Poling Group News   |   Volume 1   |   Issue 2
TDAQ - Tire Data Acquisition

New Life for Old Test Machines 

Tight capital budgets in the tire industry are forcing equipment buyers to look carefully at retrofitting as an effective alternative to new equipment purchases.

Scores of valuable tire test machines still exist today with ancient pedigrees--driven by obsolete control systems with few available replacement parts.  Although older machines are cheaper to purchase, tire companies are often fraught with degraded performance and downtime due to aging electronics. 

CTI of the Poling Group, an engineering company based in Akron, Ohio, U.S.A., presents practical solutions to retrofitting machines with new and innovative ideas. 

During the 20 years CTI has been building and integrating electrical controls, we have used many different data acquisition systems specifically for tire testing, all with varying degrees of success.  The complexities of tire testing require a very close coupling between position tracking and extremely precise analog data collection. 

As CTI began the development of our next generation control system, we looked at the numerous industry offerings for data acquisition that would meet the needs of tire testing. Driving our design goals was our practical field experience with tire testing machines. 

Consider the layout of a traditional test machine fully equipped with force measurement and grinding capability (see figure 1).  One glaring issue here is that wires must be run from each transducer and sensor down to the main control panel, where a PLC can process and act on data. This design is poor in that it overuses wire ways, leaving designers with no choice but to place dirty, high voltage drive lines near sensitive analog data lines--sometimes for as long as 10 to 15 meters. 

Our search of industry standard devices did not yield any acceptable solutions that matched up with this unique machine configuration and specialized complexity.  So we decided to look smaller--to see what modern digital components were available and if those components could be integrated into the next big thing.  Success came a couple of years later with the release of our “Tire Data Acquisition” (TDAQ) system, which has now become an integral part of the TTOC6 control system family. 

In a machine controlled by TTOC6 (see figure 2), one TDAQ becomes the central hub for loadcells and pressure transducers, while another TDAQ directly controls the grinding movements based on sensor feedback. Instead of the many wires leading back to the control panel, each TDAQ only requires two: one 24VDC power cable and one Ethernet cable for transmitting test data. Not only does this simplify wiring, but performing data acquisition physically closer to the source provides stronger and cleaner signals, bringing about a substantial increase in resolution. 

Because a single TDAQ replaces the functionality of several data acquisition devices on traditional test machines, machines fitted with this system are significantly less expensive to implement and maintain.  When retrofitting tire test machines, TDAQ components in the TTOC6 Upgrade Kit significantly improve key factors such as installation time, signal noise reduction, wiring, and cost. 

CTI’s TTOC6 Upgrade Kit was developed to give tire manufacturers a quick, economical, and easy way to modernize the electrical system, user interface, and data collection of any tire uniformity or geometry test machine. Kits can be as simple as replacing just the machine controller (such as a TQC-86) itself, or as in-depth as refitting the entire control panel with new electrical hardware (including PLCs, drives, and field devices). 

CTI has already retrofitted many machines with our new TTOC6 Upgrade Kits. We have an established, streamlined process and can give quotes for new retrofits within days of request.

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