Engineering & Mining Journal

AUG 2018

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TIRES AUGUST 2018 • E&MJ 43 www.e-mj.com BKT first launched Earthmax tires for loaders in 2018, currently has a range of 25 all-steel radial OTR tires and plans to add even more, all produced at its Bhuj plant in India. Dilip Vaidya, BKT's presi- dent and director of technology, said 51- in. tires will be released to the market in the second quarter of 2019, and 57 in. following in the second quarter of 2020. BKT has entered into a joint research agreement with Kultevat Inc., a U.S. bio- technology company that specializes in the cultivation of a specific variety of dandeli- on plants (referred to as TKS dandelion) as a renewable and sustainable industrial alternative to natural rubber. "We will de- velop new compounding methods to be in- tegrated in the tire manufacturing process, and TKS rubber will gradually replace the use of natural rubber," Vaidya said. BKT also is focusing on the use of nanomaterials or nanocomposites, which can provide enhanced performance, ac- cording to Vaidya. In this area, they have studied the use of graphene, which is wear and puncture resistant. In addition to those technologies, BKT has set up its own carbon black manu- facturing plant at the Bhuj plant site and will begin production in the first quarter of 2019. As a carbon black manufacturer, BKT will be able to produce customized carbon black in non-ASTM grades that are unavailable in the market, Vaidya explained. Talking Tech Despite their high-strength components and robust design features, keeping the giant OTR tires found on haulage and loading vehicles healthy and long-lived generally requires frequent inspection, proper maintenance and accurate record- keeping, a recipe made to order for tech- nological assistance in eliminating human error and conserving workforce resources. It's also an area with a rapidly expand- ing vocabulary; joining the standard con- versational topics of load capacity, dura- bility, puncture/cut protection and rolling resistance are newer concepts such as "holistic solutions," "predictive analytics" and "embedded technologies." Tech-savvy mine operators are becoming increasingly interested in making better use of the mas- sive amounts of operational and historical data collected from their production fleets, and major OTR tire manufacturers are of- fering new solutions to meet customer expectations. On a broader scale, end us- ers seem to be moving away from a trans- Rolling With Retreads Kal Tire's Mining Tire Group is following an ambitious set of ini- tiatives related to regional OTR tire repair and retreading, reports Oscar Martinez, E&MJ's Latin American editor. The company's efforts are directed at helping its mine-operator customers hold tire-related costs to a minimum, while achieving higher avail- ability. With cutting-edge tire retreading plants located in prime Latin American mining locations, such as Chile and Mexico, Kal Tire said it can bring significant benefits to local miners in terms of extended tire life and higher productivity. E&MJ visited Kal Tire's site offices at La Negra, an industrial complex in Antofagasta, Chile, to interview Mining Tire Group Senior Vice President Dan Allan. "We have been in Chile for at least 20 years, so we've had a long time to invest here and to understand the market and feel if there's a future for us. What you've got in Chile is a unique package of world-class mining companies and world-class ore deposits, so we felt that would be a testament for Kal Tire to succeed here," Allan said. The company's service portfolio available to its Latin America customers includes its Tire and Operations Management System (TOMS), a proprietary tire-tracking system introduced in 2016 that records tire status and historical data and measures perfor- mance of tire management teams. Information entered into the system allows these teams to conduct advance planning while keeping mine operators informed of possible tire-related needs. Haul trucks requiring tire service, for example, can be scheduled for shop time with minimal impact on production. Kal Tire also offers tire pressure data monitoring through its TPMS system, which updates every 30 seconds, with different configurations including the option to use Wi-Fi, cellular or radio network communications. The company's La Negra plant was built in 2015 and was the first retreading facility to service mines in the region. The plant is now at full capacity, and Kal Tire is currently building an even larg- er plant in Mexico. Each new plant includes the latest technology and as improvements are found, they roll those into existing facil- ities, said Carlos Zúñiga, general manager, Kal Tire Antofagasta. "Retreading a tire is nothing new. What makes it interest- ing is the size of the tires and expected quality performance in terms of tire life and safety," Zuñiga said. As an example, he noted that a set of 57-in. tires were retreaded at the plant in November 2017 for a fleet of loaders and are still in service today. Overall, Kal Tire expects it can reduce tire costs for wheel loaders by 10-20% through the use of high-quality retreads. The retreading process, according to the company, does not affect the tire casing. The tire keeps the same characteristics in term of load capacity and air pressure. Retread customers receive a guarantee similar to those accompanying new tires. In line with Chilean regulations based on the global Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) environmental strategy, Kal Tire also is installing a world-class tire recycling facility adjacent to the La Negra retreading plant, and it is expected to be fully op- erational by the end of 2018. Retreading a 57-in.-diamater loader tire at Kal Tire's La Negra plant in Antofagasta, Chile.

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