Hankook is introducing an AI-supported automatic testing system in quality control.

Three inspections will be carried out in the final phase to identify possible defects.

The Hankook internal inspection with the Interferometer Tyre Tester (ITT) will check the tyre for air bubbles. An X-ray inspection will also be carried out to examine the inside of the tyre in detail.

This will be followed by a final external inspection by the quality control department. Until now, image processing for defect detection has been a time-consuming challenge because the air bubbles to be identified are not exactly identical in size and shape.

In addition, technicians have had to give their opinion on the detection of irregularities based on criteria and their expertise gained through years of experience.

Hankook will now apply the newly developed automatic inspection system using AI technology to the ITT process. The computer-driven inspection body will detect and report irregularities in the products by comparing samples of the scanned product cross-sections. 

At the HK-KAIST Digital Innovation Centre, the joint venture of Hankook and the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), development was carried out with AI experts to implement the automation system.

This will not only increase the uniformity and efficiency of internal inspection with the ITT process, but also reduce production time. In the long term, the Group also plans to use AI technology for X-ray inspection and external inspection.

“Hankook has positioned itself as a digital market leader,” said Hankook Technology Group vice chairman and president, Hyunshick Cho.

“The development of the automatic inspection system is another feature focused on this innovation and will enable us to secure a leading position in digital transformation in this rapidly changing business environment.”

In April 2019, Hankook signed an agreement with KAIST University in South Korea, to advance the company’s research and development and digital technology capabilities through digital transformation. Prior to this, the HK-KAIST Digital Innovation Centre was established, which cooperates with KAIST in all areas from manufacturing, logistics to research and development to gain further expertise in future technologies.

Investments in technical innovations are becoming increasingly important for the company, which is reflected in the name change to Hankook Tire & Technology in 2019.

Last year, the tyre maker achieved success with its Virtual Compound Design (VCD) System, a prediction model for the properties of tyre compounds using AI.

Hankook plans to extend this technology to the entire tyre development process.