Hankook Tire is applying an automatic inspection system based on artificial intelligence (AI) technology and digital sensor to leverage efficiency and consistency at the final stage of product testing.
To ensure driver safety, Hankook’s trained experts conduct a variety of tests with advanced equipment during the entire inspection process. In particular, three thorough inspections are performed at the final stage to detect any possible defects: internal inspection using Interferometer Tire Tester (ITT) to detect existence of air bubbles inside tires, x-ray inspection to closely examine the inside of tires, and external inspection.
Image processing is used to detect any defects which can be challenging at times because air bubbles are not the same shape or size. Before this process, highly skilled technicians with years of experience had to make judgements based on their expertise. From now on, Hankook will apply the newly developed automatic inspection system to the ITT, with the help from the AI technology.
With AI technology, the computer will be able to systematically find any defects in nonconforming patterns which will accelerate the process. Hankook had collaborated with AI experts in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) to implement this automation system based on machine-learning technology.
This new technology will not only maximize consistency and efficiency of the internal inspection using ITT, but also improve facility operation rate by reducing the decision-making time. Hankook plans to apply AI technology to x-ray inspection and external inspection as well.
“Hankook has been positioning itself as a digital leader. The development of the automatic inspection system is yet another feature aligned to such innovation, making it possible for us to secure a leading position in digital transformation in this fast-changing business environment,” said Hyunshick Cho, vice chairman and president of Hankook Technology Group. “We will continue to pursue innovation and advance towards a global top-tier company.”
Hankook is continuously creating innovative movements in advanced technology. In May 2019, the company had changed its name to Hankook Tire & Technology, exhibiting its aggressive movement towards a technology-focused brand. At the end of last year, Hankook had made significant achievement by introducing the ‘Virtual Compound Design (VCD) system’, a predictive model for tire compound properties using AI. Hankook is planning to expand the technology to the entire process of developing tires. It aims to build smart factories that lead digital innovation in tire industry and eventually to make products of outstanding quality that meet customers’ diverse needs in a more efficient way, said the company.
In order to promote the company’s innovative R&D and digital technology capabilities through digital transformation, Hankook signed an agreement with KAIST, top science and technology university in Korea, in April 2019, for joint research and industry-academic to develop future technologies. In particular, the company had established ‘HK-KAIST Digital Innovation Center’ and is working together with KAIST in all areas ranging from manufacturing, logistics and R&D, to attain leadership in future technologies.