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Thick bead capability for Hunter’s revolutionary tire changer

Hunter’s improved Revolution tire changer on show at SEMA.

Thick bead capability for Hunter’s revolutionary tire changer

Hunter Engineering has updated the Revolution tire changer first seen at the SEMA show two years ago, slimming down the machine’s profile and introducing new thick bead capabilities.

Hunter senior product manager Pete Liebetreu said the fully automatic tire changer now took up less floor space in the shop.

“We were much more focused on the overall capability of the machine (before) and we had a fairly large console to the side,” he said.

“In this case we’ve slimmed it up but it also has all the same capability as the last machine.

“We’ve also added the capability to do thick beads — tires that are load range G or higher, so multi-ply, 18-ply tires.

“We’ve got the power — it was designed to handle the wickedest run flats — we can turn that power into handling an entirely different class of tire and wheel that also requires a lot of power.

“We have an accessory hook that will grab those tires better than the light duty, thin-bead hooks.”

Easy for low-skilled technicians to use

The machine demonstration has been drawing big crowds at this year’s SEMA. The original Revolution, first unveiled at the SEMA show in 2013, was billed as so easy and safe to use that a 10-year-old could use — something the firm demonstrated in this video.

Liebetreu said the machine was ideal for use by low-skilled technicians because they were operating away from the tire and wheel.

“All of those parts that are moving together and those big heavy pieces that are getting pushed on, the operator isn’t anywhere near them,” he said.

“As the operator really all I am doing is positioning the work piece — in this case a tire and wheel — onto the machine, picking one particular setting, and then telling the machine to go.

“It then goes through the whole process, it will demount and remount those tires, and as the operator I’m really just the guy who’s putting the work pieces together.

“What it really is doing is taking a lot of knowledge that exists in some tire technicians’ heads — the really versatile and strong ones — and putting it into the machine which is then making an expert technician out of everyone.”

Lower risk of wheel damage

Liebetreu said that made a technician’s skill level less important “in an age where (staff) turnover is a problem for everyone”.

“So for a couple of days of training, now he’s as good as a guy you might have had for three years,” he said.

“There’s a key data entry point where you bring a roller to the rim edge and like any computer process if you give the wrong answer there — it’s garbage in, garbage out, you’re going to have a hard time changing that tire,” he said.

“But it is really is more about being familiar with it than it is with true training. It is about knowing what to expect from the machine and knowing what the machine expects from you.”

He said the machine also limited the risk of wheel damage.

“We’ve got the biggest, nastiest tires, some aftermarket stuff, some carbon fiber wheels, and we’re just mounting them so gracefully and without any risk of damage,” he said.

“A guy could get a telephone call and get distracted and we’re never going to get any damage.

“It’s also just plain super-cool.”

Liebetreu said the Revolution retails for “about $30,000”.

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