, hundreds of key factors were identified and over 10 departments were empowered to analyze key issues. Improve production and R&D efficiency, and improve employee retention

Who would have thought that MAXXIS, located in Changhua County, with car tires, light truck tires, motorcycle tires, bicycles among other product lines which are sold in more than 180 countries worldwide is the world's 10th largest tire company with an annual revenue of USD 3.9 billion? At the beginning of 2023, MAXXIS, a subsidiary of Cheng Shin Rubber, became the first Taiwanese tire factory to enter the BMW supply chain as the OEM tire for BMW's 1 series vehicles in Europe.

The bold digital transformation of MAXXIS in recent years helped win the favor of an internationally renowned car manufacturer. In 2015, in response to the requirements of multiple European car manufacturers to keep measurement records of finished and semi-finished products during product development and production manufacturing, MAXXIS rolled out their Industry 4.0 Transformation Plan and gradually automated the global production lines. The measurement data of product length, width, height, thickness, temperature, and pressure collected by point laser, line laser and 3D scanning in the machines were stored in a database.

However, as the collected data became increasingly large, MAXXIS faced the challenge of being unable to effectively analyze the massive data in the database using existing systems. After repeated evaluations, it decided to adopt the easy to use and user-friendly Profet AI AutoML data scientist platform.

▲正新橡膠資訊長陳柏嘉分享擅用數據擴大 AI 應用,佈局全球市場

▲Justin Chen, CIO of MAXXIS, sharing the use of data to expand AI applications and layout the global market

Use AI to retain seasoned experts' rule of thumb to optimize the product life cycle

Employees in the plasticization and rubber industry have always relied heavily on rules of thumb. Problems from the development of various material formulations, process improvement to raw material price procurement were solved based on the experience of seasoned experts, and MAXXIS is no exception. They introduced AutoML with an eye towards breaking through the framework by utilizing the AI tool to leverage on the experience and data of seasoned experts, build models with AI, thereby retain important experience in the Company, and continuously optimize the life cycle of products from R&D to production.

"I wanted to introduce AI, mainly because in the past, the data on the production line was mostly analyzed by people, and it was very difficult to achieve real-time feedback," Justin Chen, Chief Information Officer of MAXXIS explained. In the past, based on different customer or market demands, the manufacturing parameters of products on the machines were adjusted by experienced technicians or senior employees. For example, it is relatively impossible to systematically analyze the data collected by the machine if the width of the tire were to be increased or decreased. After the introduction of AutoML, the models established by the AI analysis parameters can be applied to overseas factories to reduce the expatriate manpower and accelerate the expansion process over and above being able to analyze the key factors affecting the production process with the help of AI to improve efficiency.

In addition, product R&D was also a key focus of MAXXIS's introduction of AI. "A tire is a relatively rigorous product, and the R&D cycle of a single tire requires more than two years and hundreds of raw materials," Justin Chen remarked. Currently, the R&D department has adopted AutoML for a year and has attempted to identify dozens of factors that may affect tire fuel consumption, wet grip, and how far the tire will slide when braking, based on the hundreds of factors in tire manufacturing. Among others, type of adhesive, wire width, type, and arrangement density were key factors affecting tire performance.

Post identification, MAXXIS can use these factors to model through AI and develop tires that meet or exceed the needs of foreign car manufacturers and markets. For example, for sports performance markets, tires with high dry grip may be needed while hybrid electric vehicles require low and quiet tires.

Expand AI applications to allow departments to apprehend the data behind critical issues

After experiencing the benefits of adopting AI in production and R&D, MAXXIS began to expand its AI application in 2023, progressively introducing AutoML to more than 10 departments, such as human resources and sales, locally and abroad.

Profet AI also sent consultants to hold workshops on various AI applications at MAXXIS in an effort to assist in the rapid implementation of AI in various departments. Justin Chen stated that during the three months of training, the consultants of Profet AI started from the basic concepts of AI, before moving on to discuss with various departments, and organizing the data that could be analyzed for the difficulties and inventory problems faced by each department. The data was subsequently modeled to identify areas for improvement or optimization.

Justin Chen commented, "For example, the nurturing of key talents can greatly reduce the burden of IT personnel to adopt new systems." With these training courses, users are able to pick up skills quickly and would also have a relatively high learning curve and willingness to learn.

Rome was not built in a day and so is digital transformation not an overnight integration. MAXXIS started from a single point, gradually expanding its AI applications from that point, line, and aspect, so that frontline employees in various departments can collect and understand the data, interpret and leverage on them. Besides accelerating the digitalization of the enterprise, it also laid a solid foundation for MAXXIS for the global market layout.



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