Rock Products

FEB 2019

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58 • ROCK products • February 2019 EQUIPMENT & TECHNOLOGY LOADING & HAULING An innovative urethane protector reduces the risk of sidewall tire punc- tures on OTR tires for heavy equipment working in aggregates operations While operations extract crushed stone, and sand and gravel from below the earth's surface, their operations depend on something also very valuable that is above the ground – off the road (OTR) tires. Aggregates site managers are only too aware of how dependent their oper- ations are on the maintenance of the special OTR tires used by earthmoving machines and haul trucks. Something as simple as a sidewall puncture on one of these specialty tires, caused by a rock or haul road debris, can temporarily take a critical and expensive operating asset out of use. This can negatively impact mining operations workflow. Moreover, replac- ing an OTR tire can cost in the tens of thousands of dollars. The environment in which dump trucks, wheel loaders, motor graders and other heaving mining equipment operate is severe even on the toughest of tires. It takes significant skill for a driver to nav- igate within a mine and get in and out of a site quickly and safely with minimal wear and tear on their tires. Haul roads are heavily traveled, are often narrow, contain short and steep grades, and have ruts and rock debris. Driving too close to berms or impact with a windrow, which is a mound that helps direct drivers to stay on course, can expose an OTR tire to a sidewall cut. At a dig, a truck can easily run over spilled materials or hit a concrete bumper block at the mine's dump pit. Even though OTR tires for heavy equip- ment are specially designed for harsh environments, the risk for damage is still high. One of the most common failure points is the tire's sidewall. Without any added protection, a tire's sidewall is exposed to rocks, debris, uneven road surfaces, and high bank faces, all the while supporting heavy payloads. Five Tire Failure Areas Research by the Mechanical Engineer- ing Department at the University of Alberta in 2011 on the detection of faults on off-road haul truck tires iden- tified five tire failure areas: tire tread, shoulder, sidewall, bead and liner. The study cited research by Syncrude Canada Ltd. that examined the causes for off-road tire failure from 2005 to 2010. Sidewall cuts accounted for approximately 18 percent of all faults; sidewall separation, 10 percent; and sidewall impact, more than 5 percent. When the sidewall is damaged, typically by a puncture, the vehicle is not safe to operate. Because of the scale of the trucks, the tires are specially designed and are very expensive to replace. Take the Caterpillar 797 haul truck, for example. This truck has six tires worth upwards of $300,000. Repairing a damaged sidewall takes valuable time to send a tire out for repair and the repair may not be suc- cessful. A mining operator faces a sidelined heavy equipment truck and an expensive tire replacement. Finding a Solution An innovative new sidewall protec- tion solution is entering the market to protect these valuable OTR tires. Pur - pose-built for use on heavy equipment operating in mining environments, operators can bolt on a polyurethane sidewall shield to prevent the sidewalls from getting punctured when operating in a mining site. A Michigan-based firm, Argonics, which specializes in high-performance, polyurethane-based elastomers and is one of the largest producers of wear-resistant and customizable ure- thane products, has developed this sidewall protection. Their sidewall protector uses a proprietary urethane formulation called Kryptane, which was engineered for extreme wear conditions involving abrasion, sliding or impact. The special properties of urethane make it an excellent material for side- wall protection. This tough, elastic material excels in loading applications as it will change shape under heavy load and then return to its original shape once the load is removed. Urethane offers maximum abrasion resistance, which is ideal for situations where severe wear is a problem. It is also already hard at work in mining applications withstanding abrasive ore, sand, and gravel moving through a conveyor. The idea for applying the special prop- erties of urethane for off-road sidewall tire protection came from Perry Fell, territory manager at Luff Industries, a Canadian distributor of Argonics, who Sidewall Protection for OTR Tires Keeps Mining Operations Running

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