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05/09/2011
Aikido concert, the joys pf automation

New butler tyre changer

Speed, simplicity, gentle on tyres and rims are the aims of Aikido Concert, the new tyre changer from Butler. Invaluable characteristics also for coping with peaks of work when the seasons change

Fabio Quinto

In a rapid succession of operations, the wheel is raised and blocked by a self-locking system that can be adjusted on 3 levels, depending on the height of the operator and the size of the tyre.

 

Tyre changing is becoming increasingly season related. This is why the workload of the tyre specialist has frequent peaks and troughs. And this is why today's tyre changers must have three characteristics: speed, simplicity, maximum respect for tyres and rims.
Concepts that Butler has applied to its latest arrival, Aikido Concert. The first point, speed: according to commercial manager Luca Catellani, "it cuts times by 30%, with tyre removal in 55 seconds instead of 75 seconds with the previous model". Second point, simplicity: "tyre removal and mounting is completely automatic." This can help to cope with work peaks in the autumn and spring, when both tyres and seasons change. What's more, there is no risk of damage during removal and mounting, because the new Aikido Concert's metal parts do not come into contact with the tyre or the rim. Third point. This was the aim set for this new project by engineer Silvano Santi, chairman of the SA.MI.RO Group: an extremely simple device that does everything by itself, just like ours".
The secret is its computer. After inserting the tyre size, the machine tools start to work accordingly. "We've been working on it for four years, but the last year was used just for tyre removal tests 10 hours a day".

 

How it works

Let's see how the Aikido Concert works. In a rapid succession of operations, the wheel is raised and blocked by a self-locking system that can be adjusted on 3 levels, depending on the height of the operator and the size of the tyre. Information about the tyre - in our case, a 315/35 R 20 - is inserted in the computer, which then identifies the relevant work cycle. An important point is that the keyboard makes data insertion very simple and intuitive.
The Concert's databank independently recognizes if the tyre is a run-flat or another kind, but it always allows the operator to make any changes. To prevent damage to any tyre-pressure monitoring system (TPMS), the valve is placed next to the bead-breaking tool and the machine moves it towards the wall of the tyre.
At this point, the operator can memorize customer data by inserting his/her name, car model, or, the quickest identification, the vehicle registration number. Once the above procedure has been carried out on the first wheel, the removal and mounting procedures for the other three wheels will take place quickly and automatically. This also means that every time the customer returns, all that needs to be done is to insert the registration number to identify the type of wheel and the relevant data and Aikido Concert will automatically start all the tyre removal/mounting procedures.
Now comes the actual tyre removal stage. Aikido Concert is started up by tapping the pedal twice. In just a few seconds, the machine removes the tyre in a precise succession of bead-breaking and tyre extraction operations. It then stops to allow for the removal of the tyre and arms so that as much space as possible is left for the operator. Since the wheel was locked, it has only taken just over 30 seconds to remove a 315/35 R 20 run-flat tyre.
The next stage is mounting the new tyre, which takes even less time. The tyre is placed on top of the rim, the pedal is pressed again and with the help of the bead pressing tool, the Aikido Concert does everything by itself. All that has to be done is to inflate the tyre, which stops at the operator's position for removal from the machine. Total time taken: 53 seconds. As Catellani said: "Once the size of the tyre has been inserted, our Aikido Concert tyre remover does everything by itself simply and quickly" on different types and even on reverse rims".
In the event of computer failure, Butler has made sure that all the operations can be carried out manually. A coup for Butler, an all-Italian company based in Rio Saliceto (Reggio Emilia) but with a new technological structure under construction in nearby Rolo. 75% of its products are exported, especially to the United States, Japan and West Europe. A fact that says a lot about the positioning of Butler products in the mid-high segment of the market. Since if began, it has made innovation one of its guiding principles: suffice it to say that at the start of the '80s, Butler's tyre removers had a central check pin and not a rotating plate.
Aikido Concert will take wheels from 10" to 34". The "claw" is inserted between the tyre and the rim by gradually raising the tyre without the help of levers or anything else. Made from anti-scratch material, it will not damage the rim. The two bead breakers, one above and one below the wheel, are also made from anti-scratch material. A wealth of accessories means that it can work on 98% of wheels, including reverse rims on off-road vehicles and run-flats, which can be further increased by adding specific accessories.

 

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