To evolve the processes for changing a tire or balancing a wheel, equipment manufacturers are using technology to make these processes simpler, faster and more efficient while adapting to lower profile wheel trends. Now the question is, what’s next when it comes to tire changing and wheel balancing technology?
Features have been added to equipment to improve throughput and efficiency while contributing to ease of use in servicing tough combinations, said Kyle Harris, key account manager at Hennessy Industries, manufacturers of Coats tire changers, wheel balancers and inspection equipment.
“For example, our APS 3000 tire changer has independent rollers for dynamic bead breaking as well as aiding during the mounting phase of the top bead on tough non-compliant tires. Our latest-generation ‘Robo Roller’ is simpler to use and can push tough tires into a deep drop center at the push of a button,” he said.
Other companies like BendPak are using precise laser technology to eliminate guesswork and improve productivity for both tire changers and wheel balancers, which in turn has helped streamline and automate the balancing process while delivering accurate results, according to Jeff Castillo, technical adviser at the company.
“These innovations include hardware such as our laser spotter, a device which generates a laser dot that identifies the exact location of where stick-on weights need to be placed on the wheel,” he said. “This device, along with software innovation, has helped us produce ‘One Plane Balancing,’ [which is] a process that cancels static imbalances while minimizing residual dynamic values, using only one weight to balance the wheel assembly, thus, saving the operator time per wheel.”
Jim Hudson, product manager for tire changers at Hunter Engineering Company, said the most notable innovation the company has made to tire changers is partially automating the tire changing process with the Hunter Revolution’s Walkaway mode. This feature automatically unmounts the tire without an operator present and “enables the technician to do other things like balance the previous wheel,” Hudson said.
Speaking of wheels, Hunter has added dimension entry using cameras and lasers to all of its wheel balancers, Greg Meyer, product manager of wheel balancers, said.
“On our premium balancers, this is a fully automatic measurement which increases speed and reduces the chances of technicians making errors with manual entry systems,” he added.