Making Mines Safer and More Productive
Striving for the highest levels of productivity, harsh mining environments place demands on truck tires-in addition these conditions put even the best quality tyres to the test- hence a number of new technologies have been developed in order to allow mine operators to get optimum tire performance, and these include Bridgestone’s B-tag (Bridgestone Intelligent Tag), Michelin Earthmover Management Systems (MEMS), Valo System, RIMEX’s TyreSense MagMount sensor, Translogik’s iTrack Off-the-Road (OTR) Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, Kal Tire Monitoring Group’s True Tire Technology (TTT), as well as the Vehicle tyre protection chains.
Tyres can be damaged as a result of underinflating, overinflating, overloading, excessive speed, harsh braking and severe impacts, therefore tyre monitoring systems will make mines safer and more productive while reducing operational costs.
Despite the fact that tyres are very expensive commodities, they can also be extremely dangerous if not monitored correctly, there have been many documented instances of deaths caused by an exploding tyre, one of the causes of this is a chemical reaction called Pyrolysis thought to happen when a vehicle has been struck by lightning or high voltage surge, this in turn may cause a fire to ignite inside the tyre chamber and ultimately lead to the tyre exploding and resulting in severe injury or fatality, explains Laren Yeomans, CEO for Translogik.
Tyre Protection Chains for mine vehicles
The typical operating conditions in most mines put even the best quality tyres to the test- the combination of factors such as hard, sharp and jagged rock, wet floor conditions, poor visibility and constant pressure on production resources can lead to less satisfactory tyre service life. Hence tyre protection and maintenance is a key aspect in regards to operating extremely expensive mine equipment.
Tyre protection chains that are geared towards increasing traction and protection are paramount to the exercise of reducing tyre wear that might result increased down-time.
A tyre protection chain is a close mesh of high-alloy, hardened steel chains. It protects the tread and sidewalls of the tyres. The flexible design of the chains let them adjust to every tyre deformation. Their high level of self-cleaning prevents the tread mesh becoming filled and clogged, which contributes to achieving the best possible road-holding and traction.
Why Use a Tyre Protection Chain?
Sharp, edged rock, muddy and slippery surfaces are a great hazard to tyres – even when new. Equipment downtime and loss of productivity are the result of sudden or premature tyre failure. Tyre protection chains are the single most effective way to drastically cut tyre costs. Tyre expenditure being one of the highest operational costs is a serious concern and is easily overlooked. OTR tyre sales in RSA amounts to R4, 5bn pa. The recommended use of tyre chains will reduce tyre sales to R750m pa. The use of tyre chains have been the single biggest reason why some mines who chose to use chains, saved them from bankruptcy.
Due to this enormous impact on tyre sales, we face fierce competition from tyre suppliers. So much so that massive amounts of false information is given to clients and fear tactics is often used to persuade clients not to use tpc on full scale.
As a rule of thumb, any tyre providing less than 3000hr service life, substantially benefits from tyre chains.
The harsher the tyres conditions, the greater the benefits derived from chains. Chains can also be used on second-hand tyres which would otherwise be decommissioned. Information that tyre suppliers would never reveal to clients. The less environmental impact of chains and its recyclability versus that of tyres, in itself dictates greater implementation and use of chains. An advantage that have a carbon offset, and a far smaller carbon footprint, says Adv.Gerrit Coetzee CEO and MD of Omega Tyre Protection Chains.
The advantages of using tyre protection chains are:
- Reducing your operating costs
- Lowering your downtime 4 fold
- Substantially Increasing your productivity by >25%
- Greatly increases safety
- Quarturise tyre expenditure
Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems
iTrack Off-the-Road (OTR) Tyre Pressure Monitoring System
Translogik is a totally independent company providing a truly unbiased data regardless of tyre make. The company can work with any tyre manufacturer as it provides tyre management solutions- such as tire inspection, tire temperature and pressure monitoring using its OTR iTrack tyre monitoring system.
iTrack OTR tyre pressure monitoring system was developed by Translogik specifically for the mining industry, as compared to the other systems that were initially developed for commercial vehicles, and then later retrofitted and adjusted to suit the needs for the mining industry, explains Allister Thurman, Regional Manager for Translogik.
Monitoring tire pressure and temperature is very critical especially in mine operations, since the haul trucks run for extended periods of time and manual measurement often results in extended downtime. Most of these latest technologies do monitor tire pressure and temperature, however the iTrack OTRtyre pressure monitoring system adds a different dimension from the rest, by providing fast, accurate, reliable real-time data on the condition of vehicle tyres, combined with live tracking of vehicle location and status, states Yeomans.
The availability of live, real-time internet based tyre and vehicle data allows swift remedial action to be taken, which can be the difference between safe mine operation and a major incident. By ensuring the vehicle’s tyres are operating within the recommended temperature and pressure limits, iTrack brings increased levels of safety to both the vehicle drivers and the technicians that work on them. From a commercial perspective, by ensuring that tyres are correctly inflated, tyre life is extended and costly down-time from repairs and intervention is reduced, improving productivity, says Yeomans.
Features such as geo-fencing, real-time email and phone alerts via Wi-Fi or GSM and push-data services make iTrack an extremely powerful and versatile system- specifically designed to withstand the harsh and demanding environments of the mining, earth moving and construction industries.
Additional features includes geo-fencing. A geo-fencing is a predetermined area or boundary that is set for a particular vehicle fitted with iTrack. If the vehicle crosses that virtual boundary or geo-fencing area, then the tracking software can alert you. The system allows for multiple concurrent geo-fence zones to be defined to ensure that vehicles are only operating in approved areas, further increasing the safety of the mine.
Benefits entail improved driver and technician safety, reduced tyre maintenance costs, and reduced vehicle down-time, increased productivity, as well as gaining insights from a range of data reports (pdf & xls). In addition, extending tyre life by up to 25 percent as well as improving fuel efficiency by up to 8 percent, assuming that the tire pressure and temperature is correct. Savings of this magnitude provide a rapid return on investment with the iTrack system paying for itself in as little as 6 months, adds Yeomans
Additional benefits includes the ability of the iTrack to provide data both live and historical which can allow the client to identify uneven load distribution based on tyre temperatures, as well as offering a data analyst service as part of the solution, which includes reporting potential defects that may result in vehicle failure and potential workforce hazards.
Translogik systems are focused on maximising tyre life/ usage and encouraging safe working practices. We continue to listen to customer feedback which in turn will lead to continuous development programme for iTrack solution as new/ improved technologies become available, Concludes Yeomans.