ERJ staff report (TB)
Wilson, North Carlina --Tire Artisan Inc., a new importing/distribution company, is launching distribution in the US and Canada of the Tire Artisan Custom Tires Machine, a type of inkjet colour printer that the developers claim â€œinfusesâ€ colours into a tyre's sidewall.
Developed over the past decade in Japan by digital imaging specialists LAC Corp., the machine is a variant of LAC's work with inkjet printing technology that uses proprietary aqueous rubber paint to print a range of colours in myriad designs over the tyre's sidewall. LAC claims the infused design has been tested to last more than three years.
Tire Artisan has launched a website, tireartisan.com, with information about the technology, including videos and a do-it-yourself design matrix.
The machine is capable of full-colour printing via six application nozzles; an application takes about five minutes per side of a tyre.
The machine can handle tyres ranging from 19.7 to 31.5 inches in diameter and 13.8 inches wide. The maximum printable area is 11.8 inches deep, from outer circumference to the bead area, LAC said.
A machine will sell for $39,995, according to Mike McGee, vice president and one of the principals of Tire Artisan, who estimated dealers should be able to charge around $200 for a set of four tyres, depending on how complex the design is and how much time goes into completing the job.
Pricing will be left to the customers, though, McGee stressed.
â€œTire dealers with a Tire Artisan will be able to infuse a tyre's sidewall with any custom colours or graphics for a minimal price. The end consumer will save hundreds on a set of tyres compared to what is currently offered in the industry,â€ McGee said.
From Tire Business (A Crain publication)
Press release from Tire Artisan
Website of Tire Artisan