Bridgestone Mining Solutions Australia (BMSA) endeavours to extend tyre life with its Bridgestone Repair System. Australian Mining talks to senior specialist Andrew Chapman.
Bridgestone is noted for design and manufacture of tyres, but it is equally expert at repairing them. Bridgestone Mining Solutions Australia (BMSA) offers the only off-the-road (OTR) tyre repair service that is nationally accredited by the Australian Government.
Referred to by the company as the Bridgestone Repair System (BRS), Bridgestone’s tyre repair specialists go through an extensive ASQA-certified training featuring nine competency units in order to become skilled enough to serve as BRS repairers.
These competency units run the gamut from work health safety through to advanced tyre knowledge and involve 1000 hours of practical and theory training.
“It’s Australia’s only true OTR tyre repair course and a nationally recognised one,” says Andrew Chapman, BMSA senior specialist, tyre repairs.
“Out of the nine competency units, five are specifically written for tyre repairers and the knowledge they require to perform their job competently.”
BRS repairers start the inspection process in compliance with Australian Standards rules in order to determine repairability. Once the extent of the damage has been determined, the company then moves through a multi-step repair process
Through the BRS, BMSA seeks to provide the strongest repair possible while still retaining as much of the existing tyre structure as possible. The company utilises raw materials to provide strength through vulcanisation (also called curing) to imbue raw rubber with characteristics suitable for tyre application.
“Curing can take up to 16 hours, depending on the type of damage you are dealing with and what compounds you are using,” explains Chapman. “It’s a calculated process.”
Patches are designed to not just support a tyre’s damaged structure but to suit the application of the tyre too. BMSA tyre repair experts have the ability to take away or add reinforcement to suit the specific damage of each tyre that requires repair.
“A large, 63-inch dump truck tyre is very different to a 33-inch loader tyre, for example,” explains Chapman.
“Loads, deflection rates, speed — it’s very similar to how you select a tyre in the first place. Understanding individual operations and their demands helps us determine our foundation to manufacture a patch.”
As per the Australian standard (AS4457.2), repairs are split into minor, intermediate and major categories. Specialist repairs are also available in certain instances.
Minor and intermediate repairs generally involve preventative maintenance repairs that stop damage from increasing during operation, though intermediate repairs will involve the reinforcement of minimal structural damage.
The major repair category, which makes up the majority of repairs nationally, generally involves cut-through penetration that causes the tyre to lose air. Structural damage to the tyre casing is also a key concern for the customer.
Generally, structural damage if ignored, will eventually lead to the tyre becoming unusable and eventually being scrapped.
In addition, imparting knowledge and education is also an important part of the repair process, tying into the BRS philosophy of preventative maintenance.
“Extending tyre life is very important,” says Chapman.
“Repair performance and value to the customer is generally measured in dollar terms in cost per hour or kilometre. A lot of customers will have set values that are utilised as an objective or as a target, which BRS strives to exceed.
“What we provide in terms of risk mitigation and safety is to remove the risk of downtime, extend tyre life and provide a high-quality service available.
“We also repair all brands of tyres, as that provides true customer value. We’re really about helping our customer maintain their operational capability regardless of the brand.”