What is the difference between semi-automatic Tyre changer and fully automatic tyre machine?

There are 2 main types of tyre changer on sale for passenger vehicles (ignoring the manual types), fully automatic and semi-automatic. Although both types of tyre changer are operated by electric motors (or air in some cases) the way that the demount head is set in position for tyre removal is the difference. On a semi-automatic fitting machine, the mounting head is set in place using a locking screw and handle. The mounting head is on a arm that hinges at the top of the back column and allows the arm and mounting head to be swung over to the right to clear the tyre and allow you to remove it from the table.

There is nothing at all wrong with semi-automatic tyre changers. They are simple and easy to use and will cope with the standard 16”/17” rims that you’ll see with the 205/55/16 tyres that make up about 30% of the market. The only drawback to a semi-automatic tyre machine comes when speed is an issue. It takes slightly longer than a fully Automatic tyre changer to set up. If however, you are only changing a minimal amount of tyres, then the more cost effective semi-automatic machine would be ideal.  A good example of a semi-automatic tyre changer is the FORTIS 220 which can be found here.

On a fully automatic tyre changer, there is no difference in the way the turntable and bead breaker operate. It is the difference in set up of the mounting head that defines the difference in the two machines. Instead of locking into place manually and being on a hinge, the locking of the mounting head is controlled by compressed air. The operator manoeuvres the mounting head into place and then, with a single click of the button, pneumatically controlled locking plates ensure the mounting head is frozen in position both horizontally and vertically. The whole arm, including the mounting head is then moved by a press of the pedal, allowing the arm to tilt backwards and forwards. This is why fully automatic machines are often referred to as tilt back tyre changers. Again, a good example of a fully automatic tyre changer is the FORTIS 322 which can be found here.

Do I need an Assist Arm?

That’s one of the most common questions we get asked. Our answer is always the same, no you don’t NEED an assist arm. Will it help fit run flat tyres…well yes, that is what it is designed to do but it is not fair to say you have to have an assist arm. If only 1 out of 200 tyres you do is a run flat then you’ll need to consider the difference in price between machines with and without an assist arm.

If 90% of your business is run flat tyres then you should be looking at a machine designed for this type of wheel tyre combination or it will be tough going. For the ultimate in run flat tyre changing why not take a look at our FORTIS324 Super Automatic tyre changer with double assist arm.

Wheel balancing machines

Wheel balancers come in a variety of models, starting with compact hand spin wheel balancers that run on 12 v supply. These wheel balancers are often used in mobile fitting vans or in confined workshops. Generally speaking, as you go up the range in wheel balancing machines you find that the data required for wheel balancing is captured automatically. To balance a wheel and tyre combination, the machine requires 3 bits of data. The offset, the diameter and rim width. The automatic acquisition of this data means the cycle time for the balance is reduced. It has no effect on the balancing accuracy though. It comes down to a choice that is both budget dependant and personal preference. One of the best wheel balancers is the FORTIS 440 which you can find out more details on here.

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