Michelin chose its industrial facility in Cuneo, Italy, the largest car tire factory in western Europe and one of the most modern, to organize the first edition of its International Media Day, devoted to two strategic transformations for the Group.
- The tire markets’ evolution in the face of new requirements from drivers, manufacturers, and global warming;
- The plants’ transformation in the face of new human, technological, and environmental challenges.
On this occasion, Michelin highlighted its environmental commitment, in particular its goal of achieving 100% sustainable materials in its tires by 2050.
Markets engaged in unprecedented change
The automotive markets have gone through profound change in the last few years. In 30 years, everywhere in the world, consumer usage and needs have greatly changed. The characteristics of ever heavier, more customized, more comfortable and safer vehicles, as well as car sharing, or the development of leasing are visible signs of this. In addition, global warming and increasingly stringent environmental constraints have also had a major impact on many markets.
In this context, Michelin is a key player in supporting the tire market’s main trends:
1- Increasing tire sizes as a result of heavier vehicles. This trend has a direct effect on consumption and CO2 emissions in the context of global warming and resource scarcity. Michelin is responding to this paradox with technology. The reduction in rolling resistance in its products has, for example, allowed for savings of 3.4 billion liters of fuel over tires’ life span in 2021, thereby preventing 8.7 million metric tons of CO2 compared to 2010. Michelin will continue its efforts through 2030, improving this energy efficiency by 10% (Michelin data).
2 – All-season tire strong development in Europe: the all-season tire, long shunned by drivers on this continent, has seen a remarkable success in Europe, with sales multiplied threefold over the last few years. This tire is indeed recognized for its ease of use and remarkable performance through technological breakthroughs developed by Michelin in particular. On this market, the Group anticipates growth of more than 11% over the next five years.
Several factors contributed to this success:
- global warming and the occurrence of unpredictable snowy weather;
- changes in European regulations;
- advantages for consumers who avoid needing two sets of tires;
- the development of vehicle fleets and leasing.
3 – The electric boom. With the development of electric vehicles, tires take center stage. In fact,the performance and constraints of electric vehicles make much greater demands on tires than combustion engine vehicles.
For good performance, a tire for electric vehicles must have four essential qualities:
- longevity because of the increase in torque on acceleration and deceleration,
- rolling resistance, a key factor in autonomy,
- load capacity, fundamental for carrying the batteries’ weight,
- noise reduction, 70% of the sound level generated by an electric vehicle comes from driving, not the engine.
These requirements are a unique opportunity for Michelin to make full use of its technologies and know-how.
Factories engaged in an in-depth transformation
This first International Media Day also reviews the transformations currently undertaken in the Group’s factories. For several years, the Group has been engaged in a triple revolution on its production sites:
- A human revolution with profound questions on meaning, organization, andengagement.
- A technological revolution, with the generalized use of data and digital technologies.
- An environmental revolution, with the pressing need to reconcile economic activity and sustainable development.
|Michelin operates more than 85 plants* in the world, produces close to 200 million tires annually and employs approximately 81 000 people in industry.
Human factories: stemming from its leadership model,Michelin has launched an ambitious work transformation around the concept of empowerment, which is thriving today. Michelin has been developing this breakthrough managerial innovation in its factories for 15 years, to improve production teams’ work. Today this in-depth change is contributing to the factories’ better economic performance especially in responding to the challenge of industrial professions’ attractiveness.
Technological factories: Michelin is also transforming its industry through digitization and the use of artificial intelligence. For the last five years, data has been stored for re-use in a collaborative environment.
* Michelin sites /incl. Camso – excl. Fenner
The factory 4.0, which combines robots with artificial intelligence, is increasing the scale of the transformation, allowing, in particular, to anticipate breakdowns, to increase production quality and flexibility, and to improve working conditions and employee qualifications. These innovations have enabled Michelin to achieve a yearly gain of nearly 60 million euro.
Ecological factories: Michelin already halved the environmental impact of its factories between 2005 and 2019. The Group’s ambition goes a lot further: reaching zero net emissions by 2050 with an intermediate objective of reducing CO2 emissions by 50% between 2010 and 2030. This challenge can only be met by accelerating the Group’s efforts in terms of energy savings and a transition to green energy. Not only Michelin wants to reduce its impact in terms of CO2 emissions, but the Group is also committed to lowering its water consumption by over 30% by 2030.
Michelin presents two tires approved for road use with a high rate of sustainable materials
Michelin took a new step forward a few weeks ago by unveiling two tires approved for road use, one for cars and the other for buses, containing 45% and 58% sustainable materials, respectively. This world premiere is a concrete illustration of Michelin’s ability to reach its ambitious goal of 100% sustainable materials in all its tires by 2050. They herald the technologies for future mass production models by 2025. These advances made possible by Michelin’s expertise in materials, its R&D power, and its partnerships with innovative startups, will benefit all of Michelin’s products. The Group is committed to integrating sustainable materials in developing its tires, while maintaining performance and minimizing environmental impact at every stage of the life cycle: design, manufacture, transport, use and recycling.