Federpneus training courses: focus on truck tire maintenance
In June the association of specialized tire retailers organized a two days training program for its members. The course revolved around correct truck tire repair procedures as a qualifying element, with safety under the magnifying lens
Fewer accidents in the workplace and greater safety when driving. Sounds great, but to do so, skills and competence are needed. This is precisely why Federpneus organizes courses on correct tire maintenance and repair procedures. The last course took place in June, when Federpneus zoomed in on the trucking world at the association’s headquarters in Anzola dell'Emilia. During the two days, several speakers dealt with different aspects related to the type of work to be performed and the behaviour truck repairers are expected to have when performing maintenance activities: the use of suitable materials, quality equipment and, above all, more than average attention to the inspection phase, a fundamental element in ensuring an accurate repair job. The course saw the participation of thirty companies registered in Federpneus, fifteen for each of the two day. The training program, divided between theoretical and practical modules, was held, just as it previously was – when the focus was on repairing car tires and run-flat tires - by Gabriele Lazzarini, coordinator of the Federpneus technical commission, and by Gustavo De Mari, Rema Tip Top product and training manager.
This in-depth analysis of correct repair and maintenance procedures stems from the need to pay more than the usual attention to safety issues. The course took into consideration both the work of tire specialists, and their need to be diligent when performing their duties, as well as road safety: poor vehicle conditions are one of the most frequent causes of accidents. With regard to accidents occurring in the workplace, the latest data provided by Inail (National Institute for Insurance against Workplace Accidents and Occupational Disease) certified that in 2016, 4,713 cases were recorded. Of these, 9.8 percent concerned the tire industry (463). Analyzing the nature of the injuries, minor injuries and bruises made up 30.2 percent of the cases while fractures accounted for 23.2 percent, sprains come in fourth with 21 percent of the injuries with cuts and other wounds taking last spot with 16.6 percent. Numbers that point out how working in a workshop requires great caution and attention. The intent of the course, however, was not limited to simply explaining how each tasks should be carried out by scrupulous operators. It also focused on the rigor and expertise expected when carrying out the work of repairing heavy duty tires: the customer's safety depends on it.
Far too often, in fact, vehicle conditions are underestimated: good and proper maintenance can be decisive in avoiding accidents. In Italy, according to data contained in a provisional report by the Ministry of the Interior, in 2017 insurance claims decreased by 2.4%, from 76,052 in 2016 to 74,226. However, things turned out differently as far as fatal accidents. Despite the reduction in the number of accidents, last year there was an increase of 1.4% in fatal accidents (from 1,547 to 1,569) and a rise of 2.7% in the number of victims (from 1,665 to 1,710). The main cause of these accidents was, for the most part, careless driving. Nevertheless, poor or inadequate vehicle maintenance was also partly to blame. And not just inadequate brakes, also tire conditions was involved: smooth or worn tires, in fact, prevent a vehicle from stopping as quickly as they should especially when emergency strikes, and in the case of unsafe repair jobs, these are ready to blow out while the vehicle is running . With this scenario firmly set into everyone’s mind, Federpneus came up with a complete training program to provide specialist retailers with all the theoretical and practical tools to operate safely and offer their customers a reliable product.
The course was divided into four main areas: tire inspection (a fundamental step which, unlike popular opinion, can only be done by removing the tire from the wheel), correct damage assessment, realistic evaluation whether a tire is reparable (another crucial step, since not all types of damages are repairable, and knowing these limits is a fundamental aspect for safety), and finally maintenance and repair techniques. In class the emphasis was placed on civil responsibility and the importance of carrying out the work professionally and diligently, highlighting the importance of firmly refusing to carry out activities that contrast with the requirements set in the sector’s technical regulations, even if the client asks for it.The speakers who took turns during the two-day program have repeatedly focused on the need to consistently carry out a thorough inspection of the tires before starting a repair job. Only through a scrupulous method is possible to carefully evaluate the extent of the damage and consequently determine whether the tire can be used again or not.
A fundamental step in the life cycle of a tire, but above all in guaranteeing that a reliable product is placed back on the roads after being repaired. The rule in this case requires that a tire is to be considered repairable only if the damage is located in the central part of the tread and if the actual diameter of the puncture does not exceed 12 millimetres. Such requirements are contained in a set of European recommendations by Etrto (European tire and rim technical organization). However, all of this can hardly be considered sufficient. In fact, in order to be able to carry out an effective repair job, besides manual skills, a thorough knowledge of the materials involved and how a tire is made is equally necessary. The curing process, for example, is a chemical process used to impart natural rubber as well as synthetic polymers with elasticity and stiffness, making them insensitive to temperature variations. At the end of the theoretical and practical lessons, all participants were invited to “get their hand dirty” showing the techniques learned during the course in a dedicated workshop, so as to repeat them in their daily activities, and were finally given a quiz on the topics considered before obtaining the certificate of attendance. A "piece of paper" that will certainly distinguish them from the competition as reliable and competent operators.