Big wheels keep on turning

THE world’s biggest contract miner Thiess Pty Ltd, is turning the wheels on tyre wastage by increasing the average tyre life of their $168,000 per vehicle Off Highway Truck (OHT) tyres in the 240 tonne truck class.

Thiess executive general manager of Resource Development Paul Cassano said increasing the life of the OHT tyres was an important initiative for our mining projects. It not only addressed the global OHT shortage, but also reduced the environmental impacts caused by the production, transport and disposal of OHT tyres.

“Over the past year we have achieved an overall tyre life average of 6400 hours up from an average 5500 hours achieved three years ago. Some sites more than doubling their tyre life,” Cassano said.

“For example, on the Burton Coal Mine in Queensland tyre life reached more than 8000 hours with a number of tyres lasting more than 12,000 hours, that equates to big savings,” he said.

Some of the tyre saving measures include road crews who remove anything likely to damage tyres; erect barriers and signage in hazardous areas; installing reversing cameras on trucks to give drivers greater visibility and hazard awareness.

“By regularly meeting with plant operators and involving all groups in tyre improvement initiatives, we encourage our people to increase tyre life,” Cassano said.

Each OHT tyre has a diameter of 3.5 metres, weighs almost 4000 kilograms and unlike standard car tyres, that are made from synthetic materials, their big brothers are made from recoverable and recyclable materials.

“Their only similarity is that they are round and black,” Cassano said.

“Both are built to exacting standards of safety and quality although a large OHT radial ply tyre is far more complex with up to six steel belts whereas; car tyres normally only have one.”

OHT tyres are made from a number of various rubber compounds and operate from below zero to extreme temperatures all day, all year round.

Sarah Kulman

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