MANUFACTURING HOOSIER RACING TIRES
Hoosier began manufacturing new race tires at its own facilities in 1979, after 16 years of having them produced at Mohawk Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio. The original production plant was the world's first facility dedicated to the exclusive production of racing tires. Over the years, Hoosier's manufacturing operation has developed into the world's leading producer of race tires. Manufacturing capabilities have been a primary marketing tool for Hoosier, based on constant innovation, flexibility, responsiveness, and quality testing.
Hoosier's manufacturing process takes place in a sprawling, high-tech facility employing some of the best and brightest people in the industry. It is through the efforts of these devoted "behind the scenes" people that Hoosier has been so successful.
The manufacturing arm of Hoosier Racing Tire is located in Plymouth, Indiana just south of the Corporate Headquarters in Lakeville, Indiana. It is here that Hoosier race tires are produced 24 hours a day.
The process of producing a race tire is quite different than most people imagine. Most people think we push a button and material is injected into a mold and....... voila', a tire is created. This couldn't be farther from the truth. Producing tires, particularly race tires, requires a highly trained and skilled staff as well as a great deal of specialized high tech test equipment.
As this technology was conquered, the company set its sights on producing the first new tire specifically designed for racing. And so, in 1962, Bob Newton did just that at Mohawk Rubber Company. For the next 16 years, Bob drove from northern Indiana to Akron to design, engineer and compound his tires as well as oversee their production.
Hoosier employs a full time training coordinator, as well as a complete staff of trainers on each shift to ensure our new hires are trained in our current procedures. Veteran employees are also provided the latest training in new methods and technology. All new hires go through an extensive training program while paired up with a trainer who works alongside them, helping them and answering their many questions. Working together with our production labor force, Hoosier has complete staffs in the areas of Engineering and Maintenance, Quality Assurance, Scheduling, Purchasing, Shipping and Receiving, Human Resources, Clerical and Administrative, and Information Technology.
The process of manufacturing a Hoosier tire is not only fascinating but unique to Hoosier and central to our success. We can only explain in general terms how tires are manufactured due to the sensitive nature of our highly competitive business, but the following will give you a good picture of the process used in the manufacture of a race tire.
First the raw materials necessary to produce the rubber needed for every tire are received. At this time, samples are taken from every lot. These samples are then sent to our on site, high-tech testing laboratory for testing. Once the raw materials pass our in-house testing, they are placed into storage until an order is received for their use. Hoosier's in-house scheduling process has developed over the years and currently is a sophisticated system utilizing programs developed by our own in-house computer programmers. Having our own staff of computer experts enables us to quickly and easily modify our systems to better satisfy our unique needs.
Once an order to produce rubber is received, the raw materials are collected and individually weighed using a computerized weighing system that consists of a "go, no-go" feedback loop that assures all rubber batches are made to exact specifications. The raw materials are then transported to the mixer where they are loaded in and mixed according to a mixing spec. The rubber is then dropped onto a mill where it is made into sheets. Each batch of rubber produced has a small sample cut off and sent to the testing lab for further analysis. Not until the rubber passes this final test is it allowed to be sent on to the production facilities.
Next, more raw materials are needed to make the body or "carcass" of a tire. To produce the material needed to construct a tire carcass, we have another facility called the "calender" plant. We take the rubber produced in the mixing plant and place it into an extruder where it is "plasticized." Specially woven textile (tire cord) is then fed into a calendering machine where the rubber is pressed into the cord. Different rubber and cords are assembled per a computerized order depending upon the application of the tire scheduled to be produced. The thickness of this material is controlled using a series of computers and nuclear scanning devices to monitor and maintain a thickness tolerance of 1/10,000th of an inch. The rubber and tire cord combination, now called "fabric," has a sample removed and sent to the lab for testing. The material is then wound into rolls and placed into storage. If the material passes testing, it is released for use to build a tire.
With this fabric we are ready to begin the process of assembling a race tire. First, plies are cut from the rolls of calendered tire cord according to computerized specifications. These plies are assembled by highly skilled tire builders. When finished assembling components according to the specifications, the builder removes the product and places a white sticker called a "builder's code" on the inside of every tire he/she produces. This code is unique to each builder and is a source of pride among all the builders. Radial tires also have a second sticker, a yellow one, identifying that builder as well. This is one of the methods used as part of the meticulous quality control tracking system Hoosier utilizes. This tells us who assembled the body and/or belt package of that tire.
The next phase is when round wire rings called "beads" are installed on each end of the carcass. The beads are what hold the tire on the rim. Next, the tread of the tire is applied to the beaded carcass. This is done in one of two ways: either using a one piece slab tread, or a continuous 1" strip of rubber is applied around the tire carcass to form the tread.
At this point, the tire (called a green tire) moves into the curing stage. Each tire has a material sprayed onto the inside that assists in processing. Once sprayed, the tire moves to a pre-assigned press set up to run that particular tire. The press contains a specific mold heated to a specific temperature as determined and maintained by computerized controllers. (This temperature was determined by thermocouple testing when the tire was still in the research and development stages, prior to the spec being released to production.) Once the press opens, the tire is inserted into the press and the press is closed. Once closed, the green tire is placed under high pressure using special gases. After the tire spends a specific amount of time curing in the press, the press will automatically open and the "hot" tire is removed.
Hot tires are then placed on a machine called a "post-cure inflator" where a specified air pressure is injected into each tire for a set period of time. It is here that the tire cools and it's properties begin to stabilize. After a set time period, the tire is measured and the circumference is recorded. Then a press operator writes the size in yellow chalk on the side of treaded tires and on the tread of slicks. This is another way Hoosier has set itself apart from it's competitors. Racers using our competitor's products either measure a tire before mounting to get an idea of it's circumference, or have to purchase and mount a tire to see what size it will be, then decide whether it is a size they can use. Hoosier adds chalk marks to our bias tires to give customers a guideline or a reference which can be used to their advantage. If a racer had an 86" chalk mark on the right front of their car which produced a roll out of 85 1/2" at racing pressure, and they were satisfied with the stagger, they would select another 86" tire to replace the right front. However, if they wanted more stagger, they would select a tire with a chalk mark greater than 86". The chalk mark does not relate to the size the tire will be when mounted and set to racing pressure, nor does it indicate the size it will grow to when racing. The chalk mark does however, assure customers of size consistency prior to mounting tires. Radial tires are measured at the factory but no size is written on the tires since radial circumferences do not vary as they do on bias tires.
After the tire is removed from the post-cure inflator, tires not having raised letters on the sidewalls have the Hoosier name stenciled onto the sidewall of the tire. Tires then pass through final inspection where x-ray technology can be utilized. Tires are then scanned into inventory and loaded onto trailers and shipped to the warehouse each day.
The manufacturing process is all about consistency. The goal of Hoosier's manufacturing process is to maintain a supply of consistent, high quality race tires that the consumer can rely on, at an affordable price. A tire, that the consumer can rely on. We feel with our dedicated and talented staff, our continuous testing and re-testing of raw materials and the product in the field, and our high-tech, climate controlled environments where each step of the process is carefully monitored, charted and controlled, the product we produce will be consistent, affordable, and available to all our valued customers. So, regardless whether a tire was made in June or January, Monday or Friday, noon or midnight, our customers can expect consistency and reliability to be built into all our products. We at Hoosier, are proud that all of our tires are "Made in the USA" and truly are "Tires Designed for Champions."
Please Contact Hoosier Tires Direct .Com to order your next set of Hoosier Race or track tires. You can find us online at www.hoosierdirect.com and reach us via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us directly at (844) BUY-HOOSIER.
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