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Do You Need a Tire Inflation Cage?

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You’ve probably heard about tire inflation cages before, but you’re not quite sure what they are or if you even need one. In this blog, we are going to clear up these common questions.

Inflating a tire may seem like a simple job, however, experienced heavy-duty mechanics know it requires training, knowledge, preparation, and the right equipment. Some mechanics and shop owners fail to realize that when a tire blows there is a high probability of serious injury or even death.

What is a tire inflation cage? Simply put, it’s a piece of equipment designed to keep the mechanic safe when inflating a tire. It is typically a heavy tubular steel fabricated cage where the tire is placed during the inflation process. The narrow design allows the tire to stay in a vertical position during inflation, which prevents any component from turning into a projectile during a blow out. There are various sizes and designs from a portable 2-bar setup all the way up to fully enclosed cages and barriers. High quality units are designed to meet or exceed OSHA’s 1910.177 standard.

Martins Industries 4 bar tire inflation cage (Buy it here)

When do you need a tire inflation cage? The OSHA standard applies when servicing multi-piece and/or single-piece rim wheels used on large vehicles, such as trucks, tractors, trailers, buses, and off-road machines. These tires are larger than automotive/light truck tires with tire inflation pressures that can easily exceed 100psi.

How do you choose the right inflation cage?

  • Start by investigating the types of vehicles and tire sizes you typically handle in your shop. You will need the maximum OD (outside diameter) and width of the tire.
  • Determine your maximum inflation pressures and ensure the cage you choose is certified to inflate tires up to that pressure.
  • Verify the cage you choose meets or exceeds OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.177
  • Choose a reputable manufacturer that uses a reliable welding process.

Why should you get one? The most important reason – SAFETY! The explosion of a truck tire filled up to 100psi can generate up to 50,000lbs of pressure during a blowout. At that point, broken parts of the tire and rim become projectiles that can seriously injure or even kill people in its path. Furthermore, OSHA regulations require the use of a cage or barrier when inflating these tires, as well as providing your employees with the necessary training. Occupational Health ans Safety laws in Canada vary by Province and also require employers to take measures such as restriction on who can work on tires as well as providing operational procedures and appropriate equipment.

Interestingly enough, even smaller automotive and light truck tires can explode while being filled if they were poorly maintained. Check out this Inside Edition investigation below.

Inside Edition – Investigation of tire blowouts.

Branick Industries, created one of the most convincing videos showing the danger of an exploding tire in slow motion captured in High Definition (Watch the video below). Branick also listed the most common failures

  • 16.5 inch rims
  • Zippers
  • Sidewall Rupture
  • Over Inflated Runflats
  • Bead Failures
  • Sudden release of air and debris.
Check out this video of a truck tire blowout – courtesy of Branick Industries.

Although OSHA doesn’t specifically require inflation cages for passenger and light truck tires, it’s clear that inflating a tire poses a risk of explosion. Using a tire inflation cage to protect you and your employees from the danger of an explosion is the safest solution.

Interested in a tire inflation cage for your shop? Check out our entire lineup of tire inflation cages here. If you need help choosing an inflation cage feel free to contact us and one of our technicians can guide you through the process.

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