Tyres consumption is one of the costliest branches of the operation in a truck-based haulage mine. Off-the-road (OTR) tyres working within undesirable conditions have a considerable negative impact on the whole mine’s productivity. Only the rolling resistance due to underinflated tyres could increase truck fuel consumption by 15 per cent. The impact of other conditions such as road surface quality and temperature are difficult to estimate. Tyre management is a demanding activity that requires a high level of coordination between maintenance and production departments.
The project is aimed to develop a smart decision tool to assist mine managers to optimise tyre resources. By identifying factors that have significant impact on tyres, managers are able to take timely action to mitigate undesirable working conditions.
The proposed model utilises real-time tyre measurement of pressure, temperature, speed, load, deformation and surface profile to report tyre performance in terms of tonne-kilometre-per-hour (TKPH) and tyre longevity. Both indicators are permanently monitored in order to trigger a warning system designed to keep tyres under optimal working conditions.
An interactive database ‘Octo-Mine’ wirelessly receives records from a programmable logic controller (PLC) deployed on the truck. PLC records are the integration of multiple sensor signals with a time stamp. Octo-Mine utilises real-time and historical tyre records to generate online performance and longevity reports, as well as preventative and corrective tyre maintenance scheduling, by comparing current tyre status with established standards.
To validate the model, the prototype database was populated with hypothetical data to simulate ideal working conditions subject to comparison with real field observations. Additionally, a laser-based technology prototype device successfully measured a new 9 mm tyre tread and a 60 000 km rolled tyre tread in the laboratory.
In conclusion, optimal tyre management contributes not only to reduction of tyre waste but also to truck energy efficiency. This project is a first step in proving these benefits under real field conditions. It suggests that further development of sensor equipment and its integration with a communication system is a worthwhile focus for future research.
Casas Castellanos, S, 2016. Optimum Management of Truck Tyres in a Mine, in Proceedings Ninth AusIMM Open Pit Operators’ Conference 2016, pp 212–228 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).