We know better than anyone that ‘Off The Road’ sectors are some of the toughest on Earth. The mining industry is no exception: from rough terrains to underground conditions, the mining environment takes its toll on your tires.
In today’s blog, we will share our top tips for miners to maintain their tires – and avoid dreaded wear and tear!
The mining industry often gets a bad rep. After all, it rose to prominence amidst quite a controversial context: back in the 19th and 20th century, working class miners were subjected to horrific conditions. However, contrary to popular knowledge, mining dates back to the very beginnings of human civilization: evolving Homo Sapiens took up intuitive tool building, and created settlements around the most useful minerals. As the years – and humanity – progressed, humans became privy to the benefits of trading said minerals.
The earliest mines sourced gold, silver and copper; thousands of years later, this birthed the process of ‘smelting’, which is where fire is applied to ore to extract the base metal. This led to the mining industry we know today – where multifarious materials are mined out of necessity. “Europe’s Age of Discovery” allowed miners to take a proportion of profit from the minerals they sourced. This provoked the industrial boom of the 1830s – and all the stereotypical perceptions of mining that came with it.
Nowadays, mining is not a profession exclusively associated with the working class, nor are miners subjected to tough working conditions. While the mining industry isn’t without its current controversies – the top pick being the harm it inflicts on the environment – it certainly has come on in leaps and bounds in terms of its ethics. Although, as with any industry, there is always room for improvement.
Whatever your role in the industry, you will likely have to tackle some tough terrains! If you’re journeying underground, you’ll find that the thickness and weight of the overhead rock increases, in addition to an increase in pressure. This, paired with the heavy loads and abrasive terrain, can cause premature wear and tear to your tires. There is an array of specialist vehicles which are fit for purpose for mining conditions – such as trucks, loaders and diggers – however, your choice of tire is imperative.
First things first, let’s explore our own recommendations. Our POWER TRAX HD premium tire has been specifically designed for underground mining applications: its deep tread, extra thick sidewall and tough casing provide exceptional durability in the most severe conditions – especially the mining environment!
We’d also recommend SM 55 L5S: a bias-ply tire which is ideal for underground mining operations. The tire is formed of a special compound and features a unique cut-and-chip-resistant tread compound with puncture resistance, which extends its life-cycle, and reduces machine downtime. A tire’s tread pattern is crucial when dealing with tough terrains: this can make a distinct difference to how quickly you wear out your tires, and that’s the first thing you want to avoid in the mines! However, while you may choose the most readily fit for purpose tires (a.k.a. BKT tires!) to accompany your daily grind in the mines, you need to ensure that you successfully maintain them, even amidst the harshest conditions. This will prevent you from having to spend unnecessarily on new tires – which will save you (and the planet) a whole load of hassle!
Mining tires are at higher risk of a blowout, due to the excessive heat caused by the heavy loads and stop-and-start nature of the work. We’ve all heard that dreaded skidding sound when tires screech to a halt! However, there are numerous hints and tricks that you can employ to lessen these adverse effects. For example, if you familiarise yourself with your daily route, you and your team can ensure that the roads are as smooth and debris-free as possible. This will make life easier for your tires! On any terrain, we would recommend reducing speeding and braking. Again, the stop-start nature of driving through a mine doesn’t help this; however, if you check your tires prior to setting off down the haul road, you can prevent a problematic situation (e.g. a split, sidewall, or even a puncture) from getting worse.
To browse our full selection of OTR tires, click here.