Changing a truck tyre is not as simple or as safe as people may think. According to worksafe.act.gov.au, Australian workers have been killed or seriously injured during a tyre explosion whilst changing a tyre. Many have suffered permanent hearing or eyesight damage from the force of the sudden release of air pressure and by the impact of being hit by tyres, rims or parts.
For this reason, tyre inflation cages or protective barriers must be used, particularly when working with large tyres on 4WD vehicles and heavy vehicles such as trucks and tractors.
Because they are so large, truck and machinery tyres are designed to operate under higher pressure than standard car tyres, meaning an increased risk of a tyre exploding.
During inflation, some of the most common tyre fails include zipper ruptures, sidewall rupture, overinflated run-flats, bead failures, and the sudden release of air and debris.
One of the most common ways to ensure a wheel is adequately secured before inflating is to use a tyre safety cage, in combination with a truck tyre changer machine.
This type of equipment has been specifically designed to prevent the wheel, tyre or rims from being turned into projectiles in the event of an explosion.
Not only do tyre inflation cages save time and ultimately improve workshop efficiency, but more importantly, they save lives.
Numerous State Government bodies recommend using tyre inflating cages in their safe work guidelines to prevent incorrect tyre inflation. Additionally, work should always be carried out by authorised, competent personnel with the appropriate training.
Italian based workshop manufacturer, Sicam, is the global leader in heavy-duty wheel servicing equipment, including tyre changers, wheel balancers and inflation cages. Genesis Equipment is the exclusive distributor of Sicam in Australia.
There are several different styles of tyre inflation cages on the market. However, the safest truck tyre changer machine is one that is fully enclosed. This minimises the risk that any part of a tyre, wheel or rim might become a projectile object during a blast.
2. Material and design
Not only should the perforated mesh be incredibly durable, but the force of a blow should be distributed across the cage. Numerous videos online show tubular cage styles with insufficient side supports that crumple causing irreparable damage to the tyre.
3. Correct size
A safety inflation cage should suit the assembly size of the tyre you are working with.
4. Additional Safety Measures
The Sicam Inflation Cage offers several optional extras, including a tubeless inflation device, a digital reader and an electronic inflating system.
On request, the Sicam Inflation Cage can be equipped with an electronic system that allows a standalone inflating process.
The electronic inflating system allows the operator to set the required pressure and begin the inflation process. The pressure gauge completes the operation unassisted and stops the inflation once the desired pressure is reached.
The purpose of this is to leave the operator free to carry out other tasks and be well away from the tyre inflation cage should the unthinkable happen.
When requested, the Sicam Inflating Cage can also be equipped with a blast inflating system. This is an option available with both the electronic inflating system or the standalone system.
The side opening allows this operation to be carried out easily inside the box, with no reduction of operator safety.
Tyre inflation cages and truck tyre changer machines must be freestanding. According to experts, they should NEVER be anchored to the floor.
To safely absorb and dissipate the force of a blast, a tyre safety cage needs to be able to flex and bow. Deformation of the cage is necessary for safety. For example, during a catastrophic lock ring failure, the separated lock ring and the wheel strike opposing walls of the cage with the same force.
Should a blast occur whilst an inflation cage is secured to the floor, its bolts can shear off and become projectiles. This could potentially cause further harm or injury to an operator and damage the building or surrounding objects.
A truck tyre inflation cage is a device that provides an effective solution for safety during tyre inflation. For more information on the Sicam Inflation Cage, please contact Genesis Equipment on 1300 694 363.