Changing heavy industrial tyres and wheels has always been a tough and demanding job with obvious physical risks to the tyre maintenance crew and the machine itself.
However, Bearcat Tyres — the national distributors for Solideal, CEAT and Duratough brands of industrial tyres and wheels — have added a heavy industrial on-site installation service to their range of goods and services speeding up the tyre changing process while making the operation safer.
“When changing a big heavy tyre and wheel assembly, on a container-lift fork truck on site, we used to jack the vehicle up off the ground and utilise one of the clients small forklifts to take the weight of the wheel, then the maintenance crew would undo the stud nuts,” Bearcat Tyres managing director Mark Bloxham said.
“The crew were then in the precarious position of having to place themselves in the wheel’s drop-zone to balance and remove the wheel – often quite dangerous.”
Bloxham and the Bearcat team designed and built a complete mobile tyre and wheel changing unit to handle tyres up to 3 m in diameter.
An Isuzu 10 tonne truck was used as the base frame, augmented with an imported speciality crane with tyre-hand able to lift 2100 kg, a heavy-duty compressor (46CFM @ 175 psi), hydraulic 50 tonne jacks, and an air-over hydraulic porta-power and bead breaker.
The truck also had a heavy-duty steel body with pull-out drawers and safe storage facilities, a full compliment of workshop tools and last but not least high intensity work lights on the crane and work area, and safety beacons and witches cones to isolate a safe working zone.
“We saw an opportunity not only to provide an extra service to the heavy end of the tyre market for container-stacker forklifts, heavy construction and mining vehicles to reduce their down-time, but also to ensure the safety of both operator and machine,” Bloxham said.
“The truck’s a well thought-out design. It operates safely and efficiently,” Bearcat tyre technician Paul Martini said.
“With the radio frequency remote control I have the mobility to see exactly what I’m doing while staying out of the way of these heavy tyres and wheels, but what I really love is the magnet on the back of the crane control that sticks to any available surface- out of harms way.”
The tyre-hand on the crane lifts the new tyre off the truck and takes the weight of the tyre to be changed.
The operator undoes the studs and the tyre-hand lifts the tyre off the studs onto the ground.
The tyre-hand can break the rim-seals so the tyre can be replaced.
Lifted-up into position — the movement of the arm is as accurate in millimetre increments — the wheel is slid on by the crane and the operator screws-on the studs.
“The inclusion of work lights means that we can perform tyre changes in out-of-hours times, safely, when the forklift may be idle. Our customers can, therefore, gain back valuable up-time with their forklifts,” Bloxham said.
“This one in Sydney is the first of many of these trucks we’re rolling-out. We have second one operating in Perth and current plans include commissioning one in each state by the end of the year.”
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