Changing heavy industrial tyres and wheels has always been a tough, demanding job, with obvious physical risks to the tyre maintenance crew and the machine itself.
Bearcat Tyres , national distributor for Solideal, CEAT and Duratough brands of industrial tyres and wheels has added a heavy industrial on-site installation service to its range of goods and services by speeding up the tyre changing process whilst 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 client’s small forklifts to take the weight of the wheel, then the maintenance crew would undo the stud nuts.” said Mark Bloxham, managing director Bearcat Tyres.
“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”.
Mark and the Bearcat team designed and built a complete mobile tyre and wheel changing unit, able to handle all tyres up to 3 metres 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 2,100 kilos
- A heavy-duty compressor (46CFM @ 175 PSI)
- Hydraulic 50 tonne jacks
- Air-over hydraulic porta-power and bead breaker
- 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, 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,” said Mark Bloxham “but also to ensure the safety of both operator and machine.”
“The truck’s a well thought-out design. It operates safely and efficiently” said Bearcat’s tyre technician, Paul Martini “With the radio frequency remote control, I have the mobility to see exactly what I am 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, 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 be used to break the rim-seals and the tyre is 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 studs and the job done safely.
“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” said Mark Bloxham.
“This one in Sydney is the first of many of these trucks we are rolling-out” said Mark Bloxham “We have second one operating in Perth and current plans include commissioning one in each state by the end of the year.”