At a time when mining operations are looking to a future with improved ESG, safety and productivity, Kal Tire’s Mining Tire Group it says is bringing customers impactful, forward-thinking solutions that didn’t exist before. At Electra Mining 2022 this week, Kal Tire is showcasing a host of innovations – from its expanded carbon emissions reporting program and a recycling solution that promotes a circular economy to autonomous tyre inspections and prototypes for two first-of-their-kind tools that will change how technicians work safely around the wheel.
“More than ever before, mines are challenging themselves to do better when it comes to safety and ESG, so we’ve thought differently as mining tyre management partners and we’ve invested in developing a range of solutions that are effective and add value,” says Dan Allan, Senior Vice President, Kal Tire’s Mining Tire Group. “As we’re helping customers fulfill their evolving commitments, we’re bringing mining operations new ways of working that help protect technicians, reduce environmental footprints and improve fleet use.”
One of the ways Kal Tire customers in Africa and beyond can now advance ESG targets is with the company’s Maple Program and custom-built carbon calculator. Customers receive annual certificates containing accredited data about the fuel and carbon emissions savings when using sustainability solutions such as retreading, Ultra Repair™, and now, as of summer 2022, conventional repairs to OTR tyre sizes 49 in and up. Tyres with large but less complex injuries can effectively be restored and returned to service through the patch and process of conventional repairs, which are performed often in every region Kal Tire operates.
“With our sustainability solutions included in the Maple Program, we provide an important and accessible way for mines to reduce costs and their carbon footprint while extending tyre life,” says John Martin, Vice President, Southern Africa, Kal Tire’s Mining Tire Group. To meet the growing demand for OTR tyre repairs, especially in the thriving copper and ore region of Northern Cape, Kal Tire just opened a new branch and repair facility in Hotazel. Additionally, in Mozambique, a new, world-class tyre repair facility it says “is exceedingly busy helping customers keep tyres in production.”
As mines look to a future with greater automation to reduce risk and downtime, Kal Tire is bringing customers autonomous tyre inspections. By integrating the thermal imaging technology Pitcrew.ai with TOMS, Kal Tire’s proprietary Tire Operations Management System, potential issues inside the tyre are detected early on, and TOMS automates critical next steps, such as work orders for inspections. The stations are now in use at sites in Canada, Australia, Chile and soon in Mozambique. On its own, TOMS is a powerful productivity tool that supports near-instant visibility and a focus on planned tyre work.
Providing solutions at all stages of tyre life, Kal Tire is also ready to bring its OTR tyre recycling technology to other regions. After several years of research and development, in 2021, Kal Tire successfully opened a thermal conversion mining tyre recycling facility in northern Chile that converts scrap OTR tyres into reusable products. The technology uses heat in the absence of oxygen to convert tyres into their base elements (fuel oil, steel and carbon black). Nearly 100% of the tyre can be reused.
“The journey in Chile shows us here in Southern Africa what’s possible when stakeholders unite and commit to solutions at the top of the recycling hierarchy,” says Martin. “This solution promotes a circular economy, it’s scalable and it can be implemented anywhere.”
At Electra, Kal Tire will also showcase two prototypes for two first-of-their-kind tools to further help improve productivity, efficiency and safety.
The Wheel Inspection will allow mines to inspect wheels on-site as the mobile unit scans and indicates cracks along weld lines or ring grooves that could compromise wheel integrity and safety. As earthmover equipment is subjected to ever-increasing loads and speeds, and wheels risk fractures in sensitive areas, wheels play an integral role in mine safety.
The Kal Clamp allows tyre technicians to safely perform the last, and most dangerous, step of removing or installing an OTR tyre and wheel assembly as a remote-controlled clamp secures and then releases the last four wheel bolts. Typically, for this final step, technicians must stand underneath a tyre manipulator forklift bearing the weight of the assembly.
“We’ve invested in developing these tyre management tools because we believe every team member should be able to return home safely at the end of the day,” says Allan. “As more and more mines act on bold new commitments that will enhance lives, communities and the environment, we look forward to continuing to develop solutions that deliver positive change.”
Mozambique Mining Journal