The larger the tyres, the greater the benefit of TPMS
With giant OTR tyres containing enough cooped up energy to project a person two kilometres, the particular importance of tyre safety on mine sites is perhaps underestimated. One way of redressing this balance, raising awareness of the pressure and condition of a tyre and at the same time saving emissions, fuel and therefore money, is to employ tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) to keep an eye on these large and expensive components.
With the introduction of second tier manufacturers into the OTR market, tyre safety has never been so important. And one place where there are more large mines than most is Australia. However the principles can be applied anywhere in the world. In correspondence with Tyres & Accessories, David Horne of TyreSafe Australia explained some of the benefits of adopting TPMS in the particular he’s familiar with:
“Because tyres are so forgiving, many people take them for granted. A tyre is like an engine in many operational facets. If an engine is low on oil it will overheat and sustain damage which shortens its life and drives operating costs up. In worst cases the engine will self-destruct. A tyre is no different — if the inflation pressure is not maintained at correct levels its economic performance will be reduced, in normal cases resulting in a flat tyre but in extreme cases resulting in pyrolysis, a potentially fatal and highly damaging event that can only be rated at the severe end of any consequence outcome.”
By using TPMS overall and in particular personnel safety can be significantly improved, while also yielding substantial economic benefits including reduced fuel consumption. David Horne’s business, TyreSafe Australia recently gained regional PressurePro distribution and so he is keen to point out the benefits of this particular solution.
“With a PressurePro TPMS fitted to a haul truck, any tyres which have a loss of pressure are identified well before the tyre looks flat, thus reducing the potential for tyre damage. Not only does this save the tyre but it also reduces the exposure of the tyre service personnel from having to enter the danger zone to check the tyres pressures. A pressure check can be performed in less time than it takes to write the pressures down.”
Nowadays with higher loads and longer hauls, OTR tyres are forced to work harder than ever. In these instances features such as the overpressure function of the PressurePro TPMS as a monitor. When the tyre is working too hard the pressure increases beyond what is accepted as being normal. This is expressed in the Australian Standards AS 4457 OTR Tyres standard which stipulates that when a tyre’s pressure goes 25 per cent over cold pressure, the truck should be slowed and set to a less arduous haul. (Similar guidance is given in other countries.) The PressurePro overpressure alert is set by default (although adjustable) at 24 per cent.
Perhaps the strongest argument for the use of PressurePro TPMS is entry cost. And as the size of tyre multiplies the value effect is amplified. For example, according to David Horne, the use of a TPMS system, costing less than a third of a per cent of the cost of a set of premium tyres can provide safety and economic benefits that offer a huge return on investment. Horne’s maxim sums up the principal one saved tyre may pay for the entire fleet’s installation.