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Tyre maintenance result in longer life

First publishedin Aggregates Business Europe
2010 July August
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Tyre with chains
Correct selection of chains and maintaining good pressures can double tyre service life

Maintaining tyres is an essential part of minimising operating costs as well as improving machine service life

The importance of tyre maintenance to maximise service life was put under the spotlight a few years ago with the global shortage of Earthmover Tyres. Now with more production and the economic slowdown, the shortage may be over but the need to reduce costs remains.

"Maintaining the correct inflation pressure for a working earthmover tyre is the single most important means of maximising tyre life," explained TMS director Mandy Bramley. "Earthmovers themselves are a high cost asset and the tyres are also costly at around £3000 per unit so protecting the investment is important." TMS manufactures a remote pressure monitoring system that used to only be available on new machines and fitted by the OEMs, but last year UK-based Earthmover Tyres director Darren Stone approached the company to deliver a retrofit system for his customer. This lead TMS to launch an incab display system of its own that has opened up the UK and global market to work with tyre sales companies who offer the internal fitting of the system on site.

The system has just been proven to be effective even when tyre chains are fitted. This finding is the result of an independent study by a mining customer of Chilean tyre distributor Bailac. TMS has worked with Bailac - which supplied 70% of the tyres in Chile - since 2006 and the system has been under test with chained tyres for two years.

"Loader front tyres have been chained to reduce damage to the tyres, the environment means that valve mounted pressure sensors are exposed and risk damage," said Bramley. "Until these tests it had been thought that the chains would act in a similar way to a Faraday cage and prevent the sensor from transmitting the readings to the operator interface inside the cab. The tests prove that TMS can now be used with chained tyres.

"There is so much awareness of the need for pressure monitoring that people are receptive to transfer of the technology from their cars to earthmovers. There are savings potential with cars but the savings for OTR are much more significant in terms of improved wear life, reduced fuel costs and better productivity," she said.

 Chain selection Tyre protection chains are a popular method for minimising damage to tyres but selecting the right ones for the application is important to get the maximum benefit. According to chain specialist RUD, it is no longer a consideration whether or not to fit tyre chains, but more one of which brand to select and what type. "Advances in metallurgy have made them lighter, stronger and more durable, so chains are no longer just an add-on," explained the company.

The company said that there are around 10 manufacturers worldwide with new competitors from Asia challenging established names in the sector, such as RUD and Pewag.

"Quartz, silica, dolomite, basalt, iron ore and diamondiferous deposits can all cause higher levels of tyre abrasion," said RUD. "Abrasion resistant chains can help overcome this issue but the density of the mesh required will depend on the exact nature of the work site. The mesh should be self-cleaning and the links specially hardened to resist wear at the points where they interact with the connecting rings." In shales or slate operations, RUD has said that close meshed chain are ideal, while sites where poor traction on haul roads is an issue should consider a more open ring link chain system. Studded links are also available for site where further grip is required.

According to RUD, use of tyre protection chains can double the service life of tyres and also helps to reduce costs by making it possible to use part worn tyres.

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