World’s largest tyre arrives in Europe
The first European shipment of the world’s largest tyre has arrived in Sweden. On August 10, six of Bridgestone’s whopping 4.02 metre diameter size 59/80 R63 off-road were unloaded at Gothenburg and then transported a further 1,500 kilometres north to the Aitik open-pit copper mine in Lapland. There they will be mounted on an electric-drive model of one of the world’s largest vehicles: the Caterpillar 795F mining truck, which weighs 570 tons fully loaded. A second set of six tyres has already been ordered by mine operator Bolidean and will be delivered in September.
The Bridgestone VRPS (V-Steel Rock Premium Service) off-road tyre is designed to support loads of more than 100 tons and operate in the roughest conditions. It is manufactured at Bridgestone’s specialist Kitakyushu off-road tyre plant in Japan. “Although tyre size 59/80 R63 is used in open mines in the Americas and Australia, this is the first time that these Bridgestone tyres have been used in Europe” said Mats-Johan Adner, managing director Bridgestone Sweden. “We are proud that Bridgestone has been selected for one of the world’s first and largest electric-drive mining trucks.”
With a diameter well over twice the height of the average person, a width of 1.47 metres and weight of 5.75 tons, the tyres require special handling and logistics. In Gothenburg, a team of six operating reach stackers and 16-ton forklifts lifted the tyres from their containers and loaded them onto a giant double-flatbed trailer in less than three hours. “The Port of Gothenburg handled the consignment very professionally” commented Erwin Lever, product manager Bridgestone Sweden. “The unusual convoy attracted a lot of attention on its long journey north.”
Capacity at Bridgestone’s Kitakyushu plant is currently being expanded to meet increasing demand for large and ultra-large off-road radials, and is expected to reach 130 tons per day in 2013.