Kal Tire takes tyre management into the future

Tyre management is developing into a proactive maintenance activity that provides consistent and useful data to mining companies wherever their operations are based around the world.

Historically, tyre management has involved periodical reporting that created a large amount of data on performance, inventory, consumption, repairs and condition.

The data, while a useful way to evaluate the past, didn’t provide opportunities to look ahead and improve future tyre performance or help manage fleet availability.

Mine sites around the world have also generally used a number of different tyre management systems to assess these processes and data. This usually left larger, diversified companies with siloed datasets for their operations, often located across multiple jurisdictions.

Since 2016, Kal Tire has been developing a system for mining companies that not only provides reporting on key performance indicators (KPIs), but also analyses and recommends actions on tyres and fleets.

The system, known as TOMS (Tyre Operations Management System), is currently being rolled out across Kal Tire’s global sites, including in Australia.

Kal Tire’s main focus during the development of TOMS has been to improve fleet uptime and productivity. As TOMS has evolved, however, the potential of the system as a major driver of predictive maintenance emerged.

TOMS has demonstrated it can offer predictive standards already known for other maintenance activities, but not previously found at tyre management operations.

Kal Tire director, business insights Mark Goode says TOMS is turning tyre management into more of a proactive service like these other equipment maintenance activities.

“TOMS is taking us from historical performance tracking to being more planning focused and forward looking,” Goode says.

“A key part of inspections will not be to just record present pressure but to look at condition monitoring and how inspections can be driven into the planning mix.”

Kal Tire’s roll out of TOMS initially focused on its sites in Canada, the country where the company was founded.

Gradually, Kal Tire has in the past two years introduced TOMS to its global operations, which span across five continents.

In Australia, Kal Tire launched TOMS to a third site during March. The company plans to unveil the system at a minimum of six operations by the end of the year.

Kal Tire Australia operations support specialist Ian Campbell says the Australian roll out has so far focused on smaller sites.

“Once we have further developed our skills (in Australia) we will tackle the bigger sites,” Campbell says. “We are migrating sites to TOMS and then once the sites are on board and up and running we are going to continue to support those sites.”

Campbell says the Australian operations can expect to see a major expansion to the capabilities traditionally offered by tyre management systems.

He points to the ability of TOMS to give Australian mine operators the opportunity to analyse and make decisions using real-time performance data.

The information will enable them to readily integrate decisions into the work plans for both same-day and future shifts, Campbell adds.

“The big difference between TOMS and other tyre software out there is that it is basically what I would describe as a planning tool that makes use of tyre history data so it can plan ahead,” Campbell says.

“Most of the other software is capturing data in order to do reporting and to analyse tyre performance. Of course TOMS does that as well, but it also generates a plan.”

Kal Tire started with both internal and external aspirations during the research and development (R&D) phase of TOMS. Internally, the company has increasingly needed a system that consistently manages and services its more than 150 sites around the world.

The company had previously used a number of tyre management systems and therefore didn’t have a uniform method for the communication of its tyre reports.

“We wanted a way to get all of the operations on one platform in one language for consistent reporting and consistent measuring internally,” Goode recalls.

Goode says having this consistent language is particularly valuable for diversified mining companies that operate across multiple jurisdictions.

“By having that consistent language also allows Kal Tire to offer benchmarking to customers. We can compare all the sites around the world on an even footing, which is something we could never do previously,” Goode says.

“As an example, one of our customers has operations in Africa, America and Australia. With TOMS, we can offer these miners a consistent, standardised way of managing tyre performance and service delivery across all their global operations.”

The standard language covers the gamut of management processes, including tyre descriptions, inspection findings, dashboard reporting and operational standards for inspections and rotations – all of which can be shared to sites throughout the world.

Kal Tire has also maintained its focus on safety in the development of TOMS by incorporating the company’s equipment-specific safe work procedures directly into the system. The program records the results of condition-based inspections and will alert personnel of any safety risks.

For Kal Tire, the capabilities of TOMS will continue to evolve in these areas, a process that Australian mines are set to be a part of in the coming years.

This article also appears in the May edition of Australian Mining. 

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