Through industry-leading products and solutions, Michelin has achieved first after first in the mining industry. Now, the company arrives with its next forward-thinking solution.
Truck haulage is one of the biggest productivity linchpins of a mine site, and critical materials transportation is continually optimised to ensure operational efficiency.
Tyres are inherently a critical aspect of haulage systems, and Michelin is one of the industry leaders in not just its tyre products but also its end-to-end services and solutions, offering support for miners every step of the way.
Australia is one of the biggest players on the global mining stage and produced nearly 900 million tonnes of iron ore in 2020 – more than double the next highest producer, Brazil.
The outlook for mining is very strong as economies recover from the impact of COVID-19. Growing trends like electrification translate into iron, nickel and copper demand.
According to Michelin’s Australia mining marketing manager Mark O’Riordan, Australia’s mining stature translates to the tyre sector, where manufacturers are tasked with creating bigger and better tyres for increasing payloads.
“Australia is one of the largest mining tyre markets in the world and with major miners like BHP, Rio Tinto, Glencore, Fortescue Metals Group and others, Australia makes up a very significant share of the overall mining tyre market worldwide,” he says.
Producing tyres for mining vehicles across all classes, Michelin has proven its leadership in the largest payloads, with its Extra Load products touted as preferred tyres for surface mining operations.
“In terms of technological expertise to design and build tyres for these ultra-class, large haul trucks, there are only a small number of tyre manufacturers that can produce a competitive product – especially in the big 63-inch tyres. Michelin is consistently an innovation leader in this space,” O’Riordan says.
Michelin’s XDR range spans 11 different variations, starting with the XDR E4 radial tyre through to faster, stronger and longer-lasting tyres, including its latest product innovation – the XDR 4 Extra Load, which delivers better load capacity and higher tonne kilometres per hour.
The complexities of mine operations, however, are much greater than simply outfitting the right tyres. Leading mining companies are now digging into the value of connected mines where they can harvest a wealth of data to fuel better insights, decision making and operational efficiency.
For decades, Michelin has been refining its digital capabilities to provide equally insightful data on tyres and vehicle performance.
Through its Michelin Earthmover Monitoring System (MEMS), Michelin developed the first temperature and pressure monitoring system (TPMS) for surface mining equipment.
Now in its fourth generation, MEMS is the best-selling and most proven TPMS system and data platform on the market, enabling mining companies to deliver on safety and productivity, while saving costs and increasing truck availability.
MEMS technology can perform remote pressure checks from any computer or connected device and utilise pressure and temperature alerts to prevent incidents and proactively protect site personnel.
By regularly checking tyre conditions, MEMS 4 decreases truck downtime while also assisting to optimise truck cycles, ultimately boosting machine productivity.
The introduction of MEMS in 2006 was just the beginning of Michelin’s quest to better support mining customers through a combination of innovative products, expert product support and proven services and solutions.
The secret to Michelin Mining’s success is that customers remain at the centre of every decision.
In 2017, Michelin created its Consulting & Services division, which facilitates collaboration between Michelin’s on-site tyre experts, industry personnel and the increasing volume of data available, using shared thought leadership to uncover better ways of operating that save time, money and resources.
“Our foundational belief is to put our customer’s success first. So, by using our unique combination of deep local insights, and broad, global industry expertise, we are continuously looking for ways to help our customers improve their business,” Michelin global marketing manager Casey Morris says.
It was this drive that led Michelin to introduce Michelin Better Mining in 2021, a comprehensive portfolio geared towards helping mining companies be safer, smarter and more sustainable.
“When you look across Michelin’s mining offers, Michelin Better Mining brings them under one umbrella that can be customised for our customers. It starts with our leading innovative products for surface and underground mining,” Morris says.
“Then, we layer in the unrivalled expertise of our mining support teams. Each customer has an account manager, a customer engineering specialist and a MEMS expert – all of which are backed up by our global network of data scientists and R&D specialists.
“This support team is then complemented by Michelin’s Consulting & Services group. Our custom consultation and services provide technicians, analysts and state-of-the-art measurement tools to uncover insights and unleash hidden performance potential in the mines.
“Finally, we offer one of the industry’s largest portfolios of tyre-related solutions, including our industry-leading TPMS, MEMS 4.”
Customer-focussed and fuelled, Michelin Better Mining puts mining companies in the driver’s seat, tailoring its solutions to meet a mine’s unique needs and conditions.
“Michelin Better Mining is not about us, it’s about the customer – what are their goals and ambitions and how can we help them achieve those objectives,” Morris says.
“By using our entire portfolio to provide the right mix of products, support, services and solutions, we believe that we can help them increase productivity, reduce cost, improve safety and minimise their environmental footprint – providing every product and solution needed to help them be better.”
O’Riordan says Michelin Better Mining is the culmination of more than a century of experience and expansion.
“When we talk about innovative mining practices and designing new creative tyres and solutions, our passion comes from our company’s history rooted in innovation,” O’Riordan says.
“We believe better mining is possible, because we have seen Michelin advance mobility since its beginnings in 1889. Michelin Better Mining builds upon that history and is grounded in that heritage.”
Michelin Better Mining is more than just tyres; it’s a cohesive encapsulation of what the company offers to the mining industry – customer-led end-to-end solutions that champion collaboration and shared expertise with, around and beyond tyres.
This article appeared in the December issue of Australian Mining.