Depending on where you aim to work, will determine what type of tires that you will need. There are different tires for different work verticals, you will have your earthmoving tires, that will differ from your agricultural tires that will be very different from mining tires. Some will require a much more cut and crack resistant compound and often they will need to be steel fortified as well.
Mines represent some really harsh work environments. Being in underground mines, means no sunlight, limited space and being surrounded by sharp rocks. This is not the ideal environment neither for equipment nor tires. If you are going to bring down equipment into mines, you want to make sure that you have the best possible equipment. You want to make sure that the equipment can handle the task at hand and that the tires will be up for the challenge. These tires have to be extremely durable.
There are a few key equipment used in mines and when making tunnels, they have in common that they have to be able to work in narrow spaces and need to have tires that are very precise when it comes to steering response and ability to turn even at standstill. You will mainly have some form of drill rig, an excavator, a loader and dump truck. A mine loader has a much lower height so that it can operate in the tunnels. To match these, you will need to have wheeled loader tires, wheeled excavator tires and tires for dump trucks and drill rigs. When you have mining tires for these, you know that they will be some of the most durable tires designed for long service life.
You will enjoy a long service lie if you ensure proper tire maintenance. You will need to ensure that the tire pressure is as detailed in the technical tire manual, that they tires are inspected for cuts, cracks and other visible damages. A tire specialist should clear all visible defects before work can continue and if the damage is deemed serious the tire should be changed as soon as possible to avoid breakdown while in operation. It is advisable to clean the tires daily after the shift and then do the visual inspection. Check also the tread depth so you can keep track of when you will need to change the tire as it has reached the end of its service life.
The better the quality, the longer the service life and costly unscheduled downtime can be minimized and the safety improved. You will also see positive effects on the productivity, as the tight space in the mines is not a place where you want to have a lot of problems with faulty equipment.
Computers are getting more intelligent, and with artificial intelligence, the advantages are clear of using machines versus people as drivers. The key is just to make it safe and reliable enough. With self-driving vehicles you can basically operate around the clock, to better utilize your investments. You can’t of course cut out all the people from your operations, but machines don’t get tired, they don’t need breaks and they don’t make mistakes due to fatigue or lack of concentration.
Self-driving equipment has been tried in quarries, where they see a big saving on not having to fly in personnel to remote areas, higher utilization of the equipment and much lower labor costs. Instead of having 4.5 mean per vehicle around the clock with time restrictions, you can equip it with self-driving technology. For long haul trucks this has also been tested along with self-driving cars. The technology is not far from being launched at a bigger scale. Then we will have a lot more trucks driving around the clock.
The technology will not be cheap initially, until demand gets really high, but the savings can be big from the get-go. It does require that you can make sure that the equipment will run without breakdowns and that the tires will withstand the constant wear. For the truck tires, you will need to be able to effectively monitor the tire pressure in all the haul tires on the rig and have a procedure for how the trucks can stop for fuel and for tire monitoring. With low tire pressure you will have higher tire wear due to higher rolling resistance. Also the fuel efficiency is negatively impacted. Most of the tire blowouts are due to low tire pressure, so it is a real and quite big issue. This is a reason why you now and then see tire residue on the highways. The trucks don’t notice the tire failure and continue driving.
For big heavy equipment used in mining, you will have big mining tires with extreme conditions and you can easily have tire failures if the tires don’t have continuous maintenance and check for cuts and cracks. This will be one of the challenges for the future, how to make sure that proper maintenance is done and to avoid tire failures.
Trying to find tires for your mining equipment will not be that easy and since the consequences of selecting the wrong tires can become an expensive ordeal. Mining tires need to operate in some of the toughest conditions available to tires. Mining tireswill be daily exposed to conditions that would break most tires. Sharp rocks, heavy loads and the constant bruising and cuts of the tires that is not allowed to affect the tires that need to be able to continue working with minimum downtime.
You also have a narrow space to operate, so the tires need to give you predictable steering and maneuverability, so you can imagine the scenario of having the narrow tunnels filled with equipment that are having problems. This scenario of course needs to be avoided. Any problems with the equipment or the tires will cause problems and delays, which is why this puts a lot of pressure on selecting tires that are durable enough to manage in these conditions.
Setting up sufficient scheduled maintenance process that will catch minor problems before they cause major problems. Daily inspections at the end of the shifts tend to be better than before the shifts as you have time to fix the problems if they are identified at the end of the shift Depending on the use of the tire, it will in most cases require a different tire. An excavator tire will have a different tread pattern than a mine wheel loader tire, so it is important to use the technical tire manual to ensure that each of your equipment gets the tires that are optimized for the intended use.
This is why it is important to use the technical tire manual to ensure that you select the correct mining tires for each piece of equipment so that your excavators, loaders, drill rigs and dump trucks gets the correct tires for its intended use. You will need to make sure that the ones that require grip will have that and for the tires that will need better load bearing properties will have that. The manual will also guide you in what tire pressure the tires should have and what is the maximum load, so that you can avoid having problems from using them or selecting the tires wrongly. With the correct selection you will have tires that will work effortless with minimum downtime.
When you work underground you definitely have some of the toughest conditions for tires. With the constant heavy loads and sharp rocks, causing cuts and bruises to the tires day in and out, you need to make sure that you have some of the most durable tires available. Underground is not the best place to have tire related problems due to bad tires or bad tire maintenance. This is what makes the tire selection so important as you do not want unscheduled downtime and project delays that can be very costly.
You will need mining tires that have all of these properties, such as durability, good wear resistance, great grip, heavy load bearing and self-cleaning tread. Tires for the drill rigs also need special highly cut resistance carcass to protect from freshly blasted rock. Good maneuverability is also very important as the space in tunnels and mines is limited, so you will need to maneuver and turn precisely with good control.
It is always advisable to consult the technical tire manual so that you can check regarding the load levels and the inflation pressure for the tires for each machine. It will also guide you for the best replacement tires once your tires are worn out. Since tire selection is so important to ensure the best productivity and each machine will require special tires with specific tread design, you will probably have numerous different tires for your different equipment used, as you will have special mining condition loader tires and excavator tires, that are often more durable than the tires for same equipment in other working environments.
A reliable tire that can give long trouble-free service life. It is recommended to clean the tires and check them for any cuts or cracks, so that you know that they are in good condition for the next shift. Tires tend to have good tread level indicator that makes it easy to read how much tread you have left, so that you can change in good time. With proper service routines and enough scheduled maintenance so that you can limit or avoid any downtime. Proper tire selection is of course an essential part in avoiding unscheduled downtime, if you experience above industry average downtime, consider using different tires or switch tire brand for a more durable mining tires
Heavy equipment will need special tires. There is different equipment for the various tasks that needs to be performed. If you e.g. need digging, or loading or transporting, you will need different tires as the requirements changes. Common for all these tires is that they need to be able to handle high loads, so just that makes them different than normal car tires. The size will also be considerable bigger and they will use a higher pressure. Mining tires, agriculture tires or forestry tires, they are all areas where you will need state of the art tires.
Durability is key as any downtime for these vehicles translates to a high cost. Unscheduled downtime will cause delays, might delay work for the other machines, this is where the biggest costs can come from. The machines often work in pairs, where one does one task so that the second machine can do the next task. For example, an excavator does the digging and the loader then removes the material, if the excavator tires cracks, then your loader will have to wait until the tire is repaired or changed. From a safety perspective it is always better to work with the tires in special designated areas, the tire pressure is so high that you need to be cautious and inflating tyres should be done with a protective cage.
Scheduled maintenance is where you should be able to detect issues with the equipment or the tires. Fixing or replacing tires during maintenance is a big cost saving versus any unscheduled downtime. Checking the tires through visual inspection should be carried out after each work shift. Good durable tires help to avoid downtime; tires that have special cut and crack resistance rubber compound and reinforced sidewalls will help if the equipment operates in harsh conditions. Stability will be important for excavator to prevent the equipment to start rocking; stabilizer legs should be used to add stability to it. Control to be able to maneuver though difficult terrain.
Superior grip is important so that the equipment can move freely without struggling or getting stuck. You want the equipment to be able to move quickly freely not to slow down your operations. This is regardless of what weather conditions you have or what surface you are operating on, grip, stability and durability will be of utter importance.