The Société de transport de Montréal– known by locals as the STM – is the public transport agency serving the major Canadian city of Montreal. The agency records roughly one million boardings per average weekday on its many bus, subway and commuter train lines.

A need to work faster & not so hard

The STM contacted Motrec in late 2019 with a serious productivity problem with the replacement of its subway train tires. It had hundreds of cars, each with 8 tires that needed regular replacement. The problem? It was all being done manually.

The travel space between the warehouse, where new tires are stored, and the maintenance station, where trains have their tires replaced, was too narrow to fit a regular maintenance vehicle. The technician had to walk the tires back and forth on foot – one tire at a time. He’d hoist a worn tire onto a hand truck and haul it to warehouse. He’d then pick up a new tire and repeat the trip back. The total distance he had to walk to replace just one tire? Nearly 7 miles!


A little automation goes a long way

A little automation goes a long way

All this hauling one tire at a time on foot took forever. The uneven floor surface made handling a loaded-down hand truck downright challenging and exhausting.

The STM wanted to automate this task to make the technician’s day more productive and less grueling. Motrec’s engineers went on-site to study the work environment and the client’s needs. They came back with a door-frame narrow tow tractor custom-fitted with two tire storage compartments in the rear. The technician now easily drives new and worn tires – two at a time – to and from the train. No more lifting large, heavy tires all day; he simply rolls them on and off the storage compartments. With a simple press of a button, the compartments lower to the floor and raise with plenty of clearance over the uneven driving surface.