Kal Tire displays innovative mining wheel inspection tool at MINExpo 2021

The Wheel Inspection tool is a new innovative tool that Kal Tire’s Innovation Centre has developed that will eliminate unexpected, costly breakdowns and help protect technicians from risk – in this case, the force of a catastrophic wheel failure. IM had the chance to see the solution close up at MINExpo 2021 with Peter Nilsson, innovation, research and development manager for Kal Tire’s Mining Tire Group.

As earthmover equipment is subjected to ever-increasing payload and speeds, wheels can develop fractures in sensitive areas such as welds, ring grooves and holes. Left unchecked, the severity of cracks can increase, leading to leaks, wheel failure and the potential to endanger lives and equipment. Having wheel/rim integrity inspected, however, can be costly and time-consuming. Wheels have to be shipped great distances to major centres for inspection by a wheel/rim manufacturer where it’s determined they’re either safe for use, need repairs or should be scrapped. The alternative is taking wheels/rims out of use after a set number of hours, even though the rim may have months of safe performance left.

With such an integral role in safe, reliable equipment operation, the Innovation Centre developed the Wheel Inspection, a portable solution that follows the circumference of a wheel/rim to scan for signs of cracking using an electromagnetic NDT system for rapid crack and corrosion assessment. The scope is designed to hug complex shapes, including welding points and ring grooves. When the solution detects a crack, a red indicator illuminates, and a mounted computer retains high-resolution scans of each weld for reporting.

Nilsson states: “Having that data means more rims in use that are safe for the pressures of the job. For customers to be able to perform rim inspections at the mine site will save costs and also provide quicker responses about which wheels can safely return to operation.” The Wheel Monitor has already been trialled in Canada and is expected to be commercially available by end-2021.