LOUISVILLE-The International Tire and Rubber Association plans a September launch for its new monthly publication directed at field service technicians: the ITRA Commercial Tire Service Update. The new publication, initially being mailed to 13,000 commercial tire service workers industrywide, actually is the first step toward an ITRA-sponsored training and certification program for commercial tire dealership personnel, according to Kevin Rohlwing, the association's commercial tire service director, who's in charge of administering much of the program.
Mr. Rohlwing said the ITRA also is preparing a commercial tire service manual, which will serve as the nucleus for a series of regional one-day seminars and other training activities aimed at certifying and recertifying commercial tire service personnel.
The three-pronged effort is the brainchild of the ITRA's Commerical Tire Services Committee, chaired by Tom Raben of Raben Tire Co. in Evansville, Ind.
The regional training seminars, whose schedule has not yet been announced, likely will be repeated on successive days at each location. That way, tire dealerships and other employers can stagger the days on which employees attend the seminar and will not have to shut down their service departments to allow them to do so.
Meanwhile, the association also plans to offer ``train-the-trainer'' sessions at its Louisville headquarters and training center. There, those selected to represent their company will be prepared and equipped to train fellow workers back home after completing the ITRA-sponsored course.
The concept would permit employers to provide on-premises training for tire service workers whenever work schedules permit. Although such training would be carried out by company-employed trainers using ITRA manuals, video cassettes and other materials provided, the certification and recertification of the trainees would be done by the association's staff.
Mr. Rohlwing said the ITRA hopes to package a ``complete instructional manual covering every aspect of tire service'' in a user-friendly format that service workers will be able to carry with them into the field for ready reference purposes.
The manual and training programs will be made available to the tire service industry at large, but ITRA members will be able to purchase them at a reduced cost, he said.
Mr. Rohlwing said the ITRA hopes to have the manual and training sessions ready in time for the normally slow sales period that most northern U.S. dealerships traditionally experience in January, February and March.
The training manual will include Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines, industry-accepted procedures for tire service and repair, tire load and inflation tables, and other material that can be continually updated due to the book's loose-leaf binding.
The first issue of the ITRA Commercial Tire Service Update, which the ITRA plans to debut at the Atlanta convention of the National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association, Sept. 5-7, will focus on so-called ``zipper ruptures'' in steel-reinforced radials, according to Mr. Rohlwing.
He said the fact that people still are being killed by the explosive force of such sidewall failures demonstrates the need for getting word out to them concerning what zipper ruptures are, how to detect potential zipper ruptures and how best to avoid injury resulting from such explosions.
The first three monthly issues of the Commercial Tire Update will be distributed free. Thereafter, non-ITRA members will be asked to pay to subscribe, though association members will continue to receive the publication free of charge, Mr. Rohlwing said.