Adding up the cost is easily offset by huge improvements in safety, speed, and efficiency
When Wiebren de Boer saw the price tag on The TireGrabber he had planned to buy, he went into sticker shock. As owner of de Boer Poultry Farms in Watford, Ont., Wiebren’s duty is getting top returns on investments in equipment, tools and all things business. So when he was ready to buy, he asked Darcy Goossen – the tool’s inventor and owner – to sharpen his pencil.
Goossen just smiled and stood his ground. Since de Boer’s need was critical, he bit the bullet and bought the equipment. “Well, I was sold on it after the first time I used it,” he recalls. De Boer had just purchased a new tractor that requires its own set of tires, so time was of the essence.
“All our tractors have large dual wheels that weigh more than 1000 kilograms,” he adds. The rims are offset so the wheels are not balanced. This makes it difficult to roll wheels around without dropping them. “Once you drop a wheel, you can’t get it back up on your own – and if it falls where a forklift can’t reach it, you’re in trouble.”
De Boer switches tires on his tractors twice a year. Before he acquired The TireGrabber, the process included taking the tires and rims off with a forklift and temporarily leaning them against a wall or fence while retrieving the replacements from storage. He then had to hook a chain around the tires he had removed and transport them to the storage area. And it took several workers to manoeuvre tires around the lot.
The TireGrabber greatly reduces number of steps and the amount of risk, adding up to big savings and efficiencies. “When you take tires off a tractor, sprayer or other machine, you can just store them in one move,” says de Boer. “You grab them, drive to the storage area, gently flip them forward and lay them flat so they can’t fall over.” The same works in reverse for replacement wheels.
A safe solution for the long haul
De Boer points out that safety is a huge issue in this kind of work, which can put tremendous physical strain on workers’ bodies. The operator used to lift air guns to remove nuts, roll tires around, raise and shove them into place. “With The TireGrabber, moving tires around is a one-man show – and it’s unbelievably fast,” he notes. “So it’s not only more efficient, but exponentially safer than any other method.”
He expects The TireGrabber to last 10–20 years, so “purchase price becomes a moot point.” In fact, he’s sure that if it is well maintained, the equipment could last a lifetime. While it may require some changes or upgrades over time, the cost of those adjustments will be relatively insignificant. “For example, if you want to use The TireGrabber on a different carrier, just call Darcy and he’ll send you a different plate.”
In doing the math, de Boer sees the benefits far outweighing the cost. “The initial outlay is offset by huge improvements in speed, safety and efficiency,” he says. And that is a situation that profits both the company and the people.