If You Need the Job Done…
With the chronic shortage in heavy haulage tyres causing inflated prices and end users purchasing inferior quality products, the giant mining and resources company Rio Tinto has decided to take matters into their own hands. The company has announced that they have set up their own tyre retreading facility in Western Australia, not far from their sizable mining operations in the state’s Pilbara region.
The decision has been made as restraints upon the leading tyre makers’ production capacities mean that a shortage in these giant tyres is expected to last until about 2010. Rio Tinto’s new 8000 square metre retreading facility in Kewdale, Western Australia will, according to Rio Tinto’s procurement general manager for Australasia and Africa, John Clark, have the capacity to retread approximately a thousand tyres per annum, enough to meet the demands imposed by the company’s operations in the region. The facility is being established in partnership with the Rösler group, German-based OTR tyre manufacturers.
With the purchase price of new tyres inflated due to the shortage and quality replacements hard to obtain, extending the life of the four-tonne tyres has become a priority for the company, and it is currently conducting trials to determine how long its retreads will last. The limited amount of information available shows that the retreads may have a lifespan ranging anywhere between less than that of a new tyre to double a new tyre’s lifespan. Trials will continue for the next year, with different compound mixes and volumes used.
If Rio Tinto’s retreading program proves to be successful it is likely that other mining operators will also consider establishing their own facilities.