Coal Age

JUN 2017

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20 June 2017 mining tires New OTR Tires to Run Cooler, Longer as Suppliers Watch From Afar Tire manufacturers now offer technologies that allow them to track tire performance in real time, allowing them to double as consultants by jesse morton, technical writer For better or worse, Industry 4.0 has un- leashed a race among the companies that service the mining sector to innovate based on real-time data and with a view of the au- tonomous mines of tomorrow. In the tire space, that means increased focus on field results for products, now captured by em- bedded sensors and streamed by satellite to support teams and business coordinators. Live data mandates prompt responses, both in the field and on the drawing board. Manufacturers say there are numerous advantages to be gained from the instant notifications and burgeoning databases. They also say it is challenging to keep up with the pace of change it mandates. "With technology and the way the equipment keeps changing, and trying to keep up with everything, you almost have to keep adding to your tire line," said Gary Pompo, manag- er, field technical services, BKT. The latest tire releases promise to in- crease the life of the tire by reducing heat and improving its resilience. Suppliers back these promises with live data from test sites and the field. That ability has en- abled them to also offer data management solutions. And that data can tell a miner more than just the air pressure of an exact tire at any given second. A few examples of such products and solutions follow. New Compounds and Red Zones Earlier this year, Balkrishna Industries Ltd. (BKT) introduced a new off-the-road (OTR) mining tire. It is one of three new tires the company has debuted within a year or so. Each is for a specific application. What they all share is improved features over prede- cessor technologies, the BKT warranty and potential use in surface coal mines. The 23.5R25 BKT SR 31, E-3/L-3, steel radial OTR tire, was designed for long haul, articulated dump trucks and wheel load- ers. It represents an update to existing technology in response to customer de- mands. "They were asking for a tire with a little bit different tread compound, a little bit more lug solidarity, to give them a bet- ter ride and a better life," Pompo said. He described it as a "good quality" tire. BKT described it as featuring a supe- rior cut-resistant tread compound for in- creased chip and chunk resistance. That tread is described as a "unique design for reduced vibration and excellent riding comfort," the company reported. The com- pounding "results in cooler running for ex- ceptional performance and reliability." Proprietary compounds and lug de- sign enable the tire to "run cooler, and still be able to handle whatever they are run- ning over," Pompo said. The SR 31 "is a multipurpose tire," Pompo said. However, it is designed for ar- ticulating dump trucks, the use of which is on the rise, he said. Field testing for the tire is reportedly going well. "We're seeing tires fitted in dif- ferent areas," Pompo said. The tire is too new to categorically declare its expected overall life, he said. "I'm estimating the tires to do 6,000 hours." The 27.00R49 SR 46 is a high-per- formance steel radial OTR tire designed for rigid haul trucks. The company de- scribes it as a response to "severe rocky, abrasive and harsh mining environ- ments." The tire features a square shoul- der design that "pushes loose stones aside to protect the sidewall," BKT stated. All- steel casing and belts provide "protection against shock, fatigue and flats," the litera- ture stated. The "lug blocks and circumfer- ential groove maximize cornering ability with minimal tread face damage." In the field, the tire "is doing a very impressive job," Pompo said. "The tire is performing very well in rock conditions." Currently, the tire is being tested at gold mines, gypsum and stone quarries. "The tires look extremely well and show very little signs of wear," Pompo said. The data-driven estimate puts the projected life at around 7,500 to 8,500 hours. "For open-pit coal 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 fea- turing an "optimal lug angle and directional pattern that provides excellent traction and minimizes spinning." The literature states the "square tread shoulder design ejects loose stones to protect the sidewall and tread shoulder area." The tread design is self-clean- ing, protecting the "tire from stone retention and drilling," 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 estimat- ed life of the SR 49 L-4 around 6,500 to 7,300 hours, Pompo said. Operators credit the tire with improving machine stability, 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." Above, BKT's SR 46 in the field. The company reports, 'The feedback has been very good.'

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