Modern Tire Dealer

APR 2017

Magazine for the professional tire industry

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Page 49 of 77

MTD April 2017 Heavy-duty tire changers He says a technician can change a steer tire faster manually than using Hunter's machine. "To be honest, we can't beat him on the steer tire. e guy with the bars is still a lile faster with that traditional tire, but with the wide-base we certainly outpace him. And we do it without anybody having to li anything. We do it in a safe way." There is a high risk of back injury when changing tire assemblies on the ground, according to Vanderheyden. "Using a heavy-duty tire machine, you reduce operator effort and technicians have more control. is reduces the risk of injury when servicing a heavy-duty tire assembly." Liebetreu notes that a shop servicing over-the-road truck tires in many cases isn't dealing with implement or agricultural tires, or is addressing them in a different way. "ere's a true benefit that can be had to our customers for having a very fast and efficient piece of equipment that's focused on the tire volume challenge in over-the-road truck tires. e volume doesn't exist in implement or agricultural tires to make sense to be super specialized in that area. But boy, there are a lot of truck tires being changed every day." Machines boost efficiency and protect alloy wheels Higher tire volumes are prompting more shops to commit to heavy-duty machines, according to Vanderheyden. "We're seeing more people being willing to spend the money and make the investment to buy the equipment. at's the bale in the heavy-duty market. Everybody says these are great machines, but the bale happens at the shop level because the machines are expensive. People will say if I don't have a lot of volume I'll just pound it out. But as they start to get their volumes up, they start to realize they could do it a lot more efficiently with the machine." Liebetreu says alloy wheels also are driving increased interest in heavy-duty tire changers. "Anything that's going to get near the wheel is going to be plastic. If you do it in a controlled way with non-scratch materials, then you're not going to damage those very expensive aluminum wheels." ere still are plenty of steel wheels in the market, accord- ing to Vanderheyden, but the increase in alloy-style wheels makes machines that only have steel capability not as useful anymore. "Now that we have alloy wheels in the heavy-duty world, that means we have to protect the wheels on the tire changer. at's where the clamp protection comes in to limit metal-to-metal contact and prevent wheel damage." Shops are more profitable Mechanized tire changing makes a shop more efficient and safer. Says Liebetreu, "If you can do a tire and wheel faster and easier, assuming you charge the same amount for the service, you have a more profitable operation." Tire changing equipment also can help contain workplace safety costs. "Any kind of liability, any kind of workers' compensation, even the amount of time employees call in sick or don't make it in on time because they're worn out, affects your profitability as well." Nick McCullough, president of Rav America, the North American division of Ravaglioli SpA, points out that the risk of on-the-job accidents and workers' compensation claims are reduced when processes are no longer dependent strictly on manual labor. "e average cost of a claim is now approaching $100,000 when all cost factors are included. e cost of a leading truck tire changer is less than $20,000, and it will perform tens of thousands of cycles for years to come." Other benefits are improved employee recruitment and retention, according to McCullough. "The labor pool of individuals willing to do the hard physical labor required by manual tire changing is prey much exhausted. Retaining these employees will be more difficult in the future." McCullough says Rav's GTB-16N machine is simi- lar to operating a video game with joystick controls. "e current generation grew up playing video games, and it will be much easier to find these kinds of tire techs than it will be to find people who are willing to swing a tire hammer day in and day out." In addition, skill, experience and strength are not prereq- uisites for mechanized tire changing. Shops do not have to plan for a lengthy training program either. "It is a long process to teach a person to become highly proficient in manual tire changing. Mechanized tire changing can be learned in one day," says McCullough. He cites other advantages heavy-duty tire changers bring to a shop: faster cycle times overall, more efficient practices, less employee absence due to fatigue or injury, and less bead damage due to incorrect mounting/demounting practices. More efficient use of floor space is another plus. "ese tire machines require 50 square feet of floor space where to manually change even one set of drive tires requires 150 square feet of valuable floor space." ■ Hennessy says the Coats CHD-6330 heavy-duty tire changer is the most compact of the jaw-style clamping machines. Features include a four-jaw chuck for fast and easy clamp- ing of virtually all rim styles and a portable control station that allows techs to work from the best angle. Rav America says the GTB-16N machine is specifically de- signed for medium-duty, light truck, super-duty, and wide- base tubeless tires. It is used in mounted wheel programs and is capable of the high cycle counts and rigorous demands of high-volume applications. 48

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