Modern Tire Dealer

APR 2017

Magazine for the professional tire industry

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Page 48 of 77

47 The latest heavy-duty tire changers are designed for wide-base tires By Ann Neal I t was an injury to an employee that pushed Ma Benton to buy a heavy- duty tire changer. His technician was changing tires "the old-fashioned way with a hammer and a bar," says Benton. e bar slipped, and the tech fell forward, breaking his arm. "You never want one of your people to get hurt. It really was a deciding factor," says Benton, who bought his tire changer from Hunter Engineering Co. Benton's shop services the 20 trucks operated by his company, W.I.T. Transportation LLC in Odessa, Texas. He calls the purchase "one of the beer decisions I've made for my business." For Benton, the machine is a safer way to change a medium truck tire. "If I've got a guy out there slinging a sledge hammer and he misses and damages the wheel but worse than that he hits his foot or his shin, now I have a workers' compensation claim and I'm down an employee. e tire changer takes that whole factor away." In addition, Benton has found a tech's productivity using the tire changer to be comparable to a hammer and bar. But the machine requires far less physical exertion for the tech. "Another thing you have to factor is how hard is my guy working versus how hard is that guy working. My guy is not liing the tire and wheel; it's all done hydraulically, so the risk versus the reward factor with the tire changer is a lot beer." Techs can become proficient on the tire changer in a single day. "When you're using a hammer and bar system there's a lot of skill that you don't get any other way than by doing it. is machine reduces that learning curve way down. A tech can watch a guy do it two or three times, and he can be doing it the same day without any problem," says Benton. Ideal for wide-base applications Despite the availability of heavy-duty tire changers, techni- cians in many commercial shops are changing tires by hand. "Tire changers for heavy-duty have been around for a long time, but they were very generalized," says Pete Liebetreu, senior product manager at Hunter. "ey were designed so you could change an over-the- road truck tire with them, but you could also change maybe an agricultural tire, or an implement tire like a road grader, depending on the size." But it is difficult for technicians to change wide-base tires with a bar and hammer. Don Vanderheyden, director of marketing for Hennessy Industries Inc., says that when changing on the ground, a technician must li the second bead of the tire over the wheel. "In doing this the tech is fighting gravity, plus liing the entire weight of the tire over the wheel. is becomes more difficult with wide-based applications that are becoming more common." Lower costs are behind the switch from dually to super single tires, according to Vanderheyden. "e cost of ownership and fuel are lower for one wide tire and wheel than two narrow tires and wheels. In addition, one wide tire and wheel is cheaper to buy than two standard tires and wheels. e trend is to more super singles, and when you go to more super singles you need these types of machines." Liebetreu says wide-base tires are the "prime driver" for increased use of heavy-duty tire changing equipment, especially for equipment that speeds the process. "e wide-base tire is just so heavy and unwieldy to do with bars that it really becomes a lot more work and time compared to steer tires. Also, the concern for workplace fatigue, liability and safety goes up." Heavy-duty tire changers Hunter says the TCX625 heavy-duty tire changer's pedal-controlled inner roller saves the operator time and effort to bring service times that are comparable to manual methods, but are much safer. The machine combines a compact size with a unique mount/demount roller mechanism.

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