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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
TYRE PROCESSING APPARATUS AND METHOD
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2012/059719
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention provides an apparatus (10, 120) for processing a vehicle tyre (98) by cutting the tyre (98) into portions. The apparatus (10, 120) including a rotatable tyre support (18) which is operable to releasably retain a tyre (98), a drive arrangement (16) operable to rotate the tyre support ( 1 8), a first cutting arrangement (20) operable, in use, to separate the sidewall portions ( 102) of a tyre (98) from the tread portion (100), and a second cutting arrangement (22) operable to cut the tread portion ( 100) of the tyre (98) into a strip. The apparatus (10, 120) is further provided with a lubricant dispenser which is operable, in use, to deposit lubricant onto a tyre (98) in the vicinity of the first cutting arrangement (20).

Inventors:
CORRIGAN, Patrick Joseph (Hibberd House, Curriers CloseCanley, Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8AW, GB)
SMITH, Joseph Andrew (Hibberd House, Curriers CloseCanley, Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8AW, GB)
Application Number:
GB2011/001552
Publication Date:
May 10, 2012
Filing Date:
November 02, 2011
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
LFE ENGINEERING LIMITED (Hibberd House, Curriers CloseCan ley,Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8A, GB)
CORRIGAN, Patrick Joseph (Hibberd House, Curriers CloseCanley, Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8AW, GB)
SMITH, Joseph Andrew (Hibberd House, Curriers CloseCanley, Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8AW, GB)
International Classes:
B26D7/08; B26D3/00; B26D7/02; B26D7/26; B26D9/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2002090060A2
Foreign References:
US5024386A
US1727683A
DE4200949A1
AT367685B
US1462197A
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GRAY, James et al. (Withers & Rogers LLP, 4 More London Riverside, London SE1 2AU, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. An apparatus for processing a vehicle tyre by cutting the tyre into portions, the apparatus including a rotatable tyre support which is operable to releasably retain a tyre, a drive arrangement operable to rotate the tyre support, a first cutting arrangement operable, in use, to separate the sidewall portions of a tyre from the tread portion, and a second cutting arrangement operable to cut the tread portion of the tyre into a strip, wherein the apparatus is further provided with a lubricant dispenser which is operable, in use, to deposit lubricant onto one or both of a tyre and the first cutting arrangement to assist in the cutting of the sidewall portions from the tyre. .

2. An apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein the lubricant dispenser dispenses the lubricant on opposing sides of a tyre, in use. 3. An apparatus as claimed in claim 1 or claim 2 wherein the lubricant dispenser dispenses the lubricant in the form of a spray.

4. An apparatus as claimed in any of claims 1 to 3 where the lubricant includes water.

5. An apparatus as claimed in any of claims 1 to 3 where the lubricant is water.

6. An apparatus as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the tyre support is configured so as to fit into and through the wheel aperture provided on opposing sides of a tyre and to fit through the wheel apertures from one side of the tyre.

7. An apparatus as claimed in claim 6 wherein the tyre support is provided with a plurality of jaws which are moveable into and out of contact with a tyre. 8. An apparatus as claimed in claim 7 wherein the jaws are movable into and out of contact with the edges of the sidewalls of the tyre which define wheel apertures provided on opposing sides of a tyre

9. An apparatus as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the tyre support is mounted to a shaft which is, in use, rotatable by the drive arrangement.

10. An apparatus as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the first cutting arrangement includes a pair of opposed blades each of which are moveable between a retracted position where each blade is spaced from the sidewall of a tyre carried by the tyre support and a deployed position whereupon each blade penetrates the sidewall of a tyre carried by the tyre support. 1 1. An apparatus as claimed in claim 10 wherein the blades are pivotable between the retracted and deployed positions.

12. An apparatus as claimed in claim 1 1 wherein the blades are pivotable between the retracted and deployed positions by a common actuator.

13. An apparatus as claimed in claim 1 1 or claim 12 wherein each blade is provided with a shroud, the blade extending from the shroud in the deployed position and being received in shroud in the retracted position. 14. An apparatus as claimed claim 13 wherein the shroud includes a slot, the blade extending through the slot when in the deployed position.

15. An apparatus as claimed in claim 13 or claim 13 wherein the shroud includes a nozzle of the lubricant dispenser.

16. An apparatus as claimed in any of claims 1 1 to 15. wherein the blades are pivotable towards and away from one another.

17. An apparatus as claimed in any of claims 10 to 16 wherein the blades are provided on a platform which is movable towards and away from the tyre support.

1 8. An apparatus as claimed in claim 17 wherein the platform is movable in a direction which is substantially perpendicular to the axis of rotation of the tyre support. 19. An apparatus as claimed in claim 17 or claim 18 wherein the platform further includes a lubricant collection portion which functions to collect excess lubricant dispensed from the lubricant dispenser.

20. An apparatus as claimed in any of claims 10 to 19 wherein the lubricant dispenser is operable to deposit lubricant onto the blades.

21. An apparatus as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the second cutting arrangement includes a cutter which is mounted for movement in a direction which is substantially parallel to the axis of rotation of the tyre support.

22. An apparatus as claimed in any of claims 1 to 20 wherein the second cutting arrangement includes a cutter which is mounted for movement in a direction which is substantially perpendicular to the axis of rotation of the tyre support. 23. An apparatus as claimed in claim 22 wherein the second cutting arrangement is provided on the apparatus at a separate location to the first cutting arrangement such that the second cutting arrangement is operable both independently of and simultaneous to the first cutting arrangement. 24. An apparatus as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the apparatus includes an enclosure having a door, the door being openable so as to permit access to the interior of the enclosure, wherein the rotatable tyre support and first cutting arrangement are provided within the enclosure, and the second cutting arrangement is provided to the exterior of the enclosure.

25. An apparatus as claimed in any of claims 20 to 24 wherein the cutter is a circular saw.

26. An apparatus as claimed in claim 25 wherein the second cutting arrangement further includes a tread band support arrangement having a slot through which the saw blade passes, in use.

27. A method of processing a vehicle tyre by cutting the tyre into portions, the method comprising the steps of:

cutting a sidewall portion from a first side of a tyre;

cutting a sidewall portion from a second side of a tyre; and

cutting the tread portion of the tyre to form a strip,

wherein the method further includes the step of dispensing a lubricant onto the sidewall portions of the tyre during cutting thereof.

28. A method as claimed in claim 27 wherein the step of cutting a sidewall portion from the tyre comprises the steps of:

inserting a blade through the sidewall of the tyre; and

rotating the tyre relative to the blade.

29. A method as claimed in claim 27 or claim 28 wherein the side wall portions are cut from the tyre simultaneously.

30. The use of an apparatus as claimed in any of claims 1 to 26 to cut a tyre into portions.

Description:
Tyre Processing Apparatus and Method

The present invention related to the processing of used vehicle tyres. In particular, the present invention relates to an apparatus and a method for cutting used vehicle tyres into sections or portions.

Due to their shape and configuration, used vehicle tyres pose problems relation to both their storage and transport. The high void space of a tyre means that they cannot be stacked and or transported in a compact manner. Tyre stockpiles can also constitute a health and safety risk due to the flammable nature of the materials used in the construction of tyres.

According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided an apparatus for processing a vehicle tyre by cutting the tyre into portions, the apparatus including a rotatable tyre support which is operable to releasably retain a tyre, a drive arrangement operable to rotate the tyre support, a first cutting arrangement operable, in use, to separate the sidewall portions of a tyre from the tread portion, and a second cutting arrangement operable to cut the tread portion of the tyre into a strip, wherein the apparatus is further provided with a lubricant dispenser which is operable, in use, to deposit lubricant onto one or both of a tyre and the first cutting arrangement to assist in the cutting of the sidewall portions from the tyre.

The present invention may be employed to cut a tyre into three portions, namely two substantially "O" shaped portions which correspond to the sidewall portions of an uncut tyre, and an elongate strip corresponding to the tread band of the uncut tyre. It will be appreciated that the cut portions can be stored or packaged in a significantly more space efficient manner than a whole uncut tyre. Lubricant may be dispensed onto the first cutting arrangement in isolation. In such an embodiment, the lubricant may be transferred to the tyre by the first cutting arrangement. Alternatively, lubricant may be dispensed directly onto the tyre at the location where the first cutting arrangement contacts the tyre. Typically this would be the side walls of the tyre. In yet another embodiment, the lubricant may be dispensed onto both the tyre and the first cutting arrangement.

The provision of the lubricant and lubricant dispenser assists in the cutting of the "O" shaped portions from the tyre, and further prolongs the life of the portion of the first cutting arrangement which separates the side wall portions from the tyre.

The lubricant dispenser may preferably dispense the lubricant in the form of a spray. The delivery of the lubricant in this form ensures an even coating of lubricant on the tyre sidewalls and/or the first cutting arrangement.

The lubricant may include water. In such an embodiment the lubricant may be substantially comprised of water and may further include additives which either prevent corrosion of the lubricant dispenser components and/or assist in the cutting operation by, for example, reducing friction between the material of the tyre and the first cutting arrangement. By reducing friction, there is a consequential reduction in the heat generated when cutting the sidewall portions from the tyre. This can increase the life of the cutting means. The lubricant may further include an anti microbial additive Alternatively, the lubricant may be solely water.

The tyre support is preferably configured so as to fit into and through the wheel aperture provided on opposing sides of a tyre, and to be fitted through the apertures from one side of the tyre on. As such, it will be appreciated that a tyre can readily be fitted to the tyre support by an operator by, for example, placing the tyre over the tyre support.

Preferably the tyre support is provided with a plurality of jaws which are moveable into and out of contact with a tyre. By providing jaws which move in this manner, the jaws can initially be set at a position where their circumferential dimensions are less that that of the wheel apertures of a tyre. This allows the straightforward positioning of an uncut tyre over the tyre support. The jaws can subsequently be moved into contact with the tyre such that it is gripped by the interface of the edge of the sidewalls defining the wheel apertures with the jaws. The jaws can subsequently be moved out of contact with the tyre to release the cut side wall portions.

Preferably the jaws are movable into and out of contact with the edges of the sidewalls of the tyre which define wheel apertures provided on opposing sides of a tyre. It will thus be appreciated that the a tyre is, in use, located to the tyre support in the planes of both wheel apertures.

The tyre support is preferably mounted to a shaft which is, in use, rotatable by the drive arrangement.

The first cutting arrangement includes a pair of opposed blades each of which are moveable between a retracted position where the blade is spaced from the sidewall of a tyre carried by the tyre support and a deployed position whereupon the blade penetrates the sidewall of a tyre carried by the tyre support. The cutting of the sidewall portions from the tyre is effected by the tyre being rotated relative to the blades, the blades having been moved to the deployed position where they penetrate the tyre through the sidewall.

The blades are preferably pivotable between the retracted and deployed positions. The blades may be pivotable between the retracted and deployed positions by a common actuator. Such an actuator may be a linearly extensible actuator having an axis of movement which is substantially perpendicular to the pivot axes of the blades. The blades are removable and thus can be replaced when worn, or removed for sharpening followed by refitting.

Each blade is preferably provided with a shroud, the blade extending from the shroud in the deployed position and being received in shroud in the retracted position. The shroud ensures that each blade is protected from contact when in the retracted position. The blade is thus prevented from contact with a tyre as it is positioned onto the tyre support, or cut tyre portions are subsequently removed from the support. Also, the blades cannot be contacted by an operator when undertaking the aforementioned operations. In a preferred embodiment the shroud includes a slot, the blade extending through the slot when in the deployed position. The shroud preferably includes a nozzle of the lubricant dispenser. The nozzle may advantageously be located on the shroud next to the slot. The nozzle may be located within the shroud such that lubricant can be dispensed onto a blade. Alternatively, the nozzle may be located to the exterior of the shroud and directed towards the tyre. As such, it will be appreciated that the position on the tyre to where the lubricant is directed is very close to the position at which a blade penetrates the sidewall. In yet a further alternative embodiment the nozzle may be located to the exterior of the shroud and directed both towards the tyre and the blade. It will this be appreciated that the nozzle may be employed to direct lubricant onto both the tyre and the blade.

The blades are preferably pivotable towards and away from one another. The blades may thus move in a pincer like fashion between the deployed and retracted positions. The blades can also accommodate tyres with a variety of widths.

The blades are preferably provided on a platform which is movable towards and away from the tyre support. As such, the platform can be moved to a location away from the tyre support so as not to impede the fitting of a tyre to the tyre support or the subsequent removal of cut tyre portions. The platform further enables the apparatus to accommodate tyres of differing diameters. The platform is preferably movable in a direction which is substantially perpendicular to the axis of rotation of the tyre support.

The platform may further include a lubricant collection portion which functions to collect excess lubricant dispensed from the lubricant dispenser. Any excess lubricant collected by such a portion can be recirculated by the lubricant dispenser. For example, the collection portion may be by a tray-like portion of the platform, a depression formed in the platform, or any such similar arrangement. The platform may be provided with a peripheral wall which enables it to collect excess lubricant. The lubricant dispenser is preferably operable to deposit lubricant onto a tyre in the vicinity of the blades.

The second cutting arrangement includes a cutter which is mounted for movement in a direction which is substantially parallel to the axis of rotation of the tyre support. In one embodiment, the second cutting arrangement includes a cutter which is mounted for movement in a direction which is substantially perpendicular to the axis of rotation of the tyre support. The second cutting arrangement may preferably be provided on the apparatus at a separate location to the first cutting arrangement such that the second cutting arrangement is operable both independently of and simultaneous to the first cutting arrangement. It will thus be appreciated that the sidewall portions can be cut from one tyre, while the tread band of a previously cut tyre can be cut into a strip at the same time. The apparatus may include an enclosure having a door, the door being openable so as to permit access to the interior of the enclosure, wherein the rotatable tyre support and first cutting arrangement are provided within the enclosure, and the second cutting arrangement is provided to the exterior of the enclosure. Preferably the door is provided with an interlock system which prevents operation of the drive arrangement and first cutting arrangement if the door is open.

The cutter of the second cutting arrangement may preferably be a circular saw which is mounted on a slide. The second cutting arrangement may further includes a tread band support arrangement having a slot through which the saw blade passes, in use.

According to a further aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of processing a vehicle tyre by cutting the tyre into portions, the method comprising the steps of:

cutting a sidewall portion from a first side of a tyre;

cutting a sidewall portion from a second side of a tyre; and

cutting the tread portion of the tyre to form a strip, wherein the method further includes the step of dispensing a lubricant onto the side wall portions of the tyre during cutting thereof.

The step of cutting a sidewall portion from the tyre comprises the steps of:

inserting a blade through the sidewall of the tyre; and

rotating the tyre relative to the blade.

Preferably the side wall portions are cut from the tyre simultaneously. In an alternative embodiment, the order of the cutting operations may be reversed such that a cut is made through the tread portion before the sidewall portions are cut from the tyre.

According to yet a further aspect of the present invention there is provided the use of an apparatus as previously described to cut a tyre into portions

Embodiments of the present invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings in which; Figure 1 shows a perspective view of an apparatus according to a first embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 2 shows an end view of the apparatus;

Figure 3 shows a longitudinal cross-sectional view of the apparatus;

Figure 4 shows a plan view of a cutting platform of the apparatus

Figure 5 shows a side view of the cutting platform;

Figure 6 shows a schematic representation of a vehicle tyre;

Figure 7 shows a schematic representation of a vehicle tyre from which the sidewalls have been separated;

Figure 8 shows an end view of an apparatus according to a further embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 9 shows a side view of the apparatus of figure 8;

Figure 10 shows a perspective view of the apparatus of figure 8 with the doors in an open position; Figure 1 1 shows an end view of the apparatus of figure 8 with the doors in an open position;

Figure 12 shows a top plan view of the apparatus of figure 8 with the doors in an open position;

Figure 13 shows a perspective view of a tyre mounting arrangement;

Figure 14 shows an end view of the tyre mounting arrangement of figure 13; and

Figure 15 shows a cross-sectional view of the tyre mounting arrangement as indicated by line A-A of figure 14.

Referring firstly to figures 1 to 3 there is shown an apparatus, generally designated 10, which is operable to cut a vehicle tyre into sections The apparatus 10 includes a base 12 which rotatably supports a shaft 14, a drive arrangement 16, a tyre mounting arrangement 18, a cutting platform 20 and a circular saw 22. The base 12, shaft 14, drive arrangement 16, tyre mounting arrangement 18 and cutting platform 20 are positioned within a frame 24. In use, the frame 24 is at least partially clad with metal sheet or mesh (not shown) so as to limit access to the interior of the frame 24 and to form a casing which surrounds the base 12, shaft 14, drive arrangement 16, tyre mounting arrangement 18 and cutting platform 20. The cladding of the frame 24 is further provided with doors (not shown) to allow access to the tyre mounting arrangement 18. The circular saw 22 is provided partially to the exterior of the casing and is mounted in an upper region of the frame 24. As will be described in greater detail below the circular saw 22 is operable from the exterior of the casing. The base 12 supports the shaft 14 via a pair of bearings 26 mounted to a top surface 28 of the base 12. The shaft 14 is provided at a first end 30 with a flange 32 to facilitate connection of the tyre mounting arrangement 18 thereto. The opposite end 34 of the shaft 14 extends into the drive arrangement 16 whereupon it is connected to a drive motor 36. In the embodiment shown, the drive motor 36 is mounted to a side surface 38 of the base 12 such that the axis of the drive shaft of the drive motor 36 is substantially parallel to the longitudinal centreline axis of the shaft 14. The tyre mounting arrangement 18 includes a shaft portion 40 which extends from a flange 42. The flange 42 of the tyre mounting arrangement 1 8 is connected to the shaft flange 32 such that the shaft portion 40 is coaxial with the shaft 14. The tyre mounting arrangement 18 is further provided with a substantially circular backing plate 43. The backing plate 43 is provided with four equidistantly spaced radially extending slots 44. Slidably mounted in each slot 44 is a jaw 46 which has a tyre engaging surface 48. Each jaw 46 is connected to a sleeve member 50 which is slidably mounted to the shaft portion 40. Each jaw 46 is connected to the sleeve member 50 by a link member 52. The link member 52 is pivotably connected at each end to the jaw 46 and the sleeve member 50.

The tyre mounting arrangement 18 is further provided with a return spring 54 which is provided concentrically around the shaft portion 40 between the backing plate 42 and the sleeve member 50. The tyre mounting arrangement 18 is further provided with an actuation handle 56 which is in the form of a wheel. The actuation handle 56 includes an internally threaded hub portion 58 which engages a complimentarily threaded section 60 of the shaft portion 40. Taking the example of a right handed thread, it will be understood that clockwise rotation of the actuation handle 56 results in movement of the actuation handle 56 and sleeve member 50 towards the backing plate 42. The jaws 46 are moved radially outwardly with respect to the shaft portion 40, and the return spring 54 is compressed. Counter clockwise rotation of the actuation handle 56 results in movement of the actuation handle 56 and sleeve member 50 away from the backing plate 42, and movement of the jaws 46 radially inwardly with respect to the shaft portion 40. In an alternative embodiment, not shown, movement of the jaws 46 may be automated by the use of appropriate actuators to move the jaws 46 towards and away from the shaft portion 40.

Referring now to figures 4 and 5, the cutting platform 20 includes a substantially rectangular base 62 At each corner of the base 62 there is provided a sleeve 64 which is aligned with a through aperture 66 of the base 62. Within each sleeve 64 there is received an upright member 68. The cutting platform 20 is further provided with an extensible actuator 70 which is connected to the underside 71 of the base 62 and is operable to raise and lower the base 62 as indicated by arrow 72. It will be understood that in being raised or lowered the base 62 is guided on the upright members 68 by the sleeves 64. The cutting platform 20 is further provided with a pair of cutting blades 74 which oppose one another. Each cutting blade 74 is connected to a blade carrier 76 which is pivotably mounted to the upper side 75 of the base 62. Both blade carriers 76 are connected to a common extensible actuator 78 which is mounted to the underside 71 of the base 62. Each blade carrier 76 is connected to the extensible actuator 78 via drop link 80 and a connector member 82. The drop link 80 extends from the end of the blade carrier 76 which is distal to the cutting blade 74 through a curved slot 84 of the base 62 to the connector member 82. The connector member 82 is in turn connected to the extensible actuator 78. Extension and retraction of the extensible actuator 78 results in synchronised movement of the cutting blades 74 towards and away from one another as indicated by arrows 86.

Both of the extensible actuators 70, 78 are preferably pneumatically operated and thus are able to utilise the compressed air supply that is available at a tyre fitting facility. The cutting platform 20 is further provided with a height sensor arrangement which, in use, cooperates with the base extensible actuator 70 to ensure that the cutting platform 20 is elevated to a desired position relative to a tyre which, in use, is carried by the tyre mounting arrangement 18. For example, the height sensor arrangement may position the base 62 a set distance from the tread portion of the tyre. The cutting blades 74 and blade carriers 76 are provided within shrouds 88. Each shroud 88 is provided with a slot 90 through which the cutting blades 74 are pivotable.

Within each shroud 88 there is further provided a water spray nozzle 73 which is connected to a water supply. The water spray nozzles 73 are operable to wet the blades 74 and thereby assist the tyre cutting operation undertaken by the blades 74. The nozzles 73 may dispense the water in the form of a spray of droplets. The blades 74, in use, are operable to separate the sidewalls of a tyre from the tread portion of a tyre as will be described in greater detail below.

The water spray nozzles 73 are connected to a reservoir 77 and a means to deliver fluid from the reservoir to the nozzles 73, such as a pump 79 through an appropriately configured piping network 81 . The nozzles 73, reservoir 77, pump 79 and piping network 81 combine to form a lubricant dispenser of the apparatus 10. There may further be provided an arrangement to capture excess dispensed water and return it to the reservoir 77 for reuse. In an alternative embodiment, the water spray nozzles 73 may be external to the shroud such that they direct water in the form of a spray of droplets onto the tyre, onto both the tyre and the blades 74. Figure 1 indicates the position of an external spray nozzle 73 on a shroud 88 next to a blade slot 90. The use of water assists in the cutting of the sidewall portions from the tyre by reducing friction between the blades 74 and the tyre.

As an alternative to water, the apparatus 10 may use a liquid cutting lubricant that is substantially comprised of water and includes additives. Such additives may prevent corrosion of the lubricant dispenser and/or assist in the cutting operation by, for example, reducing friction between the material of the tyre and the blades. By reducing friction, there is a consequential reduction in the heat generated when cutting the sidewall portions from the tyre. This can increase the life of the blades. The lubricant may further include an anti microbial additive.

The circular saw 22 is mounted is pivotably mounted to a slide 92 which is positioned in an upper region of the casing. The circular saw 22 is pivotable towards and away from the tyre mounting arrangement as indicated by arrow 94. The circular saw 22 is movable linearly in a direction substantially parallel to the longitudinal centreline axis of the shaft 14 as indicated by arrow 96. The circular saw 22, in use, is operable to cut the loop like tread section of a tyre into a strip as will be described in greater detail below. The pivotal and linear movement of the circular saw 22 may be effected manually by an operator positioned to the exterior of the casing. Alternatively, the pivotal and linear movement of the circular saw 22 may be effected automatically by the use of appropriate actuators.

In use, the apparatus 10 is operable to cut a vehicle tyre into three portions. Figure 6 shows a schematic representation of a vehicle tyre 98. The tyre 98 includes a central tread portion 100 which is bordered on each side by a sidewall portion 102. Each sidewall portion 102 includes an aperture 104 within which a wheel is fitted, in use.

In order to a cut the tyre 98 into the aforementioned three portions, the doors of the casing of the apparatus 10 are opened so as to allow access to the tyre mounting arrangement 18. The circular saw 22 is pivoted upwardly and away from the tyre mounting arrangement 18. The cutting platform 20 is provided in a lowered position with the cutting blades 74 retracted and within the shrouds 88. The tyre 98 is then mounted to the jaws 46 of the tyre mounting arrangement 18. The actuation handle 56 is rotated so as to move the engagement surfaces 48 of the jaws 46 into contact with the sidewall apertures 104 of the tyre 98 such that the tyre 98 is gripped by the jaws 46. It will be appreciated that in gripping the tyre 98 the jaws 46 centre the tyre 98 with respect to the longitudinal centreline axis of the shaft 14. With the tyre 98 mounted to the tyre mounting arrangement 18, the casing doors are closed so as to prevent unauthorised or accidental access to the tyre 98 during cutting thereof.

The cutting platform 20 is then elevated to a desired height such that the cutting blades 74 face the respective sidewalls 102 of the tyre at a position that is radially inward of the tread portion. The cutting blades 74 are then pivoted through the slots 90 in the shrouds 88 such that they penetrate the sidewalls 102. This can readily be seen in figure 3. The drive arrangement 16 of the apparatus 10 is then operated so as to rotate the shaft 14, the tyre mounting arrangement 18 and the tyre 98 carried thereby. Typically the shaft is rotated at 5 to 6 RPM. The spray nozzles of shrouds 88 may be operated to wet the sidewall portions 102 at the point at which each blade 74 penetrates the tyre 98 in order to lubricate the blades 74. It will be understood that one complete revolution of the tyre 98 results in the sidewall portions 102 of the tyre 98 being separated from the tread portion 100 of the tyre 98.

The tyre 98 is thus cut into three portions as illustrated in figure 7. The tyre 98 is cut into two annular sidewall portions 102 and a loop-like tread band portion 100. Prior to the cut tyre portions 100, 102 being demounted from the tyre mounting arrangement 18 and removed from the apparatus 10, the circular saw 22 may be operated to cut the loop like tread band 100 into a strip. The circular saw 22 can be activated and then pivoted downwardly such that the blade thereof contacts and thus cuts into the tread band 100 of the tyre 98. The weight of the saw 22 ensures that the blade remains in contact with the tread band 100 for the duration of the cut. In order to fully cut through the tread band 100 the saw 22 is moved on the slide 92 in the direction of the drive arrangement 16.

In the above described operations, the sidewall portions 102 are cut from the tyre 98 before the tread band 100 is cut into a strip. It will be appreciated that in certain circumstances the order of these operations may be reversed. The initial cutting of the tread band 100 reduces the hoop strength and thus the rigidity of the tyre 98. As such, this may adversely affect the cutting of the side wall portions 102 in tyres in some instances. The cutting order may thus be selected for a given tyre by an operator of the apparatus 10. Upon completion of the cutting operations the cutting platform 20 is lowered and the cutting blades 74 retracted into the shrouds 88. The circular saw 22 is deactivated and pivoted upwardly and away from the tyre mounting arrangement 18. The doors of the casing can then be opened and the tyre portions 100, 102 removed. The tyre portions 100, 102 can be stored in a more space efficient manner than a whole tyre 98. Multiple sidewall portions 102 can be stacked on top of one another. The tread band 100 can be flattened and multiple such flattened portions stacked one on top of another. This has advantages for the storage and transport of the portions 100, 102 as use of the available space can be optimised.

Figures 8 to 12 show an alternative embodiment of an apparatus which is operable to cut a vehicle tyre into sections and which is generally designated 120. Features common to the apparatus 10 described with reference to figures 1 to 5 are identified with like reference numerals.

The apparatus 120 of figures 8 to 1 2 differs in that it is provided with a pair of doors 122, 124 which are openable so as to permit access to the tyre mounting arrangement 18. Windows 126 are provided in each door 122, 124 to allow the tyre mounting arrangement 1 8 to be viewed when the doors 122, 124 are closed. The doors 122,124 are provided with an interlock mechanism which prevents the tyre mounting arrangement 1 8 from being rotated, or the cutting platform 20 operated, when one or both doors 122, 124 are not closed. The interlock mechanism may, for example, include switches which are operated only when the doors 122, 124 are fully closed. The apparatus 120 is further provided with an operating button 128 mounted on an arm 130 extending from the frame 24 of the apparatus 120. The operating button 128 may be depressed after closure of the doors 122, 124 to rotate the tyre mounting arrangement 18 and operate the cutting platform 20.

The apparatus 120 further differs in that the circular saw 22 is mounted separately to the tyre mounting arrangement 18. In the embodiment shown, the circular saw 22 is to one side of the apparatus 120 and external to the area which is enclosed by the doors 122,124. In the embodiment shown, the slide 92 of the circular saw 22 is arranged such that the saw can be moved in a direction that is substantially perpendicular to the axis of rotation of the tyre mounting arrangement 18. By locating the circular saw 22 separately to the tyre mounting arrangement 18, it will be appreciated that both may be used simultaneously. The circular saw 22 is further provided with a tread band support arrangement, generally designated 132. The support arrangement 132 includes a base 134 and a cover 136. Both the base 134 and cover 136 are provided with aligned slots 138, 140 which are in turn aligned with the blade of the circular saw 22. The cover 136 is positioned over the base 134 so as to define a gap 142 therebetween. In use, the tread band 100 is fitted into the gap 142 between the base 134 and cover 136 as shown in the figures and the circular saw 22 operated as described above to cut the tread band 100 into a strip.

The platform 20 is further provided with a peripheral wall 21. The platform 20 is thus configured to act additionally as a shallow container which is able to collect excess lubricant.

Figures 13 to 15 show an alternative embodiment of the tyre mounting arrangement generally designated 144. The arrangement 144 differs in that the sleeve member 50 is mounted to and carried by the hub portion 58 of the actuation handle 56. This eliminates the need for a return spring to be mounted coaxiaily with respect to the shaft portion 40 as anticlockwise rotation of the actuation handle 56 moves the hub portion 58 and thereby moves the jaws 46 radially inwards.