GKN Wheels has developed an innovative system to allow a 63-in. rim assembly to be adapted to a 57-in. hub for the Unit Rig MT4400 haul truck. This allows mining operations to retrofit the larger, more readily available 63-in. tire on haul trucks that would normally use only standard 57-in. rims and tires.

Australian-based Downer Mining created the Bigfoot concept to alleviate the risk of short supply in the standard tire size for the 240-ton haul truck. To take the project from concept to solution, Downer Mining approached GKN Wheels GKN Wheels’ North American Technical team collaborated with Caterpillar Unit Rig engineers to develop a solution that adapted to the truck without interfering with the standard components of the Unit Rig MT4400 haul truck.

The technical engineering work for the rim arrangements was carried out at GKN’s Technical Center in Chicago, with manufacture taking place at GKN’s facility in China. Downer Mining now uses the product at its mining operation in Western Australia.

“Bigfoot provides us with many advantages, including increased productivity and tire life, with a reduction in potential tire stress and mechanical heat separation events,” said Danny Boyling, executive general manager plant, Downer Mining.

“The predicted benefits run into the millions of dollars for a medium size fleet haul truck. This all equates to a very attractive tire option for our production teams. With demand severely outweighing global production capacity of the 57-in. tire, Bigfoot helps to prevent truck downtime and ensures that mine productivity is not threatened by tire availability.”

GKN is increasingly expanding its capability within the mining market, which includes the recent launch of its ‘Swift Wheel Technologies’ range.

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