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Mounting the Big Boys

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Over the last several months, we’ve seen how the demand for ultra-large wheels

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has risen even higher. The 24-inchers have been out for a year now, and 26-inchers are on the horizon.

We’ve covered the marketing potential of selling these monsters, so now it’s time to talk about the equipment necessary to handle them.

We’ll start with Accu Industries. They have developed two machines, models 5602HP and 3602HP, capable of mounting a 24-inch tire. With optional adapters, the model 3602HP (see Photo 1) has the capability to clamp and mount a 26-inch tire and wheel.

The 3602HP has a pneumatic helper arm that includes a top roller to depress the top bead, a multi-pivot point bead depressor to hold the bead into the drop center, and a lower disk used to apply upward pressure on the lower bead to help dismount the tire.

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According to Jim Ayers, director of customer relations for Accu, "This model has a side shoe that utilizes a multi-position pull pin that allows the shoe to move out further to break the beads of large diameter or floatation size tires such as mudders. The clamps are offset to allow for better clamping force to hold the wheel while mounting and demounting."

Ayers says it will handle a maximum tire diameter of 40 inches, and is also capable of handling the PAX system run-flat tires.

The Hunter TC3500 has some unique capabilities, such as pneumatic dual rollers that swing into position above and below the tire bead and then gently squeeze the bead until it rolls it smoothly off the bead seat. And it incorporates a spring-loaded wheel centering support that lifts the tire to the operator, thus lowering the risk of back injury.

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The TC3500 (see Photo 2) also has a floating three-point articulating arm to help with dismounting. The "tulip" clamping system that this machine uses allows all wheels to be clamped internally with rubber pads.

Its design allows for expansion, David Scribner, product manager for Hunter, says. "This machine has been around for 11 years. Three years ago, no one knew we would be mounting 24-inch tires. We try to build equipment that is upgradeable, and the TC3500 is a perfect example of that."

By using new adapters, this machine can now mount a 24-inch tire. The TC3500’s "tulip" wheel-clamping system has interchangeable clamping jaws to expand its capabilities with minimal expense. Normally, it can handle a maximum tire diameter of 40 inches, but with an extension kit the TC3500 can handle up to 43.5-inch tires. Scribner says new adapters to handle PAX system tires will be available soon.

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The Coats 9024E (see Photo 3), manufactured by Hennessy Industries, is the most recent addition to its tire changer lineup.

This model has a pneumatic drop center arm to help hold the tire sidewall down while mounting/demounting. Its power taper roller allows bead lubrication, and the mount/demount head tilts out of the way for unobstructed lifting of the tire.

"The Coats 9024E’s two-horsepower electric motor generates the highest turntable torque in its class, but all the accessories are air-driven," says Kevin Keefe, product manager.

The side shoe of the 9024E operates on a cam instead of on a single pivot, allowing the shoe to align itself at the proper angle on wider wheels. This model can clamp up to 24-inch wheels externally and 26-inchers internally.

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With bigger and bigger diameters emerging every year, Hennessy says it’s ready for whatever is on the horizon. "The 9024E is a completely new machine, but has the ability for expansion in the future," Keefe says. Right now, it can easily tackle tires with a 47-inch diameter, as well as large diameter wheels.

The next is the Artiglio Master from Corghi, marketed by McCourt Industries. Introduced early last year, this changer takes a whole new approach to tire mounting.

The technician operates the Artiglio Master (see Photo 4) from an ergonomically designed console located on the side. It uses a new principle of electronic wheel diameter selection with automatic tool positioning, and it incorporates a unique tool head for leverless tire mounting. That means that there is no metal to come into contact with the wheel at any time.

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It will even pick up the tire/wheel and load the assembly onto the changer. This model has dual pneumatic rollers that break the tire beads from top and bottom. It will clamp up to a 24-inch wheel with a maximum tire diameter of 40 inches, and it is PAX system ready.

Each of these changers has their own set of strengths. I hope that this quick review will help you to determine which changer is best for your business and clientele. We mentioned changers that will work on PAX system tires because you might be in the market to handle vehicles that will use this run-flat system.

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The custom wheel market is only going to get bigger and faster-paced. The companies willing to invest in these new technologies are the ones that are going to be on the leading edge of the wave.

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