Automobile

RoboTire aims to ease pain of hands-on tire changes

Founded by a software engineer named Victor Darolfi in 2018, RoboTire uses the same robots automakers do on vehicle assembly lines to automatically remove the wheel and tire assembly from the car. Depending on the version of the RoboTire system, the tire can be transported to a Hunter Revolution machine automatically. A human will still need to load the tire and wheel, but the Hunter machine removes the old tire and installs the new one once it is loaded. The wheel also is balanced by the same machine.

“It takes a human typically about an hour on average to [change] a set of tires. RoboTire can do it in 25 minutes or less,” Darolfi said.

He said his system can increase throughput by around three times what most dealers normally do. Another big advantage, Darfoli said, is dealers will find it easier to hire help for their tire sales operations.

“The No. 1 reason why dealers and tire stores are interested in this robotic system is technicians,” he said. “We’ve eliminated so many technical schools that we just are not training high school students any longer. So this is a new way to attract talent that wouldn’t have considered the automotive field. Maybe they have no desire to work on tires, but they are interested in robots.

“This is their entry into the robotics world.”

The RoboTire system is only programmed to work on domestic and Asian cars, SUVs, crossovers, minivans and some pickups. The company is working on adding European vehicles to its list of vehicles, a process that may take a couple of years. Heavy-duty trucks also will be added.

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