Engineering & Mining Journal

AUG 2017

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MINING TIRES AUGUST 2017 • E&MJ 41 www.e-mj.com "For open-pit miners, the tire would be an excellent tire," Pompo said. "It is a tire that could prevent punctures. It is a tire that will give traction. Plus, it is a tire that will give the stability that users are looking for." BKT also released the SR 49 L-4, an all-steel radial tire for loaders and dozers at "severe" mining operations "requiring exceptional traction." The company described the tire as featuring an "optimal lug angle and di- rectional pattern that provides excellent traction and minimizes spinning." The lit- erature stated the "square tread shoulder design ejects loose stones to protect the sidewall and tread shoulder area." The tread design is self-cleaning, protecting the "tire from stone retention and drill- ing," the company reported. The tire is designed for machines that must transit an entire site, "and not just into the pile and then to the truck," Pompo said. Data from field tests put the estimated life of the SR 49 L-4 around 6,500 hours to 7,300 hours, Pompo said. Operators credit the tire with improving machine sta- bility, he said. "The tires are not showing any chunking or any irregular wear," he said. "The cut-resistant compound that we are using seems to be working very well." Collecting data on BKT tires in the field is now automated. The company offers a sensor that can be attached to the wheel inside the tire. It transmits temperature and pressure data as part of a tire pressure management system (TPMS). That data is monitored by both the miner and BKT. "It is a magnet that locks onto the rim inside and tells us what the actual air pres- sure is and if there is any heat or problems," Pompo said. The system can send alerts and notifications from anywhere in the world at any time by live satellite, he said. "Let's say the left front tire of a triple seven is losing pressure," Pompo said. "We get a signal, the maintenance foreman will get a signal, and they can find out if it is an O-ring or if it is a valve stem or if something has actually penetrated into the tire." The TPMS has enabled the company to promptly resolve issues and improve upon existing products. "The nice part about what we can do with the tire is if we see a problem, we react very fast, and can tweak the compound or the structure to perform better," Pompo said. For example, the company partnered with an OEM to test a tire, and discovered it was causing a front-end vibration. "We found that the center lug was in such a position that we needed to tweak the lug a little bit, basically turn the angle of the lug," he said. "Within 90 days we had a tire that was completely fixed and back on the road again." Another offering, dubbed SPOTech, deploys a sensor with GoPro cameras and satellite tracking to assess a process or site. The sensor is mounted on a vehicle. It streams data, which can then be crossed with GPS data to generate a color-coded model of the run or process. For example, "a red corner is telling you that a corner is too sharp," Pompo said. A corner, a hole or a bump can cost a company money. "In one particular in- stance, we showed them that there was a bump that was costing one site about $1 million per year because of the fact that trucks were slowing down, going over the bump, and then picking back up speed," Pompo said. "It was calculated out by our people that with that bump, the time, the fuel, and everything else, it was costing the company about $1 million per year." SPOTech doesn't redesign roads, Pom- po said. It presents the information that obvates the need. "We can tell them that at this particular curve all your trucks are slowing down and G-forces are higher than what is suggested for this specific tire." The service is free. All BKT tires are backed by a five-year warranty from the date of sale. Raising the Profile with Results Tire service specialists Kal Tire is cur- rently upgrading their Tire Management System. The proprietary system enables, among other things, forecasting and stock management, tread monitoring, tire per- formance tracking and benchmarking, tire failure analysis, and wheel rim tracking. The upgrade is available now and offers real-time data analysis for reporting and decision making. It replaces predecessor technology that was the first of its kind, explained Bob Bennett, vice president of operations, Canada, Kal Tire's Mining Tire Group, said. "We created our own tire track- ing software 30 years ago," he said. "It was very much a home-grown system. There was nothing else in the industry at the time." Customer demands and the rise of In- dustry 4.0 prompted the upgrade, which is currently being rolled out at mine sites in Australia, Latin America, Canada, Great Britain, West Africa and South Africa. "Over the last 10 to 15 years, there has been a real shift toward looking at data and trying to figure out the story behind the numbers," Bennett said. "The old sys- tem gave us a historical view of damaged tires last week." "The new system will give users access to real-time information related to what is happening with your tires," he added. "This knowledge will help guide decision making at extending tire life." Tire Management System helps ensure planning is proactive and shaped by data, Bennett said. It is "not unlike large main- tenance programs where you have a large asset management database and you can put in all your data and it will help you work off a work order-based system that is all planned and forward-looking," he said. "You can also do some trending off your current data to predict when tire rotations are going to be required, which helps with planning, helps with forecasting of new tire purchases," and tracks performance. The system features a dashboard en- abling the user to "see in real time what Above, BKT's SR 46 in the field. The company reports, 'The feedback has been very good.' Adopting Kal Tire's updated Tire Management System requires training for tire techs, which the company provides. (Photo: Kal Tire)

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