LSM Technologies’ tyre monitoring system (TMS) is allowing mining companies to monitor the condition of their machinery’s tyres for more strategic maintenance, delivering capital savings and safer use of vehicles.
As far back as 2006, the ISO 21760 Road Vehicles Safety Enhancement – TMS recommended TMS as ‘safety enhancing technology.’
In 2014, a Queensland coroner recommended that the mining industry adopt wireless tyre monitoring sensing equipment after the death of a miner in 2010 due to a tyre explosion.
Specific recommendations in the coroner’s report were that the industry investigate and implement remote or wireless tyre pressure sensing equipment within two years to allow operators to monitor tyre pressures from within the truck cabin.
Tyre monitoring has once again sparked conversation within the mining industry in 2021 after the Queensland Mines Inspectorate (QMI) was called to a tyre explosion at a coal mine in December last year.
A position five tyre on a mining truck located in the parking zone was struck by lightning during a thunderstorm and exploded, injuring two workers.
The explosion also caused damage to equipment as tyre fragments shuttered crib hut windows, air conditioners, lights and water tanks. In response, QMI urged mining companies to review their lightning triggered action response plans.
LSM Technologies managing director Peter Woodford says incidents such as this can be predicted or even avoided altogether with the use of tyre monitoring technology.
The company’s TMS, for example, can monitor tyres even during severe weather events, enabling workers to observe the tyres from a safe distance in case of an explosion.
“Normally, during a lightning strike to vehicle tyres, the rubber can become over-heated and a chemical reaction called pyrolysis occurs, causing the tyre pressure to increase that can then lead to an explosion,” Woodford says.
“This can happen rapidly but also can take quite a while (24 hours) before the tyre actually blows up.
“If you have a TMS installed and using LSM Technologies Fleet Safety + Maintenance (FSM) telemetry tracking system, employees can be kilometres away at a safe distance to monitor via the internet whether those tyres on vehicles in the park-up area are expanding due to the pressure or temperature.”
By using a TMS, mining companies know for certain whether the tyres on vehicles in the park-up area are safe to go back into production following the storm. During extreme weather events, production can be halted to ensure safety, but with a TMS, mines can get their tyred equipment back to work quicker if they know the tyres are safe.
Woodford says the TMS’ smarts provide accurate and instantaneous information about potential accidents, as well as more accurate reporting of routine tyre checks.
“Many mining and earthmoving operators are mandating tyre pressure record checks on a weekly basis,” he says. “When mine sites have up to 2000 tyres and it takes more than three minutes per tyre to check (let alone record the information), this costs a lot of time and time equals dollars.
“Doing the maths, this would require more than 100 man hours per week. By running a weekly automatic report using LSM Technologies FSM tracking telemetry with no paperwork, the instant savings for the mine site are phenomenal.”
The TMS reporting system also saves time by alerting employees exactly which tyre needs attention, rather than relying on slower human checks of each and every tyre.
“By knowing which tyre has an issue to target, you don’t need to get under to check the pressure and find out that of my 50 tyres, 49 were fine,” Woodford explains. “Looking on the screen, you can immediately identify which tyres need attention or re-pressurisation, say on the third trailer on the second axle on the inside, which is a massive saving of time.”
As well as assisting during severe weather events and routine checks, LSM’s TMS also aids in monitoring the pressure and temperatures of tyres in everyday usage for on and off-road transport, light vehicles, mining trucks and port operations – any vehicle with a pneumatic tyre.
Woodford says tyre-related accidents can cause injuries, even fatalities on mine sites, highlighting the importance of continuous monitoring of tyres.
Many Australian regulators and occupational health and safety authorities have acknowledged that TMS brings enhanced safety to industry. For example, the Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME) updated its recognised standard 13 tyre, wheel and rim management 2016 to include TMS.
Additionally, the Western Australian Department of Mining and Petroleum (DPM) also included TMS in its guidelines on tyre safety for earthmoving machinery in 2015.
“Maintaining the correct tyre inflation pressures is critical for a safe operation and prolonged tyre life,” Woodford says. “By implementing TMS technologies, vehicle operators are able to not only improve safety in their operational and maintenance tasks, but also dramatically reduce maintenance costs.”
In New South Wales, 22 per cent of transport truck crashes are related to tyre failures, according to the New South Wales Centre for Road Safety report. Meanwhile, 33 per cent of truck fires are due to issues with wheels and tyres, according to the Major Accident Investigation Report – 2015.
As more industry bodies and authorities around the world begin to mandate permanent tyre management systems, Woodford urges Australian companies to follow the trends and safeguard their tyre-related operations.
“It is interesting to note that TMS are mandatory for all domestic passenger vehicles and trucks in the United States, Europe, Korea, China and Japan,” Woodford says.
“By implementing TMS, vehicle operators are able to dramatically reduce maintenance costs, extend tyre service life, reduce fuel consumption, improve braking, handling and control and of course, experience less downtime.”