With more than 25 years experience in the business, Totrax Ltd are well established as providers of wheel manufacturing technology based on quality single, 2 piece and multi-piece rims from some of the worlds leading manufacturers. From their facilities in the port town of Boston, Lincolnshire, Totrax offer their customers a custom wheel manufacturing service from concept through to manufacturing, from small development quantities through to high volume precision engineered batch production.
The engineers at wheel manufacturer BBS are constantly striving to reduce the weight of the company’s alloy wheels. Of course, when making any improvements, safety is of paramount importance. So how to achieve these potentially conflicting targets? The answer, says BBS is the patented “BBS Air Inside Technology”, which can be described as “more air, less weight.”
The secret is to incorporate circumferential hollow chambers and hollow spokes into the wheel, which not only reduces weight, but provides considerably better stability, claims BBS, thus improving safety and driving comfort.
Selcom Sensors That See™ has introduced a high speed laser line sensor for tyre sidewall inspection, radial runout measurement and other applications in the rubber and tyre industry. The market leader in triangulation sensor technology, Selcom® is a leading brand of LMI Technologies, Inc.
Tyre equipment manufacturer, Fasep, has introduced a new automatic tilting balancer. The Videotronic V652 allows wheels to be mounted horizontally to aid centring. It also has a pneumatic tilt system with electronic control, full automatic wheel data input and a laser system for application of adhesive weights. A 15 inch LCD monitor has also been included in the design, to ease operation of the machine.
Today, every company that wants to be successful in fleet business needs a lot more than just good products, nowadays that is just a prerequisite. Those responsible at Bandag Inc in Muscatine, Iowa, are convinced that the right service and the right network is even more important than the products. Bandag claims that it has both, and is trying to further integrate all of its 220 European dealers into a single global retreading network. In order to promote this policy, the company invited 20 of its dealers from around the UK and Ireland to visit its American headquarters.
Until recently, European Bandag dealers rarely had the opportunity to look around the franchiser’s corporate inner sanctum in Muscatine, Iowa. From here the company operates many of its unique facilities including its training centre. This £19 million centre opened just a few years ago and offers a range of educational opportunities within the ideal environment that is provided by the global Bandag family. A range of different courses are given, including classes on Bandag’s overall business model including its finance and management (divided in service, sales and production management). In addition to this theoretical instruction Bandag is making a big effort when it comes to practical ‘on-the-tyre’ training.
Therefore, when the training centre in Muscatine was built, Bandag incorporated a technical learning lab offering all the latest Bandag equipment. Instruction covers the whole process from the inspection of a newly delivered truck tyre to pre-cured retreading to the final inspection of the retreaded tyre. All of this is not only simulated, but actually carried out in Bandag’s learning facility.
While taking the tour through Bandag’s Muscatine learning centre, the Irish and UK dealers learned about the different options available for repairing a damaged truck tyre before it enters the retreading process.
Using a chearograph in connection with computer-based laser technology is one way of doing this and it can even save a Bandag dealer money in the long run, according to technical trainer, Frank Ortiz.
Many faults can be identified simply by carrying out a visual inspection, but if some kind of damage has slipped through the initial inspection and the dealer starts the retreading process only to find that the tyre was not in a fit state to start with, there are consequences.
Bandag would take it very seriously if any customer purchased a retreaded tyre from one of its dealers that was anywhere beneath the company’s high quality standards. Quite apart from quality control, there is also the question of money. By this point the dealer would already have spent a fair amount of money on the retreading process that he won’t cash in on if the end result is sub-standard. This is why Bandag recommends an in-depth initial examination of any that comes into a dealership for retreading.
Bandag’s UK dealers also received substantial training also on other machines like the “Buffer 8400”, the “Repair Station” or the “OSM 5400,” otherwise known as the ‘dragster’ because of its looks. However, the heart of the technical training facility is the curing chamber, where the actual pre-cure retreading process takes place. Visitors to the centre are allowed to take a tyre right through the retreading process, from first inspection to pre-curing itself. There is also the opportunity for discussion among experts and for the exchange of ideas for running the technical processes back in the UK