Bridgestone Co, – FST2
Kodaira, Tokyo would be our destination for the second factory study tour. There are various companies center such as Toyota, Honda, NEC, Bridgestone etc.
After about 1.5 hours trip, finally, we arrived in the Bridgestone`s Offices. This area consists of some offices and factories. The welcome was simple and effective. We arrived in front of the main office and an officer leads us to a big meeting room or it could be a hall. The Bridgestone`s staff explained about the schedule, the procedure and the regulations that we had to know and obey.
Based on the schedule, the first thing that we had to do was the introduction`s presentation. This presentation told us many information. According to this presentation, Bridgestone was found by Shojira Ishibashi on March 1, 1931. What unique is Ishibashi means Bridgestone. So, the founder named his company by its surename. This presentation also informed us that there are at least 3 big companies which hold most of tire`s market in the world. They are Bridgestone, Michelin and Goodyear. And the biggest one is Bridgestone with 16.7% of world`s market.
Bridgestone provides various type of tire based on the function. It provides tires for Cars, Trucks, Bus, Airplane, Motorcycles, Race, and also Construction. In order to provides that various tires, Bridgestone should produce all of the tires. Producing tires needs many kind of materials such as Rubber, Carbon, Tire Cord, Bead Wire, Compounding etc.
After Production process, the tires will be tested by CT Scan, FEM Simulation and Snow Surface. This test is held in order to control the quality of production.
Instead of tires, Bridgestone also produce divers production (19%, 81% is tires) which are consists of rubber inside. For example, Conveyor Belt, Rubber Track, Bath Tub, Seat Pads, Seismic Isolation Rubber, Rubber House etc. The newest invention of Bridgestone in Divers Production is Electronic Paper which will be used in Electronic Sheet Tags. This product has more advantage in Energy Saving and Excellent Visibility.
In the end of this presentation, the HR Manager of Bridgestone also gave us some information about the human resources condition in this company. There are 137.000 employees in this company and not so many foreigner in that number.
After the presentation, there was a video shown to us. The video describes about the production line and process in Bridgestone and also the main function of a tires.
There are at least four main function of a tire;
- Supporting Vehicle Weight. In this case, a tire should strong enough to support the weight of vehicle and any possibilities which increase the total weight. Instead of that, the tires should soft enough to keep the vehicle to be comfort enough.
- Transmitting Driving and Breaking Forces. In this case, any shock movement which produce heat because of opposite force of original movement, will be reduced by the tire.
- Steering Function (Maintaining and Changing Direction). In this case, the changing of direction has to be well controlled because it is crucial for stability and controllability of the vehicle.
- Absorbing Shock from road surface. In this case, absorbing shock will reduce any vibration. The exact material`s composition of tires is needed.
By the factory tour, we can found at least 6 process of production in Bridgestone. There are Providing material, Mixing Process, Parallel Process (consist of Treading Extruding Process, Carcass Ply Manufacturing Process, Belt Manufacturing Process and Bead Manufacturing Process), Building Process, Vulcanizing Process and Final Check. Most of factory`s process use the temperature, pressure, and physical changes.
In the museum, It is prohibited to take a picture. So, there were no documentation about it. Despite that, we can found a lot of information about the technology that this company use. For example, Eco Product Simulation, Seismic Isolation Rubber Simulation, Type of tires based on road condition, Raw material mapping, etc.
As a worldwide company, Bridgestone has fulfilled its goal to become a truly global enterprise and to establish the Bridgestone brand as the undisputed world No. 1 brand in both name and substance. And right now, this company is producing another product (human need) and also considering the ecological & environment aspects.
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