News Supply chain

SAP, GS1 explore blockchain for tire retreads

truck tires

Standards non-profit GS1, along with SAP, has developed a blockchain prototype for tracking the life-cycle of tires. The duo is working on a project to digitalize tire retread activities to improve road safety.

Tire treads can be renewed several times before a tire is discarded. The process causes less harm to the environment than manufacturing a new tire. Additionally, it also saves money for vehicle fleet owners. However, keeping track of the retreads for a particular tire is cumbersome.

When a tire reaches a retreading shop, it undergoes various inspections to gauge if it can endure the process. The problem is there is no way to tell how many times a tire has been renewed. In these circumstances, it’s difficult to know whether the manufacturer’s warranty will cover the tire.

To address this, GS1 and SAP Co-Innovation Lab are employing radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and blockchain technology. The two have created the TWAREG project to develop a tool that provides warrantors with trusted information of a tire.

The idea is to equip tires with machine-readable RFID tags which identify the tire. Blockchain will be used to record the miles the tire has covered and its service history.

“Information about each singular repair or retread is stored in the blockchain. Due to the decentralized nature of the blockchain technology, it is impossible for one member of the chain to manipulate the information stored there,” said Nicolas Pauvre, a traceability project manager from GS1.

SAP and GS1 have not signed a partnership or service agreement but pooled resources to develop the prototype. The ball is in SAP’s court as GS1 is already part of the tire retread eco-system. This should potentially help SAP get partners and customers for this joint project and turn the prototype into a viable product. On the other hand, it is beneficial to have a standards body on the team whose directives SAP helps customers adhere to.

SAP has been actively exploring blockchain for various use cases. Last week, SAP and Accenture announced they were using R3’s Corda to enable banks to use central bank money on a distributed ledger. As the ERP provider for some of the biggest supply chains in the world, SAP is using blockchain for traceability. One of its highest profile applications is for Bumble Bee tuna. SAP is also one of the founding members of the Convergence Alliance, which is combining AI, Big Data, blockchain and IoT for businesses.

Meanwhile, GS1 is helping companies develop blockchain applications that comply with existing standards. Last month, Digital Bazaar said it was collaborating with GS1 on a blockchain identity project.