Dan Allan, senior vice president of Kal Tire’s Mining Tire Group, explains that “More than ever before, mines are challenging themselves to do better when it comes to safety and ESG, so we’ve thought differently as mining tire management partners and we’ve invested in developing a range of solutions that are effective and add value.”

The recent Electra Mining 2022 trade expo provided Canada-based Kal Tire with an opportunity to showcase several mining tire-related innovations, ranging from expanded carbon emissions reporting program and a recycling solution that promotes a circular economy to autonomous tire inspections and prototypes for service tools that the company claims will change how technicians work safely with the industry’s giant wheels.

Kal Tire now offers its customers a means to advance their ESG targets using the company’s Maple Program and custom-built carbon calculator. Customers receive annual certificates containing accredited data about the fuel and carbon emissions savings when using sustainability solutions such as retreading, Ultra Repair™, and conventional repairs to OTR tire sizes 49-in. and larger. The company noted that tires with large but uncomplicated damage can effectively be returned to service by conventional repairs, which are performed often in every region Kal Tire operates.

As mines look to a future with greater automation, Kal Tire said it is bringing customers autonomous tire inspections. By integrating the thermal imaging technology of Pitcrew.ai with TOMS, Kal Tire’s proprietary Tire Operations Management System, potential issues inside the tire can be detected early on, and TOMS automates critical next steps such as work orders for inspections. The stations, according to Kal Tire, are now in use at sites in Canada, Australia, Chile and soon in Mozambique.

Kal Tire said it also wants to expand its OTR tire recycling technology to other regions. In 2021, Kal Tire successfully opened a thermal conversion mining tire recycling facility in northern Chile that converts scrap OTR tires into reusable products. The technology uses heat in the absence of oxygen to convert tires into their base elements (fuel oil, steel and carbon black). Nearly 100% of the tire can be reused, according to the company.

Kal Tire and Mitsui & Co. recently formed a joint venture aimed at advancing mining tire recycling solutions. Mitsui said it is focusing its investment in the mining industry on environmental solutions and noted that the two companies recognize a growing demand for mining tire recycling and recycled rubber products, particularly for carbon black. 

At Electra, Kal Tire also displayed prototypes for two unique tools that it said could help improve productivity, efficiency and safety. As earthmover equipment is subjected to ever-increasing loads and speeds, wheels play an integral role in mine safety. The company said its Wheel Inspection system will allow mines to inspect wheels on-site; the mobile unit scans and indicates cracks along weld lines or ring grooves that could compromise wheel integrity and safety.

In addition, the Kal Clamp enables tire technicians to safely perform the last, and most dangerous, step of removing or installing an OTR tire and wheel assembly. A remote-controlled clamp secures and then releases the last four wheel bolts. Typically, for this final step, technicians must stand underneath a tire manipulator forklift which bears the weight of the assembly.