From passenger and light truck tires to racing tires, the ability to manufacture a line of tires with a consistent profile is absolutely essential for success. Bridgestone/Firestone uses a laser-based measurement system to aid manufacturing.
According to Scott Coe, an engineer for Bridgestone/ Firestone, accurate profile measurement is needed to check that new tires are the correct physical size, especially the tire diameter and maximum section width, and within specification, and to insure tires fit properly on vehicles. The laser inspection system verifies profile consistency and tests to insure that all tires of a particular size and make have identical profiles.
Coe says that the system also provides valuable feedback to tire research and development engineers. The profile of a tire is important in determining many performance characteristics such as tread wear, handling, and others. Data collected by the inspection system is used by in-house engineers who have developed advanced computer-aided engineering tiredesign software
At the core of the control system is a Berkeley Series-64tx machine controller (http://rbi.ims.ca/ 4405-500), which performs all motion and I/O control in the system and initiates the data acquisition, which is handled by a separate PC.
The motion system is comprised of four axes of servo motion: tire rotation, laser X, Y, and theta position.